Ebony Music publications
When we started creating our piano course, we identified from all our teaching experience what our priorities were.
Firstly, we wanted a course which would give even the youngest children to make music at the piano. When children first try to play the piano, they are full of enthusiasm and curiosity about the sounds they can make over the full range of the piano keyboard. It can be quite disappointing when formal piano lessons begin if they are limited to playing on a few keys in the middle register of the piano. Their initial exploratory attitude may disappear and never be recaptured.
The first books in the Ebony Music Piano Course give children lots of fun ways of playing music all over the keyboard, whilst allowing them to develop their technical skills and musical perception unhampered by having to read what they play. At the same time, we don’t ignore the importance of learning to read music notation. Some of the early pieces are learned by rote while others are written for five fingers in each hand, centred around middle C forming a gentle introduction to playing music from the printed score.
Stories and pictures are children’s way of making sense of the world and of communicating their responses to what they find. I wanted to show children that music also can enhance their view of life and give them a way to express that view. Even the simplest pieces can paint pictures and tell stories. Long before children have the maturity to understand abstract ideas, they can interpret and respond to the world through music. In the Ebony Music Course, the early books are filled with pieces which have titles, pictures and words full of character and humour, and scenes familiar and appealing to young children.
Secondly, we wanted a course that introduced our pupils to a wide range of musical styles. In the Ebony Music Piano Course, classical pieces appear as soon as the pupil is able to tackle them, but the course contains a wealth of other styles of music to tickle the palate of the full range of tastes of our pupils. We value the cultural place of music and have included some traditional songs to acknowledge this but each books has some tunes in contemporary styles too. Many of he classical pieces included will be familiar but there are some more unusual gems too. All have been chosen as pieces which have worked well in our experience. They are musically attractive and pianistically satisfying.
Thirdly, we wanted a course that took our pupils all the way from their first piano lesson to the stage of playing advanced piano repertoire. Too often, teachers and pupils are bamboozled by the enormity of the task of choosing appropriate music at each level. Often pupils have a number of books to work from but are only playing a handful of pieces in each. Our pupils work towards the goal of getting through all the pieces in all 24 volumes of our course. They know that if they achieve that goal, they will be able to tackle advanced piano repertoire of Grade 8 standard and beyond. Of course they might play other pieces of their choosing, both classical and contemporary) while they are working through the course, but the course provides the framework for their studies.