I have found that the use of the word “position” in beginning piano lessons is not helpful in the long-run. Many young students quickly become dependent on knowing what position they start on that they never really learn how to read lines and spaces. I find myself telling the little ones that there are 88 keys and since they only have ten fingers they are going to have move their hands away from C position, Middle C position, and G position at some point. Then they have a bit of “scary” fun lifting their hands out of “position” and plopping them down randomly all over the keyboard.
Kudos to jazz pianist, Dror Perl of SheerPiano who has put together a series of “Color” piano books which snap students out of their comfort zone from the first book –Blue, Contemporary Music with a Harmonic Twist. I appreciate the fact that from the opening pages, the left hand starts on a note other than C, F or G. For example, The man in the blue house, (shown above) starts on G#. The 5th finger of the left hand moves chromatically up to A and then down to Eb and the harmonies are labeled.
As the student progresses through to Red, Jazz, Blues and Funk the rhythms, phrasing and articulations, and harmonies become more complex – perfect for students of all ages who want to dip into jazz and a more improvisatory style.The pieces sound complicated but are still fairly easy to read and memorize.
And who can’t help but love the colors – inside and out!