Comparing Method Books, Part 2

I’ve already written a comparison of three major piano method books, level one, and today I’m continuing on. I’ve dropped covering Bastien’s because I don’t have any students who have come to me from beyond the first level.

The way the different series number their books is a bit confusing. I would love it if they all just started with book one and then moved on to book two. But they don’t, so this comparison is between Alfred’s Level 1B and Faber Level 1. (Faber started with a Primer Level.)

The major difference here is that by the end of this level, Alfred’s students have the conceptual basis for major scales, but not chords, while Faber does exactly the opposite. That aside, I’d say that overall a student at the end of Alfred’s Level 1B is playing more complicated music than a student at the end of Faber Level 1.

To view the part two comparison, click here.

Comparing Method Books, Part 1

I teach with the Alfred’s Basic Piano Library series of method books, mostly because they are the series I used as a kid. I have other reasons for preferring it as well, but that’s a different blog post. For today, I’m just commenting that I often have students transfer to me, and they’ve often used other books, and it’s hard to know exactly how to transition them to Alfred’s. It would be just as hard in the other direction, so I have put together this table of concepts and skills taught in the first level of Alfred’s, Bastien’s, and Faber’s to make it easier to see what is taught and when.

The basic takeaway message is: While all the books are roughly the same length, Faber’s moves slowly and covers much less than the other two. Bastien’s covers the most, but in my opinion throws in several huge topics right at the end without a lot of explanation (e.g., triads, damper pedal, eighth notes). Alfred’s is the happy medium. Go with Alfred’s. 

You can see the page by page breakdown of the skills and concepts here.