Do you use Piano Safari or things more based around rote learning in the beginning?


Client: Have you used Piano Safari at all, Daniel? I know everybody can use their own scheme, but I just wondered if you have experience with that cause that’s more based around rote learning at the beginning.

Daniel: Yeah. So what I’ll say about that is have had a few… I’ve never used it myself, I’ve had a… I don’t know who they are, but you might post something inside the group and say, “hey, who here uses Piano Safari?” And if someone sees it that does they might jump in. I know a few people have used it, however, I do know… MTA conference in 2017, the Piano Safari creators actually had a whole entire session. I think one of the special sessions where they kind of, and I attended it cause I wanted to learn a little bit more about it cause a few of my clients had talked about using Piano Safari, I wanted to educate myself. I went there, they had some cool videos of what those first few lessons are like, and I saw what they’re doing. In a way, I do rote… I do more rote teaching now then I did even when I was a private teacher. So I’m not uncomfortable with it and I don’t think it’s incompatible with this format. There’s no “but” here. Go ahead.

Client: I have done it private, I’m just worried about doing it in a group when one kid might be ahead of other or slower than the other and so maybe I just… yeah, I have to make sure they have their own material and just guide them through their own material. I’m not going to do it the way Piano Safari suggests because they say everybody should be on the same time. We’re going to do separately, you know.. and hope it works.

Daniel: First, and Paula I definitely want to hear what you have to say, first, I would say I think that’s a good thought to have there probably will be some adaptable. And then two, as you go into this experiment, honestly, post about this because I want to keep updated on this. Paula, let me unmute you here, I want to hear what you had to add.

Paula: I was just going to say I had four beginners last year that I, when I was teaching privately, that I did Piano Safari with and I love almost everything about it, but I don’t see how I could really, successfully do it in group lessons very well because rote teaching is pretty much… it’s a lot of hands on, it’s a lot of showing them how to do it, it’s a little time consuming. And I have trouble… I think what I’m going to struggle with the most is figuring out what to let go of, and not do, and the most important things because I tend to feel like I have to everything in the book, they have to do every single thing in theory and things like that.

So I saw Anna’s comment about the rote being tricky and she skips some of it. So I guess it would work in that way, but as far as their reading it really does help their reading. I think they’re really strong readers, these four that I started and their hand position is awesome, their technique is awesome, so there’s a lot of great things in it. And if I could figure out how to put it in after I get really comfortable with teaching this format I would do it, but Piano Adventures I’ve been doing for like thirty years so I’m really comfortable with that and it’s a lot easier to do right now in the group.

Anna: I’ve been teaching for like fifteen years and the last maybe whenever Piano Safari came out, the last couple of years, I switched almost everybody over to it because they got to be way better site readers and it was a little tricky when I switched to SGL just because of the rote aspect of it, so, I don’t teach every rote song. I do a few to get them running, I’ll let them watch the videos cause like… somebody else mentioned, I forget who else does Piano Safari and SGL, but I’ll let them watch the video, the reminder video, sometimes if I don’t have a whole lot of time to stand there and teach them something rote. Cause that’s what they do at home anyway.

But as far as the whole site reading I keep kind of switching back and forth, since you used Faber I was like, well, I’ll go back and start some people on Faber. And for the older students it does work fairly well, but especially the younger ones I love the site reading cards are like gold. [crosstalk] So, yeah, Faber was.. they always got stuck on the eighth note concept concept because it was so brand new, but Piano Safari does it from day one and it’s great.

Daniel: Anna and Paula, Anna it sounds like you had watched that one voice-over video that I added maybe like two weeks ago… Let me ask your opinion on this. Given how I taught Jayden in that video… okay, and actually let me make a parenthetical comment here before I ask the question. Many of you know who Joy Morin is, she and I have become really good friends over the last couple years. She has really… she and I have had some long conversations about music learning theory and things of that nature and as I was describing the way that I teach my groups, she kept saying to me like, man, you do… so again you said you do a lot of things that are similar to MLT? Like you’re coming from that place? It sounds like you’re doing more rote teaching.

Here’s the thing, I was not taught to be a rote teacher. I’ve never used a rote teaching method, but the way that I described how I do things she said, rote teaching… it sounds like you’re relying on some principals there from MLT and rote teaching and what I would ask you all, having used Piano Safari and doing rote teaching, is the way that I taught that boy kind of… are you picking up that rote teaching DNA in there? Having actually observed it because… you know what, I’m not going to qualify it. I’m just curious if you’re picking up any of that DNA of rote teaching in how I’m approaching those beginning concepts with him. Curious what your opinion would be.

Paula: I don’t necessarily it’s the same I think… when I’m think about what they do in Piano Safari you’re literally showing them how to play the song and then making them copy what you’re doing and you’re really not referring, directing them to the page. I think what you’re doing is letting that book and the page teach them and you’re directing them, but you know what I’m saying? What do you think, Anna? What would you say, Anna?

Anna: Well it’s the sound before symbol… so, yeah, but I do see aspects of rote, for sure. You don’t need to over explain things at all. You just need to get them doing it and experiencing it first. Because they don’t… the term means nothing to a child or even the explanation of something until they’ve experienced it first.

Daniel: Yeah, that’s a good point, and you all are making a great point there, is that I am definitely page first. There’s a lot of opinion on that, I’m glad that people are being nice to me about that. I really love this conversation, this is good.

Scroll to Top