What is the Brain-Based Piano Method?

The Brain-Based Piano Method is a mindful and comprehensive learning system that incorporates the latest scientific understanding on how we learn. It leads children to learn music the same way they learn their first language: first by listening, then by singing, then by playing.

Students who learn music and piano with the Brain-Based Piano Method build an understanding of the basic concepts of music from the very beginning: rhythm, tonality, form and harmony. They learn how to apply these concepts to different styles of music and to create their own compositions.

Using the Brain-Based Piano Method, students adopt a flexible attitude towards learning, create the habit of making connections, such as the ones between music and math, and apply the practice habits and memorization techniques from their piano study to other areas of their lives.

The method is being used at different schools and private studios in the United States and abroad. Teachers interested in learning more about this system may contact us for upcoming Teacher Training Workshops.

The system includes: Books, Video Turtorials, Teaching Materials, Reward System, Audio tracks.

What is Brain-Based Learning?

The Brain-Based Piano Method is build with the principles of brain-based learning in mind.

According to Eric Jensen (Brain-Based Learning: The New Paradigm of Teaching, p. 4), brain-based learning is ‘learning in accordance with the way the brain is naturally designed to learn.

It is a multidisciplinary approach that is built on the fundamental question, “What is good for the brain?” It crosses and draws from multiple disciplines, such as chemistry, neurology, psychology, sociology, genetics, biology and computational neurobiology.

It is a way of thinking about learning… Although a brain-based approach doesn’t provide a recipe for you to follow, it does encourage you to consider the nature of the brain in your decision making. By using what we know about the brain, we can make better decisions: we can reach more learners, more often, with less misses. Quite simply, it is learning with the brain in mind”.

Overview

The Brain-Based Piano Method was created with today’s children parents and teachers in mind.

Combining principles espoused by the leading music educators of the 20th century, Dalcroze, Orff, Kodály and Suzuki with insights passed on to us by the old masters of the 18th century (J. S. Bach, Leopold Mozart, the Neapolitan School of Partimento) and new insights from cognitive science, the Brain-Based Piano Method offers a fresh approach to music education adapted to the opportunities and challenges of our times.

Starting from children’s songs as vehicles for learning and experimentation, we have built a learning system for the 21st Century with the needs of today’s children, parents and teachers in mind. The system combines individual or small group lessons, an effective child-parent-teacher interaction and online videos into one successful learning experience.

Our motto is “Play, Understand, Create”.

Play: In a typical class, our students discover basic musical skills such as rhythm, musical ear,  memory, musical notation through play, discovery and experimentation.

Understand: Children are introduced to fundamental elements of music in terms they comprehend, and help them build an understanding of music from the very beginning.

Create: Once students understand how music works, they start creating their own music.

Ages: Our program starts at the Immersion Level is addressed to children as young as 18 months old. Children are absorbing new knowledge at an incredibly fast pace. This method provides their growing minds with plenty of material for learning and experimentation.

Comprehensive: All aspects of musicianship are covered: rhythmic and melodic development, ear training and playing by ear, piano technique, reading and writing, composition and improvisation.

A Natural Learning Process: Following the natural process by which children learn their mother tongue (listen, imitate, speak, read and write), in the same way they learn music, first by listening, then by clapping, singing, then by playing on the piano. Reading and writing follows.

The Do-Re-Mi System: Children are introduced to notes through the Do-Re-Mi system of note names (the solfeggio system) for its many advantages: it allows students to make a direct connection between the sounds they hear, sing and the notes they play and provides a natural language for singing and ear training.

The A-B-C System: Starting with the Preparatory level, students also learn the English note naming system. Just like many of our students are bilingual, they are also fluent in the two note naming systems.

Reading and Writing Notes: We subscribe to the notion that experience comes before symbols. At the Initiation level, students sing, walk, clap and tap before worrying about note symbols. Both rhythms and notes are introduced first through manipulatives (the Rhythm Game, the Song Puzzle Game, and the Staff Game). Besides teaching musical notation, the games are also used to stimulate the students’ creativity.

Creativity: We paid particular attention to developing the children’s creativity. Students are encouraged to come up with their own rhythms, melodies, to modify and combine the songs they learn in different ways and to create their own arrangements.

Integration with Math and other Disciplines: Whenever the opportunity presents itself, we make the connection with knowledge that students have (or are about to acquire) from other disciplines. Most often, we connect the new musical concepts with mathematics (numbers and number operations, fractions, functions, graphs, etc.) Through their music study, students benefit from seeing the topic from an additional perspective

Organization: The method is organized on levels: Initiation, Preparatory, Level 1  and up. Each levels builds on the knowledge acquired in the previous. The knowledge is integrated in multiple ways. At each level, the Book presents the main material, and the Workbook contains more examples, reading and writing homework, and opportunities for experimentation.

Assessment: Systematic assessment is built into the learning process at every stage. The skills mastered are rewarded with a special badge or stamp.

Rewards: Our reward system celebrates every accomplishment. Children receive a reward for every new skill they learn and for every new song they can play right.

Clear Map: All activities that are rewarded provide a clear map. Children and parents clearly know what to do and what is expected from them to achieve the objectives of each learning stage.

Video Tutorials: We created video tutorials for most songs and activities to allow our students to review the songs, pieces and activities at home at their own pace. Parents and children alike can join in the fun and learning.

The Brain-Based Piano Method incorporates:

Mindfulness: each class starts with a few minutes reserved for quieting the mind, breathing exercises, focus, create body awareness and apply it to piano technique.

Movement: is used to create a passive-active rhythm of the class (necessary especially for young children), and to allow students to process rhythm in a physical way.

Play: most of the information in the Initiation and Preparatory level is introduced in the form of Games and Activities which create for the children the emotional state of play. In this state, children feel free to take chances, make mistakes and be creative.

Manipulatives: musical symbols, rhythm and staff notation are all introduced with the help of manipulatives. Students start by guessing (Songs Puzzle Game) and progress to reading rhythms (The Rhythm Game) and notes (The Staff Game), and creating simple rhythms and melodies.

Cooperation: The games and activities are used in a way that prompts children to cooperate. At the Initiation and Preparatory levels, playing the piano at 4 hands is a constant part of the process.

Experimentation: With every activity and song or piece learned, students are encouraged to experiment in various ways. They learn how to change the words of a song, the mode (from major to minor), the form, etc.

Creativity: Students are frequently encouraged to come up with new ideas (rhythm, lyrics, melodies, etc.) and to combine them in various ways.

Connections: Every activity connects with many others, and students make a habit of making connections (within music and with other disciplines)

Effective Reward System: Students are rewarded for acquiring a skill or learning to play a song, or completing a task like writing notes with a happy face stamp or a sticker. The stickers are specific to the skill, song or task.

Systematic Assessment: The knowledge is assessed systematically for every activity, with each chapter, and at the end of each level. Assessment is used as a learning tool.

Social Validation: During Student Presentations, children have the opportunity to compete in a friendly atmosphere with their peers, demonstrate their musical skills and play the prepared pieces and own compositions.