Personality Types & Piano Methods

Practical Piano Pedagogy
I just read a great chapter in Dr. Martha Baker-Jordan’s Practical Piano Pedagogy all about piano methods. In this chapter she has wonderful, in-depth reviews of ten different piano methods, focusing on Reading, Rhythm, Technique and Theory for each method. The ten methods she reviews are:

Bastien Piano Basics
The Music Tree
Faber & Faber Piano Adventures
Beanstalks Basics for Piano
Hal Leonard Student Piano Library
The Robert Pace Keyboard Approach
Alfred’s Basic Piano Library
John W. Schaum Piano Course
John Thompson’s Modern Course for the Piano
Piano Discoveries


I am excited to learn about some of these methods that I am unfamiliar with! Her reviews are so helpful. I also love how she has a section on “Methods and Character Types.” She says,

 “You can’t force the student to fit the program – you’ve got to make the program to fit the student.”

I completely agree with this. Although we may have our favorite piano methods, they may not work equally well for each individual student. Each student you teach has their own personality type, their own strengths and weaknesses. Each student learns in different ways (not to mention that each teacher teaches in different ways!).

Baker-Jordan discusses four different character types: Idealist/Dolphin, Guardian/Bear, Rational/Owl and Artisan/Ape. She includes charts for the most common two character types of piano teachers/students which illustrate the types of approaches, methods, materials and components that are most effective for that character type, as well as which specific piano methods are most effective.

I wanted to share this because it is so interesting, and so helpful! I definitely recommend this book; I am about halfway through it and so far it has been really helpful!

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Jennifer Boster

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