Brandman's 'Playing Made Easy' music teaching books
and CDs begin with a simplified interval approach,
using terminology connected to physical actions for instance
- Step, Skip or Jump. The interval approach
helps to connect the aural, visual and tactile aspects of music.
The approach allows the performer to read the flow of the
music, while feeling the interval distances in the
hand and listening to the sounds being played. Students
are encouraged to sing the pitches prior to playing (for both
piano and recorder methods) while in the early levels of the
Contemporary Piano Method, a comprehensive
piano teaching course, students sing the intervals as they play,
using this easy language, which in turn helps the development
of inner hearing.
In the Contemporary Piano Method, the music
presented for study moves away from the centre of the instrument
very quickly using the C's as signpost notes, so that students
see the 'Gestalt' view of the instrument and understand spatial
concepts on the Grand Staff. The method moves on fairly swiftly
to larger intervals, changes of area, transposition and playing
in all twelve major keys as the groundwork for all future key,
scale and chord work on the keyboard. Keyboard scales are presented
as Pictorial Patterns to teach students keyboard
holistic approach flows through the entire method, blending
ear-training through the use of the Contemporary Aural
Course - CD and book sets, with written work in the
related theory texts: Contemporary Theory Workbook
series and the Contemporary Chord Workbook
series. The method presents classical and modern techniques,
drawing parallels between the common threads of classical and
modern music (popular, jazz and contemporary). Areas covered
include music speed-reading techniques in the written key, transposed
or in C clef, plus improvisation techniques and both jazz harmony
and figured harmony at the keyboard.
The aim is to offer the student professional music making skills
in an easy fashion, beginning early, so these skills may be
incorporated in a very gradual way, rather than being thought
of as tertiary study material. Then in time, students can choose
the musical direction that suits them best: performing, composing,
arranging, recording, teaching in classical, jazz or pop genres.
Brandman Music Education materials have been
frequently used as resources for secondary school
and tertiary courses. They provide supporting
information and practice questions for many examination syllabi,
including the AMEB’s recently developed Music
Summary of the Brandman educational series:
Contemporary Piano Method – Junior
Primer, Books 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3 & 4,
Contemporary Piano Method – DVD,
Pictorial Patterns for Keyboard Scales
Contemporary Theory Primer, Contemporary
Theory Workbooks 1 & 2
Contemporary Chord Workbooks 1 & 2
Aural Course, (ear-training)
Preparatory Set, Sets 1-8
Playing Made Easy for Recorder – Method
Book, and Tune Book
How to Play the Recorder
Accent on Music – Book and CD
Teaching Materials for Piano
Blues and Boogie-Woogie
Contemporary Modal Pieces
Music Education materials for use with AMEB 'Music Craft'
Junior Primer is designed for the 5 to 12 age group. It
contains all the skills required to play with both hand
simultaneously on the instrument, encouraging the reading
of music by intervals, shapes and patterns. Among the many
features of the book are: the enjoyable written exercises
and puzzles, the graphic boxes to be coloured in to teach
rhythm, improvisation suggestions, transposition, and catchy
songs to play.
view some sample pages from the book, click here.
here for the complete set of Guide Notes for the Teacher
on the use of this book.
here to buy a copy of Contemporary Method Junior
I finally received a long-waited piano method or yours,
I've been studying it. And every page I turn makes me smile
as I find lots of features that I've hoped for in piano
methods for a long time are actually in there!
the idea of musical ladder which I've done it myself(!)
to visualise the piano keybaord high and low as we all know
it's confusing for kids as reading direction and keyboard
direction are different when it goes down.
And also the interval reading method. I think it's very
important to be able to see and hear the interval as you
read music especially for little kids. And also as you point
out for improvising, which I'm hopeless with.
I wish I'd studied with your method when I started piano
lessons when I was 4!
SMITH - Cambridge UK.
to the Piano page.
Contemporary Piano Method
Primer for 5 to 12 age group.
1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3 and 4
I have enjoyed going through the volumes very much and
find that they are well organised, they have excellent
follow through, are extremely attractive and I believe
almost any piano teacher could make excellent use of
the materials. I congratulate you on bringing these
volumes to completion.
Maurice Hinson - Senior Professor of Music - Southern
Baptist Theological Seminary, Kentucky USA
I really enjoyed reading through them....I appreciate
greatly the way you have included jazz and contemporary
rhythms and reading material in varied keys. I like
the way you have given an orientation to the black notes
in the scales - that is similar to the way I refer to
keyboard topography and 'scale paths' in my book "
Danko B.M.E. jazz pianist and music educator ( USA)
author of the Illustrated Keyboard Method.
Contemporary Piano Method Video/DVD
beginners and also teachers wishing to know more about
Margaret Brandman's unique Playing Made Easy
music education system.
video/DVD demonstrates the initial stages of Margaret
Brandman's PLAYING MADE EASY teaching method, including
the streamlined music reading aspect and the early development
of an at-homeness at the keyboard. The video medium is
used to display animated graphics of notation and interval
movements as well as live demonstrations by students.
Keyboard Scales and Chords
as a companion scale book for all levels of the Contemporary Piano
Patterns is a unique book which allows pianists to learn
scales by understanding keyboard geography rather than relying
being able to view hand shapes on the keyboard patterns
the fingering for scales is simplified and mirror fingerings
can be seen. Equally useful for students of classical or
modern piano, and for improvisors, it shows both similar
and contrary motion patterns and all major and minor chord
here for some sample pages.
Early Level - all major scales and chords
Intermediate to Advanced - All major, minor patterns and
their derived modes, and chords
A Unique Scale and Chord Practice Planner including four
note chords, chord resolutions plus connected scales and
here to read
a full review.
No: MMP 8019 A$24.95
Easy Piano Pieces
The Repertoire Book for Level One of The Contemporary
repertoire for Level One (A and B) of the Contemporary Piano
Method, this book presents simple two part arrangements,
or chordal accompaniments for many well known pieces, ranging
from folk melodies to much loved classics through to the
Twelve Bar blues tunes and Margaret's new original piece
arrangements and technical exercises (Dexter-Flexers) are
specially designed to allow the fingers of both hands to
remain on the keyboard so that the interval reading method
can be fostered. (Too many rests disturb the reading process
for beginners, so it is better for the reading process to
use a legato touch which allows students to feel their position
on the keys). The tunes also allow students to consolidate
the direction concepts introduced in the Junior Primer and
Level One A of the method, and are suitable for transposition.
newly revised edition of the book contains extra pages for
easy rhythm training, using the colour and clap graphics
and the Pictorial Patterns for the scales to aid in transposition
to all keys.
exercises for beginning keyboard students using the simplified
interval approach combined with scale topography. The fun
way to gain finger dexterity and speed reading skills.
and reading exercises for beginners
with lively pictures of Dexter (for dexterity) the Koala
grade pieces arranged for both hands simultaneously.
(two part writing
to read with the interval approach.
tune presents an interesting teaching feature.
of young children's favourite tunes from early childhood
programs and original songs by Margaret Brandman. Designed
to present extra two-handed practice for the first year
student. Melodies remain within the five-finger hand position
along the white note groups in the keys of C and G.
parts are for either a single lower part or obligato melodies
complementing the orginal tunes in the higher register of
the keyboard. Simple enough for students to play yet interesting
for the teacher to play along with the student to develop
good reading and rhythm skills.
for use a supplementary material to the Junior Primer and
during the transition to Book 1A of the Contemporary Piano
Easy to Improvise
fun way to learn how to bring single line tunes with chords
to life, and how to embellish melodies and create your own
Keyboards and treble clef instruments
easiest and most enjoyable way to learn keyboard harmony! This
book contains graded popular and folk tunes with which to learn
left hand accompaniment styles and arranging, plus information
on the placement of chords and varying accompaniment styles.
It also includes suggestions for melodic embellishment and improvisation
applicable to keyboards and single line instruments.
Brandman's IT'S EASY TO IMPROVISE takes the mystery out of improvisation
by presenting a clearly defined and logical step-by-step method
that takes the guess work out of the technique and equips the
student with the basic knowledge to improvise in a variety of
styles and rhythms. A worthwhile and highly recommended publication
that will introduce students to improvisation whilst extending
their overall developmental skills and enjoyment of music'
Crews, AUSTRALIAN MUSIC TEACHER Magazine, Vol 4 No 2 May 1995
Made Easy for Recorder (Australian edition)
-How to play Recorder (USA edition)
author - Catherine Weaver)
pages of skillfully prepared instruction and music for the
beginner. From 'how to hold the recorder' to Twelve Bar
Blues and four-part rounds, it covers a wide range of subjects.
IT IS THE BEST TUTOR I HAVE SEEN FOR RECORDER BY FAR. Congratulations
to Margaret Brandman with addition of this GEM to her collection."
Thomas, Former Lecturer in Woodwind at Sydney University
are the finest collections I have seen on the subject and
I recommend them without hesitation."
Maurice Hinson. Senior Professor of Music, Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary, Kentucky USA
congratulate you on the book 'Playing Made Easy for Recorder',
with its interweaving of playing techniques and reading
Power - Lecturer in Music Education - University of Western
/ CHORD WORKBOOKS
interval concepts and signpost note drill plus rhythm training
through box diagrams and colouring in.
be used alongside:
CONTEMPORARY PIANO METHOD - the Junior Primer and Book
AURAL COURSE - Preparatory Set and Set One.
MADE EASY FOR RECORDER.
Books One and Two
and commonsense approach to music theory covering all the
basics right through to the modes and higher grade information.
page per lesson format encourages the student to move
forward at a page a week pace or faster. (Answers included)
subject is covered in such a way as to flood the student's
mind with light. Sprinkled throughout are topics never
covered except in encyclopaedias, refreshingly and clearly
explained in easily understood statements displaying breadth
and clarity. They are simply a must for every student
and teacher's library.'
Thomas O.A.M., Lecturer in Woodwind Studies, Sydney Conservatorium
guide to chords
for all instruments
One: The Building Blocks of Chords, plus all three
and four-note chords.
Two: Extended Chords - Ninths, Elevenths and Thirteenths.
Brandman has put together a magnificent basic theory text
for all instruments. She skillfully lays out the immovable
rocks of knowledge that support all western music - pop,
jazz, classical, jazz-rock etc...
Here for a colour graphic of the contents of the Chord Workbook
Clark, jazz guitarist, improviser and music educator
'In her Contemporary Chord Workbook Book 1, Brandman yet again
succeeds in making the language, structure and application
of modern chords readily accessible to teachers and students....
should be an essential item on every piano student's music
Abe Cytrynowski - ANZCA Examiner, Stretto Magazine - 2002
here to read the full review
Contemporary Aural Course
CD and Workbook set
1- 8 each with CD and workbook
2 x CDs and accompanying workbook and lift-out answer sheet.
The Preparatory Course is designed to equip the student from
the earliest stages of learning with aural discrimination and
the aural skills necessary to hear the music, both with and
without the written score.
aural work from a student's first lesson is, in my view and
that of most music educators, an essential task and one that
is now made all the more easy with the advent of this particular
publication. The course provides an easy-to-follow and pleasant
method of teaching and improving aural skills. In my view
it is highly recommended.'
Crews, MUSIC TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION OF NSW
CONTEMPORARY AURAL COURSE Sets 1-8
Set One begins at a basic level and progresses
very gradually covering required grade material plus interesting
and enjoyable extension work.
each set the material is divided between various musical elements,
for example, in Set One the elements are pitch, rhythm and
melody while from Set Two onwards these categories are expanded
to include cadences and chord progressions.
of the most useful attributes of this series is the use of
review material for revision and reinforcement of work done,
which occurs not only at the end of each set, but as the starting
points of Sets Two-Seven. Thus there is a satisfying continuity
and development which is perceivable by the student as well
as the teacher and which helps to increase student self-confidence
and feelings of achievement.
important attribute is the clarity of presentation. The voice
is natural sounding and well-articulated. Students are able
to work through the exercises without teacher supervision
and at their own pace, and will find the clear enunciation
and pleasing tone of voice both encouraging and reassuring.'
Helen Stowasser, Associate Professor of Music Education, University
of Western Australia
advanced sets in the series Set 7 (Hear Your Chords!) and
Set 8 (Hear More Chords!) deal with the sounds and functions
of the chords along with the modes or scales that can be sounded
together with them. Each of the sets includes several pieces
of music harmonised with modern chords, and requires the student
to identify the chord types. Set 8, also covers the sounds of
the standard Chromatic chords in classical music the Neapolitan
Sixth and the German, Italian and French Sixths.