BOOK 1.5??

Tangie Lee said: Dec 9, 2013
11 posts

My 5 year old daughter is just about to complete piano book 1. It’s taken her just over a year to do so. We have been listening to book 2 music (on the advise of her teacher) for the past 6 months now.

Recently, her teacher has asked me if I was wanting her to move straight to book 2 or to a 1.5 book. A 1.5 book is basically a book of 12 songs of our choosing from a pool of 92 songs. The songs are much easier than book 2. It will continue to work her technique before tackling the tougher book 2 songs.

(on an aside, book 2 seems really difficult to me. It seems like there is a large jump from book 1, IMO)

I’m not sure what to do. On the one hand, book 1.5 may allow her to have more fun and ease the frustration. He thinks either will be fine. He thinks she’s capable to tackle book 2 although challenging but maybe a 1.5 book might infuse more fun and life into her piano practice.

He has gone about 50/50 w his previous students. Some of them, he leads them in a certain path but others (like my daughter), he’ll allow for personal choice.

Has anyone gone through this?? Thoughts??

Thanks in advance

Mengwei Shen said: Dec 11, 2013
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
221 posts

Quoting from Haruko Kataoka’s (founder of Suzuki piano) booklet “How to Teach Beginners” (published by the Piano Basics Foundation): “Some say that the Suzuki repertoire becomes suddenly difficult when we get into Book 2. Any teacher who thinks like this should please ponder this well by asking … Have we really taught the basics well in Book 1? Can the student play every piece in Book 1 well with musical tone and with natural use of the body? … Have we allowed the parents to build up the habit of listening to pieces on the recording every day? … If we can answer yes to these questions, the student will not find Book 2 difficult.”

Book 1.5 sounds like your teacher’s creation and is possibly a way to have “new material” while spending more time developing the book 1 skills/techniques in preparation for book 2. (By the way, does he also have recordings of those pieces for you or will they be learned strictly by reading?) Tackling challenges is good and helpful for learning but so is achieving small steps of success. If my student “arrives” at a piece with too large a gap in technique, it may have been because I skipped something in previous pieces.

Tangie Lee said: Dec 11, 2013
11 posts

I should have preface this post to say that on many occasions, I have discussed w/ the teacher the difficulties I have had w/ her practice. To this he was shocked bc she’s a very cheery and compliant student during the lesson. (Which I am grateful for). But she’s a total other beast at home.

She is an extremely bright child and most things come easily for her. But I feel she gets very easily frustrated while practicing the piano. It probably take about 6 times for her to get something but it could take 30 min or several practices for her to actually complete the 6 times.

I have tried games. I have tried rewards. I have tried timers. I have tried it all. Nothing works more than once. I have read Sprunger’s book.

We listen to the music daily ranging from 1 hr to 8 hrs a day depending on the day. And as I mentioned, she’s 5. And while I’m sure there are other 5 yr olds w/ different temperments, she is quite the hyper child. After reading a post on choosing the right instrument for your child, she doesn’t quite fit w/ the piano, but alas, here we are.

She also needs a minimum of 10 hrs of sleep daily but also needs to supplement that w/ two 12 hrs of sleep weekly.

I don’t think her teacher would have brought up book 1.5 if I hadn’t been so vocal about my difficulties during practices. I think he mainly thinks that book 1.5 will help her w/ her confidence and give her a sense of more immediate accomplishment.

There are 92 recordings, of which, we will choose 12 songs. I’ve just listened to some and they are short minuet types. After the 12 are chosen, he’ll make us another CD of them for us to listen.

He has said that she is one of the most musical students he has had and just wants to make sure the joy remains. As do I. I don’t want my “pride” of her accomplishing book 2 while 5 to get in the way of her loving to play. But on the other hand, I don’t want to slow her progress b/c as she ages, her life will just get busier.

I trust her teacher but I just wanted other points of view on the topic.

Laura said: Jan 5, 2014
Laura Mozena
Suzuki Association Member
Mancos, CO
106 posts

I would be interested to learn more about this 1.5 book. What pieces are they? I agree it sounds like they would be pieces to focus more on the book 1 techniques needed before book 2. But I would highly recommend continuing to review book 1 implementing these techniques at the same time.

Amanda Hockenberger said: Jan 8, 2014
Amanda Hockenberger
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Marlton, NJ
10 posts

I would suggest moving on to book 2 while adding some “1.5 book” pieces between some of the more challenging book 2 pieces. It is also important to continue reviewing pieces from book 1. The review of book one will help with developing technique. The book two pieces will be a nice challenge, and the supplemental “1.5 book” pieces may be a nice confidence builder between more difficult pieces.

I don’t know about the Suzuki piano repertoire specifically, as I teach violin and viola. If I had a 5-year-old Suzuki violin student with a similar situation, I would probably start them in Book 2 while also working on a supplemental very easy note-reading book. I might also teach them a few fiddle tunes by ear for supplemental ear tunes.

Congratulations on graduating Book 1!

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