With over three decades of piano and music teaching experience, Faber Music author Karen Marshall is delighted to share her own pedagogical hints and tips and solutions to common piano teaching problems with Musicroom readers. She will also reveal her ‘go to’ books from her vast collection of old favourites, own titles and new discoveries that keep her students practising, motivated, progressing and (most importantly) loving music. This will all be part of her regular new feature on the Musicroom blog: Karen Marshall’s Music Room.
Karen’s own music room is a log cabin in her garden in York that houses nearly 3,500 music books (we know this as her middle child once counted them!) plus two pianos. Karen is a private and peri piano teacher, a first access and classroom music teacher and best-selling writer. She launched her writing career with Music Teacher magazine back in 2008 (she still contributes today). As a Faber Music Educational Author and writer for Collins Music and ABRSM Publishing, Karen has 24 titles in print, with more in the pipeline. Banks Music Room in York has been Karen’s ‘go to’ music retailer since moving to the city in 2003. It’s a hub of musical resources where teachers can browse through a vast collection of music over two floors. She runs regular workshops there (with their fantastic team headed by Neile Abbs) – look out for future events, which are free and open to all.
Karen’s regular blog posts will begin later this month, and promise to be an invaluable resource to support piano teachers and music teachers as a whole, offering useful tips, advice and informed opinions. In advance of the first post, here’s a quick overview of some of Karen’s work available in print on Musicroom, or your local music shop.
Books about music teaching: How To Teach Instrumental & Singing Lessons: 100 Inspiring Ideas, Collins Music (with Penny Stirling)
Beginner piano up to Grade 1 (Elementary) with Collins Music the best-selling Get Set! Piano Tutor and Pieces series with Heather Hammond. Karen’s own My First Piano Book and My First Pieces, Puzzles and Activities – Get Set! Piano (suitable for 5 to 7 years) and the popular Get Set! Christmas Crackers with David Blackwell (covering 5 finger tunes to Grade 1 plus). Further repertoire books and material for examinations at this level can be found in her ABRSM Piano Star books (written with David Blackwell), Piano Star Duets, Piano Star Grade 1 and the super Piano Star Skills Builder, which covers early stage sight-reading, scales and arpeggios, aural skills and general musicianship (also linked with ABRSM’s Initial Piano Exam).
Post Grade 1 – Grade 8 (late Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced) Karen’s award-winning PianoTrainer series is published by Faber Music and features 8 books to date. The books are a unique combination of repertoire, music theory, musicianship training and technical work that form an easy to use ‘one-stop-shop’ curriculum. They include: The PianoTrainer Scales Workbook (all scales and arpeggios/broken chords with notation and keyboard charts plus theory activities and a free teacher-assessed Scale Challenge); The Foundation Pianist Book 1 (Post Grade 1) and The Foundation Pianist Book 2 (Post Grade 2) – both created David Blackwell, the focus is foundational technique and musical periods. The Intermediate Pianist Book 1 (Grade 3 plus), Book 2 (Grade 4 plus) and Book 3 (Grade 5 plus) are written with Heather Hammond and cover 25 different styles from swing to dance music. Finally, The Advanced Pianist Book 1 (Grade 6 plus) and The Advanced Pianist Book 2 (Grade 7 to 8) include composer galleries of core repertoire at different levels along with performance tips and the history of keyboard instruments.
Karen has also authored ABRSM Piano Encore Book 1 (Grade 1-2), Book 2 (Grade 3-4), Book 3 (Grade 5-6) and Book 4 (Grade 7-8): popular past exam pieces especially selected by Karen (with additional activities and information) in progressive repertoire books. This complementary pedagogical material works perfectly alongside the PianoTrainer series, with no duplication of repertoire across the two series.
Get Set! Piano
Get Set! Piano is an incredibly popular course by Heather Hammond and Karen Marshall, written specially for the twenty-first century child. The tried and tested progression guides beginners from their very first lesson through to Prep test level. Note learning is taught alongside aural, theory and composing skills providing a holistic approach to music.