Piano Course for Christians

Reviewed by Marcia Washburn

As an experienced piano teacher with a master's degree in music, I confess to some skepticism about most teach-yourself-to-play-the-piano courses. As I examined this resource I found, however, that the author makes no wild claims about learning to play proficiently in “ten easy lessons.” Using a methodical approach, she teaches students to read and play music in incremental steps. Using the traditional Middle C approach to music reading, Woods also offers additional resources for those who want to play by ear or do gospel-style playing.

Her friendly way of explaining basic musical concepts makes this a series that would be useable while studying with a trained piano teacher or under the supervision of a non-pianist parent. She employs familiar songs and hymns as the basic repertoire for the series. The cassette tapes feature the author explaining the various concepts and demonstrating the skills so the student knows how the music should sound.

The levels of the books are designed to correlate with levels in standard piano education series, so a student who has completed Level 3 in another series would be ready to begin Level 4 in this series, for example. In the early levels, it is possible to use either a piano or an electronic keyboard.

The piano is considered the best instrument to use in starting a child's music education. It provides experience in melody and harmony, treble and bass clefs, and hand-eye coordination. It provides a foundation for all the other instruments. Research exploring the link between music and intelligence reports that music training—specifically piano instruction—is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science. These children scored 34% higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability used in math, chess, science and engineering. (MTNA Newsletter, Spring/Summer 1997)

Although there is no substitute for a piano specialist teaching your child the instrument, this course offers an inexpensive alternative for homeschooling families who cannot afford or do not have access to a piano teacher. Since the materials are non-consumable, all of the children in the family can use the same books. And the teaching parent has the opportunity to learn along with the children. Additionally, the Christian content is a refreshing alternative for those wishing to avoid the pop-rock pieces increasingly found in many other series. Madonna Woods' Piano Course for Christians has a lot to offer homeschooling families who want to learn to play a keyboard instrument.

Information and availability subject to change without notice.