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Reviewed by Randy B. Lichtman for Readers' Favorite
Donna Gielow McFarland has designed a very good piano method titled Intro to Piano: Class Piano for Adult Beginners. The book has been designed to be used in a Group Piano Lesson, as it includes ensemble pieces for two pianos. In an individual lesson, it is possible for the teacher to change the octave and play the second part, but is preferable in a group lesson. Following some introductory lessons on The Keyboard, Intervals, Staff, and Rhythm, there are 10 chapter lessons, each chapter introducing a new interval or concept (example: accidentals, expanded range, etc.).
The chapters are structured well, as each one begins by having the student play the basic lesson based on the objective through melodic exercises, followed by playing a repertoire piece, and ending with a rhythmic exercise. I like the choice of repertoire and the fact that the exercises are melodic in nature. This is an effective design pedagogically, in my opinion, as it quickly moves from exercises into a song which the student will enjoy playing, ending with reinforcement of rhythms. The rhythm section is effective for sight-reading as well. The exercises are melodic and pleasant to play.
Interspersed are ensemble pieces where the class plays two different parts. This allows them to experience harmony and playing in a piano ensemble. McFarland also includes a number of Christmas carols as well at the end for the students’ enjoyment as well as theory and vocal warm-ups, which can be used in a class integrating piano and voice. Students will enjoy the experience of playing repertoire in both a one-part and two-part environment using this piano method. Intro to Piano: Class Piano for Adult Beginners by Donna Gielow McFarland is a very good piano method book to use in both individual and class lessons, especially in the latter.