A Method for Everyone..

Australia/New Zealand Tour Review

In 2011, Dr. Helen Marlais toured Australia and New Zealand giving workshops on her exceptional new piano method, Succeeding at the Piano®. Hundreds of teachers attended and all were captivated and inspired by Helen’s engaging presentation on how to teach the method, different practice strategies Helen uses in her own teaching, useful tips and tricks to motivate students and much more. For many teachers, this was their first exposure to Succeeding at the Piano®, and their tremendously positive response indicates that it won’t be long before Succeeding at the Piano® is a piano method of choice for Australian and New Zealand piano teachers. Look out for Helen’s next visit in late 2012/13!

SATP Helen Marlais

What is Helen up to at the moment?

Helen enjoyed meeting wonderful teachers across Australia and New Zealand, and is happy to stay in touch with those of you who have emailed her since the tour! She is busy finishing Grade 2B of Succeeding at the Piano® and it will soon be printed for all to enjoy! Helen is currently presenting pedagogical workshops throughout the USA, which will include how to teach SATP. In August she will go on a multi-city method workshop tour across the United States and in Canada.

5 things you didn’t know about Helen

  • Helen was born in Gorizia, Italy, and loves making fantastic Italian meals! Every September she makes homemade Italian tomato sauce from organic tomatoes so that there is great sauce to eat throughout the winter!
  • Helen married her husband and soul mate, clarinettist Arthur Campbell in 1998. They do not have children and Helen feels this may fuel her commitment to young people’s education.
  • One of Helen’s hobbies is gardening and she employs the neighbourhood children to water her garden when she is on tour!
  • Once when Helen and her husband were on concert tour in Turkey, a man in the Grand Bazaar offered to trade a herd of his camels for Helen! Fortunately Arthur said No!
  • In her studio, she has monthly performance classes. In late October the students were playing piano in their Halloween costumes!


Overview of Succeeding at the Piano®

Succeeding at the Piano® is a comprehensive method that will establish a student’s musical foundation and love of piano playing. Note reading, intervallic reading, rhythm, technique, theory, and musicianship are consistently reinforced throughout.

  • Note reading is learned through a combination of Middle C, intervallic, and multi-key approaches.
  • Rhythm is internalized through clapping, tapping, counting aloud, and speaking the lyrics.
  • Technique is integrated right into the Lesson Book.
  • Motivational music by multiple composers.
  • “Before playing” and “After playing” points develop musicianship, practice habits, and listening skills.
  • The CD’s are innovative and educational–students even get the opportunity to play with a string quartet accompaniment.

[infobox maintitle=”Succeeding at the Piano®” subtitle=”Points of difference to other piano methods:” bg=”purple” color=”black” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]

  1. The new reading approach combines conventional note reading with intervallic reading.
  2. Rhythm is internalised through clapping, tapping, counting aloud, and speaking the lyrics.
  3. Students are introduced to the elements of musicality as early as the Preparatory level.
  4. Technique is integrated right into the Lesson Book.
  5. Reading, rhythm, technique, theory, ear training, playing by ear, music history, composition and engaging music are integrated throughout the curriculum.
  6. Students learn by ‘Discovery Learning’ which encourages active engagement and promotes motivation.
  7. The CD has both practice and performance tracks with Helen offering reminders and reinforcement after each piece.
  8. The beautiful and engaging illustrations all have a part to play in the learning process.

What makes Succeeding at the Piano® so different and so good…

There are a number of features that distinguish Succeeding at the Piano®:
a) The new reading approach combines conventional note reading with intervallic reading.
b) Correct and specific information for healthy technique is included in the Lesson books.
c) Students are introduced to the elements of musicality as early as the Preparatory level.

As a result, teachers are reporting improved listening skills, stronger rhythm, and more effective practice. With six leading pedagogical composers and historical pieces, students are engaged in a variety of musical styles including the great classics. Succeeding at the Piano® recognises that learning is non-linear and creates a pacing system that encourages natural learning cycles. SATP’s natural learning cycles move students through units that fluctuate in difficulty. Athletes have long known that this is a more effective way to train, and we see that students are happier and psychologically healthier when they learn this way.

Familiarity training is another important pedagogical approach used in Succeeding at the Piano®. This pedagogical technique is certainly “familiar” to teachers who have attended one of Helen’s workshops over the years. Its application in SATP further helps to ensure healthy, motivated, successful students. With students playing musically, learning excellent technique, and developing strong reading skills they progress quickly and confidently. Helen’s intent was to produce a method that would serve students and teachers and encourage a love for piano playing that would last. Typical methods have large dropout rates after the beginning levels. FJH has reported very high retention rates between the levels of SATP, showing that the students are succeeding and teachers
and students are happy and successful!

The correlating Theory and Activity Book makes theory fun! Writing and Playing activities reinforce the concepts learned in the Lesson and Technique Book, and Rhythm activities teach students to internalize rhythm. In Time to Compose, students creatively apply concepts in their own original compositions. The book is also full of Ear Training activities! The Teachers Guide is a valuable supplemental resource written for teachers and parents.

More information on the complete series is available here

Would you like a teacher sample? Email australianpiano@halleonard.com.au and ask for your copy

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