Fundamental Keys: An classical piano method for everyone
Fundamental Keys is a classical piano method designed for any beginner who is ready to enthusiastically pursue the unique rewards and challenges offered by the piano.
Who is it for?
This method is for teachers who are looking for a classically-oriented approach to use with their adult and child beginners. It can also be used by self-directed adult beginners who would like to work on their own at first before taking the step of finding their first teacher.
Why Fundamental Keys?
When I began to take piano lessons at the age of five, I quickly got bored with all my piano books. They seemed to progress very slowly, and they presented material in a childish way that – even then – I found pretty patronizing. It wasn’t until I was exposed to real classical music that I became fascinated with the piano. Now, I have two degrees in piano performance, and I’ve been teaching for over 20 years. When I first started out as a teacher, I used the best method books I could find, but I saw in my students – both children and adults – that same restlessness that I felt long ago. Once I started teaching my own way – presenting the basics thoroughly but quickly and efficiently and getting to real pieces as soon as possible – my students and I all seemed to have a much better time. That’s why I decided to refine my ideas and compile all of my materials into a new kind of piano method. I hope that other teachers and students will find its clear approach useful for getting an excellent foundation in music-reading and piano-playing.
Fundamental Keys presents concepts, rhythm exercises, note-reading exercises, pieces, innovative technical warm-up exercises, and theory materials. It begins with pieces and exercises I wrote to prepare students for elementary classical pieces. The rest of the method is centered around works by classical-era European composers. The works I’ve chosen to include were originally composed for the purpose of instructing students; they are not simplified versions of more difficult pieces. I think that learning these kinds of pedagogical pieces is the best way to prepare for not only continued classical studies, but also for transitioning to any other kind of music. In fact, this was the traditional way of studying the keyboard for two centuries and is the kind of education that produced the great musical masters of our culture. It is only recently that the kinds of piano methods popular today came into use. So, while it does employ the widely adopted landmark and interval reading method as its basis, it is also a return to a more traditional way of learning to play the piano that really encourages students to take music seriously and reach their full potential.
Fundamental Keys is in transition!
The original edition of Fundamental Keys is a 130+ page volume taking students from the very beginning up to what I would call intermediate level classical pieces. It was published in 2009, and I have used it with all my beginners since then. It has also been used by several other teachers and many adult beginners who are learning on their own. In early 2014, I started to think about ways in which it could be improved. I decided that certain concepts needed to be explained and drilled more thoroughly, and I found more great repertoire that I wanted to work on with my students. The new edition will be broken up into 3 volumes, each approximately 60 pages in length. I also started to envision a professionally produced video series that would be a major improvement over the home-made videos I started creating in 2009.
So here is the current status:
- The original edition is available from Lulu.com and will be until the new edition is complete.
- The videos for pages 1-80 of the original edition are still available and will be until the new edition is complete.
- Book 1 of the new edition is available from Amazon. Here is a table of contents.
- Book 1 instructional videos are complete and available for purchase right here.
- Books 2 and 3 as well as professionally-produced videos to go with them will be released as I complete them. I’m hard at work!
How to proceed?
If you are eager to get started with Fundamental Keys, I recommend you purchase the new Book 1 and the videos that go with it. That volume contains the most major changes between editions, and I highly recommend the new version of that content. If Book 2 is not for sale by the time you are ready for it, you will still be able to get the original edition from Lulu.com and begin on page 39. That will be a completely seamless transition.
Thanks for reading!
It’s been my great pleasure to work on Fundamental Keys and share it with my own students. I hope that over the years to come, it will be a useful and enjoyable resource for many others. So, whether you are a teacher interested in a new way of working with your beginners or you are an adult beginner yourself, I hope you will give it a try.