The course books have been completely expanded to include more music definitions, more music to play, and re-engraved with fresh new artwork. A big change in focus for the method is to teach more note reading and use less emphasis on fingering. For this series, these changes may be quite welcome.
In past years, the method suffered a bit from being less sequential than possible, with core concepts presented in a random way. Some students experienced frustration when they perceived the information as having gaps or skips from one musical idea to the next. Another issue was the absence of preparation to read the musical score before actually being required to play it.
With the addition of correlated books that teach music theory, piano technique, and solo pieces, students do have the opportunity to study all the aspects necessary for piano learning. The books range in level from Primer to Grade 5. To have the best options for study, students should have the Lesson, Technic, Theory, and Performance books for each level they learn.
It is possible to order some course books in French, German, and Spanish. For interested students, these are very nice to have as options. Some books for singers also exist in these languages, so that students who study voice or other instruments may access some study materials from the entire library.
One word of caution to teachers and parents, is that some experienced teachers have noticed that there is a large gap in difficulty level as the books reach the upper grades. For example, pieces found in one grade may easily fall within the intermediate range, but the next grade may be much more suitable to late intermediate or early advanced players. This shift in difficulty seems most prominent between Grades 4 and 5. Some students may have no problem advancing to more challenging pieces. But, for those who do, using supplemental materials from additional collections may be helpful to build better bridges between levels of difficulty.
Many students who began piano lessons in the years from 1960 forward may have strong memories of the songs they studied in this course. For some, these are cherished little piano pieces that have never lost their beauty. It may be that with consistent teaching, new generations of little pianists may enjoy the same feelings.
(For the best in piano lessons in Katy, TX, consider the fine instructors at the award winning The Conservatory of Music!)