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Alfred's Group Piano for Adults, Book 1, second edition, and Alfred's Group Piano for Adults: Teacher Handbook, Book 1.

Alfred's Group Piano for Adults, Book 1, second edition, and Alfred's Group Piano for Adults: Teacher Handbook, Book 1, second edition, by E. L. Lancaster and Kenon D. Renfrow. Alfred Publishing Company, Inc. (16320 Roscoe Blvd., Ste. 100, P.O. Box 10003, Van Nuys, CA 91410), 2004. 360 pp. $44.95 (teacher edition: 72 pp. $9.95).

The second edition of Alfred's Group Piano for Adults, maintains the clear organization and ease of use that characterized this text since its inception, while expanding sight reading and harmonization, adding playing by ear and introducing scales and arpeggios by similar fingering groups.

Teachers of the second edition will immediately observe that thirty units have been reduced to twenty-six, allowing more time for review and testing. Two chapters on modes are consolidated into one, and the assignment pages for student notes are frequently shortened.

With a reduction in chapters, one immediately asks, "Have my favorite items been deleted?" To allay those fears, only eight pages reduce the text. There still are forty-six solo repertoire works, with the one-third ratio of educational composers or arrangements (sixteen to be exact) maintained. Teachers may note that five pieces by Kabalevsky are removed, but will welcome the lesser-known works of Beyer, Schytte and Couperin in reading and solo sections. Before Playing and While Playing comments now precede all solo repertoire, providing valuable practice and analysis guidelines and interpretive suggestions.

Two significant changes are the expansion and simplification of sight-reading examples along with additional harmonization exercises, with an emphasis on more commonly used keys. Additionally, playing by ear sections have been added throughout the text.

The introduction of scales has improved, now being spread between several chapters and introduced within fingering groups. With so many important changes, new accompaniment disks have been created to again correlate to all the technical and musical examples in the text. The authors are to be congratulated for carefully consolidating portions of the text to allow for the expansion of sight reading, harmonization, scales and playing by ear, while maintaining an even balance of theory, technique, repertoire, improvisation and ensemble activities that have made this text so popular.

Teacher's Handbook: There are two significant additions to the second edition Teacher Handbook:

The how-to section, "Planning Group Lessons for College Non-Keyboard Majors," is a gold mine of succinct "tried-and-true" points that should be required reading for all piano pedagogy students, and will provide helpful reminders to seasoned classroom teachers.

Four out of the six sample tests include additional sight-reading and harmonization examples, now with three samples for each test. Simply including additional test items makes the handbook worth buying. Reviewed by Barbara Fast, NCTM, Norman, Oklahoma.
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Author:Fast, Barbara
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 2005
Words:442
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