Artistry at the Piano
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An important basis of Positive Pedagogy is that students deserve to be fully prepared for everything we assign. This makes music study an adventurous exploration rather than a repetitive struggle.
It also gives students the capacity and the process to master what they study.

The three-week (or less) learning cycle for each piece in Artistry at the Piano begins in Level 1; the seeds for reaching that important goal are sown and cultivated in the INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC.

Core Curriculum

Parts 1 & 2, for Students
Parts 1 & 2, for Students
Part 3, for Teachers
Part 3, for Teachers
(click each image for more details)
Teaching Aids

Review is an essential part of learning; the early lessons especially need review to secure new information. Working with these teaching aids gives students both the “big picture” as well as the individual details within the big picture; this makes them an efficient and effective form of review and follow through. They are excellent for all group events including camps and workshops that focus on specific skills. They also serve as reinforcement for home practice.

Flash Cards
Rhythmic Figure Charts
Pitch Charts
Pedagogy Resources

This book is the primer level of Artistry at the Piano. It gives you and your students the tools for preventative pedagogy. It avoids problems by involving students in the stirring language of music, not just note-reading. These playful activities invite them to express themselves musically, giving them something to “say” when they are ready to start playing an instrument. This time-tested book develops awareness of the sound and joy of music, and in the process rewards students with these skills:

  • Hearing music by developing both their internal and external ear and listening skills
  • Personal expression through music (including interpretation, improvisation, and writing music—the best ways to develop reading comprehension)
  • Coordinated reading of rhythm, pitch, and technic resulting in music comprehension
  • A fluid playing technic supported by a balanced, well-shaped hand position
  • Pattern recognition and pattern modification
  • Effective study methods
  • Strong musical memory
  • Ease with transposition
  • Developing bi-level thinking and fluid intelligence, both of which are required for musical thought and expression.

With these and other essential skills in place, students make dramatic progress in any course of study. Furthermore, they do not rely on their teacher to correct errors and to coach them in how to play musically. This allows each lesson or class to make definite steps forward with new issues and insights rather than marking time—or even losing time—through corrections of errors and oversights.

The Introduction to Music remains a valuable reference book throughout establishing each student’s musicianship in the first several years of study. It is also the ultimate tool for remedial work needed by the majority of transfer students.


Teaching Music…Not Notes!

Mary Gae George invites you into her home and studio to observe the interaction between the subject of music, her students, and her teaching. You will discover that her teaching, based on the Power of Positive Pedagogy and the principle of spiral learning, is supported by thinking-centered activities that show students the power of their own minds and acquaint them with the exciting syntax of the musical language.

The Art of Movement

Youngsters will more willingly “sit still” to master their playing technic or their reading skills when informed by the exuberance of spontaneous reaction to music’s invitation to self expression. Adults will be encouraged to recognize that their lifelong experience can inform their learning, and that our response to music is forever rooted at a basic level.
Supplementary Music

IMPORTANT NOTE: The sooner you start assigning pieces in the INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC , Part 2, the slower the student's progress will be. This is because you are dividing time between two full time applications instead of focusing on the objective of the INTRODUCTION - building the strongest possible foundation for reading and comprehending the musical language. A possible exception is when students want to take part in a recital, or for a family event. In this case, students can demonstrate their most accomplished skills from the Introduction to Music, they may also learn and perform rote pieces, or pieces from the early pages of Jon George's Musical Moments, book 1. There are also applications from The Art of Movement DVD set that bring variety and delight to a recital program. (See The Art of Movement DVD listed above; The Clock, Circular Clapping and Conducting while singing melodies, and Domino Dance are good examples of "show stoppers.")

Music for Part Two (only for students with well-developed reading & technical skills)
*George: Musical Moments, Book 1(Alfred) 16 short pieces (including four duets) that students love to play. They can also be used in Level 1, especially with transfer students.

* Reader A from the Frances Clark Library: You are in luck if you have or can find used copies of these four Readers (A, B, C, & D). Most of the pieces in all four Readers are by Jon George, so we did not find it necessary to write another set. They are excellent for sight playing or as study pieces for very young and beginning students. (No longer in print.)

*Diller-Quaile, First Solo Book, pieces #1-8;simple folk tunes arranged in melody divided between the hands. This book contains 87 pieces that are useful for Level 1 reading and study.

* Bartok: Mikrokosmos, Vol 1, pieces #1 - 7; Bela Bartok, a master composer, wrote these short melodies to teach his son, Peter, how to read and play music. You are urged to first sing each melody as Bartok and Peter did. Singing is a natural way to learn to read music for it trains the inner ear that is so essential in recognizing the sound of what we are reading.
These short melodies are ideal for elementary students to learn basic and importantl skills that singing develops, such as:

  • Finding the starting notes on the keyboard (only the first two pieces start on "C").
  • Reading by interval from the Anchor Notes used in the INTRODUCTION (or whatever course is being used).
  • pattern recognition, both rhythmic and intervallic,
  • tone production including evaluating tone, legato, releases for rests,
  • directed motion, Including dynamics to shape the direction and arrival.
  • phrasing and cadences to enhance the structure and beauty of the music.

This is active reading and artistic interpretation (and pedagogy!). By singing first, students will learn to recognize the keyboard location of that pitch much faster. The ear must be a skilled and active part of reading and playing music on the piano.

Bela Bartok: Mikrokosmos in 6 volumes, elementary through advanced (Boosey & Hawkes)

Online Resources

An internationally recognized online resource for skills development, from elementary to intermediate level, effectively and imaginatively presented by Chris Hermanson.

Though many of the early level activities are designed for young students, college students use them as preparation and review for college level theory and listening skills.

If your transfer students at any level can pass the early level tests, they have the needed skills to move on. If not, they need to review until they can. All of your remedial work with them will be enhanced thereby.

Take advantage of these online learning games to ensure that students follow through on skills development during home practice. (This is too often a missing link in students’ study methods. The computer is the perfect tutor, for it identifies success and the need for more work. Students must listen & read quickly & accurately. There are over 400 learning games on this site!)
You guide your students’ listening & reading activities at lessons, but they need guidance at home as well. The MLC is available online 24 hours a day around the world. It is thoroughly organized, including curricula for various courses and state organizations. See for yourself by clicking here.