Bastien Piano Lessons, Primer Level
We've used Bastien Piano Curriculum Primer-4 and Piano Literature vols. 1-3 from 2003-Present.
This is a great piano curriculum! I'm still being homeschooled (3 more years of high school!), but I've been teaching piano for almost 4 years now. I was facing a dilemma with one of my students: I was looking for something interactive, fun, would let him go at his own pace, and includes constant review. This was it! After only a month and a half of lessons (once-a-week), he is almost ready to begin staff reading!
Likes: Their methods WORK. I love the fact that they don't have lots of "fluff" (a very annoying aspect I see in many piano curriculums) or make piano seem too "out there" (i.e., pretending that when you play on high keys, you're making a rainbow, etc.). It's straight forward, and the methods are common sense, not the newest educational philosophy.
Many of the pieces in the primer level are fairly short (only about one page long) with large notes, making it easier for younger children to see them. I'm also pleased that they only introduce one concept at a time, which doesn't overwhelm or confuse the student. The lessons are thorough, but short, and though I use all four books (Lessons, Theory, Technic, and Performance) with a hyper 5 year old, we can quickly get through all of them - including reviews and games - in less than 30 minutes!
Dislikes: The pictures are very distracting. The majority of them look "vintage-y" or "80s-ish", with big, over exaggerated features and bright colors. Since I'm teaching a younger child with this, he's constantly trying to look at the picture and play at the same time - which does not work, LOL. Also, I would like it if they had the assignments from theory, technique, and performance written on the corresponding pages, and not in the front. It's such a pain to flip back and forth, looking for the right assignment. These are only minor quibbles, though.
All in all, this is one of the best music curricula available, and I would highly recommend it!