Early Childhood Music, repertoire / methods, Reviews

First Thoughts Regarding Faber’s “My First Piano Adventure”

As big of a fan as I am of Nancy & Randall Faber’s materials for piano students, somehow I’ve never had a chance to try out their “My First Piano Adventure” books — until now.  After trying out this book with a new 5-year-old student last week, I am wondering why in the world didn’t I check this out sooner?!

My First Piano Adventure is designed for young beginners, ages 5 and 6.  I suspect that 4-year-olds would also thrive using this book, and maybe even precocious 3-year-olds — but don’t quote me on that until I’ve had more time to test it out.

The Lesson Book comes with a CD full of fun songs and activities that teach the student about basic technique, how to make different sounds on the piano, and much more.  The CD alone is worth the price of the Lesson Book!!   Parents can play the CD at home or in the car so the student is hearing them all week long.  I bought my own copy to play during lessons — but I also plan to use some of the songs on the CD with my Piano Readiness Classes and Homeschool Music class because they are that good.  🙂  Many of the songs involve some pretty creative activities for learning basic piano technique — which is great, because I am always on the lookout for finding effective ways to teach young beginners proper technique.

The accompanying Writing Book contains worksheets and activities that reinforce that concepts the student is learning about in the Lesson Book.  Both the Lesson and Writing books feature some “piano friends” who show up throughout the books to teach the student about different concepts, and show up in the pieces’ illustrations.  The piano friends are: Marta and Millie (the twins), Carols, Dallas, Katie, and Mrs. Razzle-Dazzle (the piano teacher).  Their pictures are shown on the cover of the book.  Students will be excited to meet these friends and learn about the piano from them.

After the student completes level A of the Lesson and Writing Books, there is a level B and C that follows.  Once the student has completed all three levels, they are ready to jump right into Level 1 of the regular Faber Piano Adventures method books (skipping the Primer level).

These books are so colorful and fun, I can’t imagine what young beginner wouldn’t find piano to be a blast!  I’m super excited to have (finally) discovered these and be trying them out with my students.

You can learn more about “My First Piano Adventures” on the Faber website.  The Video Lesson Guide section is fabulous — watching Nancy Faber teach in the videos is sure to get you inspired.  🙂

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30 thoughts on “First Thoughts Regarding Faber’s “My First Piano Adventure””

  1. Thanks for the review, Joy! I ran across these books during the holiday season when I was looking for an easy Christmas book for a (just barely) 7 year old student who had only been playing for two months. He’s a very fast learner, and I currently have him in the regular Alfred’s Basic Piano series. I cannot remember which level he has of the Christmas book, but he really enjoyed playing the recognizable tunes. (And I thought the little characters were super cute!)

  2. I love this series for young beginners! I used it in the piano preschool I did a few years ago with plenty of supplementary activities and blogged about our adventures along the way. I have used it with several students with great success including my daughter starting at age 3. She really liked the character friends along the way including “EGB” the mouse and the fun CD accompaniments. For young beginners the slow approach to learning note names is very helpful. I sometimes use songs like “A Train” and “EGB’s Morning Warmups,” “A-B Bop” and “Construction Zone” as a extra reinforcement for older students who need a little more review on note names. My only lament is that the 3rd (C) book doesn’t also include a CD.

  3. I discovered this series last fall. I had been using the Music for Little Mozart series with one of my 4-year-old students, but the series just wasn’t engaging her and was moving too slow for her learning pace. Since I would rather find the right fit, I made a trip to my local music store and found the “My First Piano Adventure” series. I was really impressed that series divides the material by pre-reading, line-reading, and skip reading. Some students need less pre-reading material than others, and I was able to start my student right into book B. I also enjoy how thoughtful and programmatic the pieces are, and how many of them utilize the keyboard more than other beginner methods (Tucker’s Bath Time incorporates the lowest F, etc.) Overall, the switch really caught her attention, and the results over the past few months have been fantastic.

    1. Hi Sharyn! I had the same experience as you with Music for Little Mozarts. Honestly, My First Piano Adventures is much more engaging and makes the students feel that they are really playing something nice! Love the series! I decided to try to teach a 5 yo beginner from the book B (reading on the staff) instead of book A. I believe kids can learn right away from staff without having to spend so much time on relative reading. What book A really wins from all of the others is the technique, so I bring the book A to the lessons when I want to focus on technique or concepts that are so well explained. I have been trying to find someone who had the same idea (thought I was getting crazy skipping the first book), so I am happy to have found you!

  4. This is good to know! I haven’t seen this book at our music store yet (was just in there today) so maybe I will see if they can order it in. I started my own son this fall (he’s 5) and so far I’ve tried the primer PA and Bastien primer- neither one is clicking with him. I think I will give this new one a try!

  5. I’m starting in a student in them this week. It’ll be my first time using them, and I liked what I saw in the first unit as I was getting familiar with it before the student’s first lesson.

  6. I have used this series with a couple of young students now, and it is probably the best method I’ve found to engage 4-5 year olds (and many 6 year olds) in reading, and even improvising! In Book B, they introduce each new note in a musically interesting way rather than with boring drills posing as “songs,” and they expose students to some famous classical melodies and composers (besides the ever-present Ode to Joy that ends up in nearly every method somewhere). And with the 2nd edition of the PA book 1, the transition from First PA C is a bit smoother than it was last year. This series is definitely a must to check out!

  7. I LOVE this book! They are so much fun for the kids, and a blast for the teachers as well! I had a (barely) 4 year old that wanted to start lessons so I did a lot of looking around for method books that would be ideal for a child that young. This one worked wonderfully!

  8. I love these books, too! I’ve also used “Music for Little Mozarts” with great success.

    Just recently I came across a new program that’s geared specifically towards preschool age students (ages 3-5) that I’m going to give a try, called “WunderKeys.” You can find more info about it here: http://www.wunderkeys.com/ In addition to the student books, they have some helpful teaching materials online and they even email you personalized advertising materials (personalized letters that you can send to preschools, posters & postcards) if you request them. The books themselves look really cute–super organized–and perfect for that younger age group. Looking forward to trying it out with students soon.

  9. Yes, I just discovered this book as well a few months ago. I am using it with a 3 year old and she absolutely loves it. She loves all the characters and says funny things about Millie and Marta and Mrs. Razzle Dazzle like they’re her friends next door. It’s a true gem!

  10. Yay I’m so glad that you are a big fan of this book too!! I’ve been teaching with this book for about 2 years now!! LOVE IT!!! It’s amazing! I love how they make glasses with their fingers. They are really good to teach the fingers! Its a good finger strengthener! What a fun idea.

  11. I’ve been using this series for 3 years now (started 1 five-year old a year, three years in a row). The kids love the characters, especially looking for tap. As Randy Faber described in the workshop I attended a few years back, the series really encourages the student’s sense of play, which in turn helps great music making… especially at that age! The games and rhymes make it easy to address proper technique from a young age, which of course I love. Depending on the brightness of the child, the books have taken 4-6 months to complete or so per level. The first student I started 3 years ago is now halfway through Faber Lv 1 and transitioned very nicely. I’d highly recommend for younger beginners.

  12. Hello Joy,
    It’s so refreshing and motivational going through your hard working website. I do use “My first piano adventure” for 5 and 6 yrs old. It is a success, little fingers love it!
    Keep up the great service.

  13. I’m a long time fan of Faber’s Piano Adventure series! Love the teaching sequence which progress in a logical manner, and love the repertoire mix they use. And the FIRST PA is totally cool. I’ve been using it for 3 years now! My students love it. Just looking at the cute pages make them want to play the pieces already! And the writing (theory) is something that my students looking forward to do! I highly recommend this series.

  14. The most wonderful book of all-time for 3-4-5 year old beginners is Music is for Everyone, Reader, by Gail Gilbert. Unfortunately it is out of print, but occasionally shows up on eBay etc.

  15. I just started a 6 year old on the primer piano adventures. Do you think that they will be too hard? I’ve never done a student this young before, and wasn’t sure whether to “prescribe” the My First Piano Adventures or the normal primer. Help?

    1. Not at all — I frequently use the regular Primer book with 5 and 6 years olds. I think the My First PA books are great for 4-year-olds (if they are ready) and particularly wiggly 5-year-olds. 🙂

  16. Well I am using the My First Piano Adventure books with all of my six year old beginners this year, simply because the songs are sooo engaging. We like the songs more than the Primer songs! I use only the Lesson book (I use lots of other tools and activities in my teaching and like to do it my own way).. We move through the levels as quickly as the student needs. Most of my students started book A mid-february and we just started book B last week (we’ve had a lot of holidays this year). I love that we only need one book – kids get overwhelmed by lesson, technique, performance, sight reading… And I certainly don’t find it too babyish for this age.
    I have taught a few five year olds and a four year old in the series previously and they loved it of course.
    I often use book B with seven year old transfer students and I have used Book C with eight year olds who were really struggling and it fits perfectly. 🙂

  17. I’d like to hear some pros and cons on the books such as PA’s beginner (w/the pre-staff reading) vs. Schuams (where you start right off with middle C. I feel like I’ve had more success with reading notes immediately vs. later. Perhaps this was because my youngest at the time was a 2nd grader and could already read? So far the youngest I’ve taught was 6 and I started her in Schuam’s primer them moved to PA level one (which was very easy to begin with). Obviously not everyone is the same or will learn at the same pace! I’d like to hear from others what they prefer as I love to start teaching preschoolers (my favorite age)! I don’t think you’re ever too young to appreciate music!

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      I think the answer has a lot to do with how old the student is! I think 5-year-olds and many 6-year-olds benefit a great deal from a time of pre-staff reading. Older students (especially any student who has experienced on-staff notation in music class at school) are usually better off starting on-the-staff.

  18. I’m just starting using the Faber PA Level A books with a 5yo and 6yo brother and sister, tomorrow in fact! They haven’t had any musical training previously and the 5yo is learning to read. The books look exciting and I’m looking forward to teaching them – I hope it is the right fit for them! I’ve enjoyed reading all the comment above, and it’s given me more confidence that I will be using the right level for them. If you have a brother and sister that you’re teaching and they’re near the same age/level, they still each get their own book, right? Thanks for your help.

    1. Something I learned (during my pedagogy courses) to consider when teaching siblings at the same time was to use different beginner books. This would discourage any memorizing/playing by ear by the one who was hearing their sibling practice first and sometimes inadvertently picking up any incorrect notes, rhythms, timing and so forth.
      It also reduces sibling rivalry as they are not playing the same songs.

      I have taught siblings using the same books, different books and personally, I find making the youngest wait at least a year has worked the best.

  19. I LOOOVE this book, and so do my students!!! And FYI, I started this book on all three of my own kids at age 3. And all three thrived on this series. My oldest went straight to Level 1 at age 4, while my younger two went through Levels A, B, and C. They still remember the songs from the CD. I have had many 5 year olds begin this book as well as a few 7 and 8 year olds. The 7 and 8 year olds also loved it.

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