1A - Contemporary Piano Method Book 1A
CPM 3 - Contemporary Piano Method Book
2007 - additional notes on colour-coding have been added to
the text for pages 12-13, 14 -15,16-17, 22-23 & 28.
one should encompass pages 5-13 PARTS OF THE PIANO
5 Depending on the age and comprehension of your student,
more details as to the workings of the damper mechanism and
other parts of the piano could be given to the student. Refer
to: * in CPM 1A page 6 HAND AND SEATING POSITIONS
6 For more details on hand and seating positions as well
as a basic introductory technique, refer to * Contemporary
Piano Method DVD/Video: ( 8.06, 9.03,11.30 )
7 - Finger Numbers
First demonstrate with both hands fingers 1 through 5 so that
students realise the parallels in the fingering system. -Next,
play a game with your student asking him or her to point the
required finger in the air, using either left or right hands.
This also helps to reinforce the concepts of right and left.
12 - Improvisation
Mimic animal sounds - using high. low or middle range
notes. Continue the call and response theme to allow children
to develop longer improvisations.
12 - Ear-training actions
A suggestion at this point, is to ask the child to do the
actions to the sounds, similar to the pictures of Dexter the
Koala, reaching high, touching toes or patting their tummies
for middle-range notes. Likewise, they can stretch from low
to high or vice-versa as the teacher sounds a series of notes
moving in one direction. This can be
practised at home while listening to Lesson One of the Contemporary
Aural Course, Preparatory Set.
Coding for the koalas on pages 12 and 13
Low koala - dark blue;
koala - red; High
koala - yellow
the five rising koalas on page 13 - From Low to High - Blue,
Red, Orange, Yellow.
Reverse colours for descending koalas.
12 Lesson activities
Spend 5 minutes or so each lesson on improvisation, ear-training
actions, gross motor and fine motor drills and/ or clapping
so as to make each lesson as interesting and engaging as possible.
14-23 INTERVAL CONCEPTS The simplified interval language
14 - Simple Interval Language
To simplify the interval reading process in the early stages
of learning, the names Same, Step, Skip, Skip-plus-one
and Jump have been given to the intervals in preference
to the numerical sizes, thereby connecting the look of the
interval with familiar language related to physical movements.
This connects the look, the feel,
and the sound of the intervals.
The language also avoids many of the difficulties when using
the numerical sizes, for example: the concept of a unison
or prime being a 'first'. Students often
erroneously think that a step would be a first and
a skip - a second. (Recently, the AMEB has produced
the new Music Craft syllabus which also begins with the easy
language of Step and Skip.)
Coding for the koalas on the stairs
- Red Step Up
- Green Step Down
Skip up - Yellow
should colour Dexter the Koala's clothes in the above colours
each time they appear on this page and the following pages
in the book.
15 Gross Motor actions for intervals
If you are able to locate a set of three steps near your studio,
ask the child to climb the steps while calling out, or preferably
singing the intervals. Say 'one' for the
starting position and then walk- sing/say 'step up,
step up.' As you reach the top step, sing 'same'
as the child puts the other foot down.Then turn around and
say 'step down, step down' till you reach
the bottom position. Next turn the student around and walk-
sing/ say 'skip up' , then 'same'
(turn on top stair) and then walk- sing/ say 'skip
down' to take the student back down. (This is demonstrated
on the CPM -DVD)
15 Interval Drill Game
At this point is is wise to play the Interval Drill Game,
as shown on the CPM DVD. Allow the student to place his or
her five fingers of either hand over any a five consecutive
notes (ie: a hand position). You could suggest they begin
on one of the signpost notes (C or F). Beginning on the thumb,
sound the note, then connect smoothly to notes which are steps
up and down, to establish the feeling and the sound of these
intervals.Once these are secure, extend the game to include
skips and lastly sames.
students do not have to concern themselves with reading music
they will be able to play more involved patterns of intervals
than this early stage of reading would allow.This drill therefore
will aid the development of finger dexterity and co-ordination
as well as solidly impressing on the student the concepts
of direction and the intervals. In future lessons, use the
Interval Drill Game to develop co-ordination between
the hands. Ask the student to play identical intervals in
both hands, first in similar motion then in contrary motion.
Use the drill game each time a new interval is introduced.
16 & 17 colour-coding
Use the same colours as used on page 14 for the koalas on
the stairs: Same
- Red; Step Up
- Green; Step Down
- blue; Skip up
- Yellow; Skip Down
17 Picture Songs
The Picture Songs in this book are designed to
give students music which uses more intricate finger patterns
than they can read at this time. This develops their technique
and provides tune material to play until such time as reading
skills are at a level to play more complicated tunes. * Once
the starting note has been sounded, do not repeat it, simply
move on to the next intervals.
Page 20-21 Counting and Colouring
A demonstration of the colour system can be viewed on the
CPM- DVD. More information on
the entire colour system is available on p20 CPM
1A. Students are required to colour in the number of
boxes which match the number of counts each note receives.
A pair of specific colours is used for each type of note value:
a main colour and an alternate colour. If neighbouring notes
of the same type occur, the main colour would be followed
by the alternate colour, to represent a new sound. For instance,
for two half notes, the first two boxes would be coloured
in yellow, while the second two
boxes would be coloured in orange.
Boxes that represent rests are left blank.
21 onwards - Students should highlight the lower number of
the time-signature using blue,
to represent the quarter-note beat note.
22 Colour coding for the signpost C's
The two C's to memorise at this point are Middle C for
in the treble clef and Middle C in the bass clef. Colour coding
helps the memorisation process immensely. Write the C's in
these colours in their memory positions on the staff, at the
beginning of each line of music to be played from page 25
as follows: for the treble clef middle
C use red, representing a low female
voice in the alto range. For the bass
clef middle C use light blue, representing
a high male voice in the tenor range.
23 Colour coding
The bass and treble clefs could also be coloured in blue and
24 Hand Positions
The hand positions introduced in this book are intended
to help the student realise the location of the five consecutive
notes to be played, in the relation to the range of the entire
piano keyboard. This will help them realise whether the sounds
produced are low or high sounding notes. The hand positions
are used as a guide until such time as the location of the
starting notes, via the signpost notes and the fingering is
secure. They do not need to be memorised.
25 The Gestalt approach
A unique feature of this method is the simplicity of
combining several necessary aspects of music reading and performance
into one neat package. By asking the students to say or preferably
sing the direction, interval and counting, you are training
all vital aspects of music -ear, eye, hand and voice and requiring
full concentration on the task at hand. There will be no need
for the student to watch their hands on the keyboard. Have
the student sing the interval, direction and counting while
playing. It is necessary to say 'Off' on the first
beat after the last bar, as this is the point at which the
note must quit. (relate this to the colouring on p22)
learning procedure is as follows:
Look carefully through the music to see whether the notes
move up or down.
to play, by pointing at the notes and saying the intervals,
counting and direction.
2 3 4 , Step Up 2 3 4, Step Up 2 3 4, Step Down 2 3 4,
Step Down 2 3 4 off.
students should then talk/ sing the information as they
play, saying the interval and direction when they see
the asterisk. ( * )
is demonstrated on the CPM-DVD.
28 Colour coding for the next two signpost
The two addditional C's to memorise at this point are
High C for in the treble clef and Low
C in the bass clef. Write the C's in these colours
in their memory positions on the staff, at the beginning of
each line of music to be played.
Highlight colours are
* High C
- pink - representing a high female
voice in the soprano singing range;
* Middle C
- continue to use red, representing
a low female voice in the alto singing range.
* Middle C - continue
to use light blue representing a high
male voice in the tenor range.
C - dark blue
representing a low male voice in the bass
30 Practice procedure for all pieces written for hands together
Make sure students start on the correct signpost notes
with the correct fingers. - After preparing each piece by
a talk/ sing through, continue to sing the information as
you play - Play separate hands before playing hands together.
Page 30 Gross Motor Actions
To help the hands co-ordinate students should use a small
tilt of their head to the right or left
to indicate the directions (up or down) As it is easier for
the fingers to move in contrary motion than similar motion
in the beginning stages, the head tilt helps the process of
combining the movements when playing in similar motion. See
the demonstration on the CPM DVD (43.07)
32 Interval reading and the keyboard note names
The Contemporary Piano Method encourages the
student to learn the keyboard names of the notes, but does
not foster the learning of the note names on the staff, other
than the signpost notes till a later stage. The intention
is that when reading music, the most important feature to
observe is the interval and the names of the notes are a by-product
By reading in this manner:
clefs can be approached in the same way;
fingering for all the notes is not required and
the ear is trained to listen for intervals
the students do not need to watch their hands thereby
leaving their focus on the following flow of notes to
be read and played
the note-name is needed for theory purposes, it can always
be worked out using a map of the keyboard as on this page.
Later on, all that is needed is the names of the notes in
keyboard order (ABCDEFGABCDEFGetc) The note-naming exercises
the Contemporary Theory Workbook series are done
this way. Students learn the method of finding the note names
in all clefs, including C Clef, if desired. When playing in
any clef the note names are regarded as secondary to the interval.
As the method progresses, the next stage is for the student
to learn the scale patterns on the keyboard and simply read
by intervals along the scale pathway for each key. Refer to
CPM 1A -page 34.
Practice procedure for tunes in Contrary Motion using
There are several ways your students can talk/sing the music
For separate hands:
either the interval, direction and the second count :
One 2, St up 2, St up 2, St up 2 and so onSaying
the interval and the second count only. e.g. One 2, St
2, St 2, St 2, and so on
the direction and the second count only. e.g.. One 2 ,
Up 2, Up 2, Up 2, and so on
the interval, combined direction and the second count:
e.g.. One 2, Step out 2,| Step out 2 Step out 2 | OR Step
in 2 Step in 2 etc
only the combined direction and the second count: e.g..
One 2, out 2, out 2 and so on
all pieces on the next few pages, make sure your students
understand the concepts by using:
33 Transposition and Modal Sounds
(For more information on Modes , refer to CPM
Bk3 , and Contemporary Theory
Workbook 2 ) This Picture Song can be transposed
onto other areas of the keyboard by simply starting with a
hand position on any of the other white notes, with the hands
one octave apart. This means they may hear some modal sounds.
instance if the melody is played on the white notes beginning
on A, the sound will be that of the Natural Minor scale or
Aeolian Mode. If the melody is begun on E, the sound will
be that of the Phrygian Mode etc. The written hand positions
in the book which begin on F all give the sound of the Lydian
Mode. More of these positions and tunes in this position occur
in CPM 1A.
36 Shape and Pattern reading
Song of Two Hills
Follow the flow by tracing the music with the fingers
on the page. There are three ways to talk or sing through
1) Say both steps and direction: step up, step up etc .
2) Direction only: One, up, up, up, | up, down, down, down,|
down, up etc
This is useful if the student wishes to play the piece
3) Say counting only: ask the student to play using
counting only if they are already secure reading the intervals
and the direction.
the student can play the intervals correctly they can begin
counting four beats in the bar as is usually done.
38 Finding hand positions
From this piece on students should find the hand-positions
for themselves, working from the signpost note and the finger
number and then placing the fingers accordingly. Sometimes
the starting notes are to be judged as a distance from the
signpost note. This is so that they become used to beginning
on varied starting notes, not just C.
38 Inserting the second count
Whenever a two count note appears in tunes which use
a mixture of note values, the student needs to remember to
say the second count, quite deliberately after saying the
interval. To simplify this, the count '2' can be used, no
matter whether the music is on the second beat of the bar,
or the fourth beat of the bar. See also page 41, for an example
43 Steps and Sames: These two tunes revise steps and
the second piece -
a) Make sure that students are on the lookout for the skip.
b) Emphasise the second count for the half notes.
This refers to the bracketed notes inserted at the beginning
of bar 5 in this piece. Cuing may be used to help the beginning
student become comfortable reading longer pieces which move
to the next line,(system) of music until such time as the
eye movements are swift enough to cope with the larger physical
distance between notes at the end of one line and the beginning
of the next. It is helpful for the teacher to copy the final
notes of bar four as a cue, in front of the notes in the fifth
bar, so that the student can more easily see the interval
sizes as they are reading into the fifth bar. This has been
demonstrated on this page, but teachers or students can add
the cues for themselves if desired from now on.
45 Supplementary material
At this point it is advantageous to give the student
some more tunes to play using right hand only. Several songs
in Junior Trax are ideal for
this level. The first one to use alongside pages 45-47 of
the JP is Warm Kitty - on page 16. It uses the intervals and
timing so far covered in the course.
Long Legged Sailor
'Chop Sticks' is excellent supplementary material
at this point, as it emphasises the sounds of harmonic steps
and skips. Teach it by ear or by graphic notation, or refer
to Hot Trax for the sheet music. Finger the piece
using fingers 2, 3, 4 and 5 of each hand, fanning out from
F and G starting notes.
55 Supplementary material: Junior
Trax - Use the songs on pages 7 and 10 played
with separate hands.
TO LEVEL ONE (Yellow level)
with page 55 in the Junior Primer
Introduce the following practical and theory books gradually
over a period of 2 to 3 weeks, while the remainder of the
Junior Primer is being completed.
Junior Trax -they
should already be playing some of the tunes in this book
Piano Method Book 1A
3) Daily Dexter
Flexers and (including duet parts) for
the younger child.
4) Dexter's Easy Piano
Pieces (DEPP)for the older child who
is progressing quickly, or for the younger child, introduce
DEPP upon completion of Junior Trax.
Piano Method 1A While completing the material in
the Junior Primer from page 55 on, students are advised to
commence Book 1A of the Contemporary
Piano Method, from pp 14 & 15 where separate
handed lines of music using mixtures of all the intervals
are presented. This helps to consolidate and speed up the
reading of all the intervals. If a small amount of reading
is set each lesson from pages 14 to 19 in Book 1A, concurrently
with the final pages of the Junior Primer, the student
will be ready to play the first piece with varying intervals
in the method on page 21 as soon as the Junior Primer is completed.
will then also be able to play the two-handed pieces on page
5 of Junior Trax.
Daily Dexter Flexers Begin
playing a few exercises from Group One concurrently with the
end of the Junior Primer. Set more, once the Junior Primer
Easy Piano Pieces Begin this book once pages
5 to 11 in Junior Trax have been completed. Commence with
pages 7 and 8, plus Lightly Row (p9)
and Ear-Training materials
Contemporary Theory Primer-
continue one to two pages per week for home work
Contemporary Theory Workbook 1
- begin this once page 21 of the CTP has been completed and
then continue to work both books in tandem.
Contemporary Aural Course, Set One
- move on to this set once the Preparatory Level
58-60. Varying intervals and timings between the hands
The tunes on these three pages present the task of playing
varying intervals and timings between
the hands. 'What's the Matterhorn?' (Swiss Mountain
Climbing song), presents a group of repeated notes against
Traffic Lights and Johnny Works with One Hammer,
require the student to sustain longer notes in one hand while
playing shorter values with the other. Continuing practice
in these new skills is presented in the first pages of Junior
Trax (p5, 6 & 7).
ON JUNIOR TRAX
Trax - provides a gently graded and tuneful
set of pieces which serve to consolidate and expand the skills
learned in the Junior Primer.
Refer to page 4 of JT for a chart of the skills covered in
the book. The included duet parts foster ensemble skills and
rhythm training for the early level pianist. For best results
use this book in tandem with the CPM Book 1. Go to the Junior
Trax page via the Jump list on this site, for information
on the tunes arranged for Junior Trax.