Level One : Student Guide

Level One: Student Guide

At the end of the school year I prepare an action guide and notes page for my students. We go over all the information we've learned together and apply it to these 6 sections. It usually takes an eager child with strong discipline of piano practice to complete 1 level per year.  Sometimes a self motivated pianist will accomplish several levels within the year. I think that's awesome! Keep in mind that everyone learns at a different rate and it really is okay!!

I wanted to share some of the different levels with you each week. Take a look at the guide and see where you are in your studies and set some goals for yourself for the following year. Must give credit to KMTA (Kansas Music teachers Association) for this great teaching template I've modified a bit. In addition, I've included some of my own articles.

Level One

1. Performance: Play songs.
    Memorized Solo and Contrasting Solo in Style

Ten Tips for Memorizing Music

2. Music Understanding and Vocabulary: Fill in blanks.
    My piece is ___.  Tempo ___.  Dynamic ___. Mood ___.
    Define 5 music terms / symbols from one or two songs. Ex: ____ means ____.

Does Loud Also Mean Fast?

3. Functional Skills:
    A. Rhythm / Pulse Development
         Count aloud a rhythm with quarter, half and whole notes (metronome at 72).
    B. Sight-Playing:
         Play a 4-8 measure piece in Middle C position, counting encouraged.
        --hands separate
        --no accidentals
        --quarter, half & whole notes
        --steps & skips only
    C. Keyboard Facility
        Prepare 5 pentascales, tetrachord or one octave scales: major, minor, white or black keys,
        hands separate or together. Keys: __  __  __ __ __. Play a matching shell or triad.

Rhythm in Music

4.  Applied Theory: Play
     a. Steps and skips on the white keys, up and down.
     b. Whole and half step from a white key, up and down.

5. Written Theory: Write answers about
    a. Number of beats for quarter notes and rests, half and whole notes.
    b. Treble and bass clefs, forte and piano symbols.
    c. Direction of notes on the staff: up, down, or repeating.
    d. Steps and skips up and down on the staff and keyboard.
    e. Whole and half steps on the keyboard.
    f. Letter names of notes on a keyboard, on the staff from the first line bass G to fifth line treble F.

David Carr Glover Piano Library / Piano Theory / Level 1

Alfred's Theory Book: Level 1B

Alfred's Basic Piano Library: Theory Book Level 1B

  6. Listening: Answer questions verbally
   a. High, low and middle sounds.
   b. Forte and piano sounds.
   c. Direction of 5 notes (up, down, or repeating).
   d. Pulse of a song (clapping along).
   e. Which one of two descriptions matches a piece played for you.


It's thrilling to be winding down the school year!

*affiliate links in post*

 All the best,

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King

As We Worship You: Don Moen

Worship Team

This song is performed by a favorite of mine, Don Moen. It appears on the album, I Will Sing (2000) You can download it for free, here. Don Moen is an American singer-songwriter of Christian music. For more information, visit wikipedia. I received this song request from one of my readers, TY!

Don Moen: As We Worship You

As We Worship You

VERSE 1: E As we worship You B Let all the world come and see C#m How the mercy we've received from You A Can set them free E As we worship You A Let all this joy that fills our hearts C#m Bring a hunger and a hope to those A Who've strayed so far CHORUS: F#m As we bow in adoration E And stand in reverent awe A Show Your majesty and glory E B Let Your anointing fall F#m As we declare Your name Lord Jesus E As the only name who saves A May the pow'r of Your salvation C#m B C#m B Fill each heart we pray VERSE 2: As we worship You Let all the nations hear our song The song of Jesus and His blood That proved His love for all As we worship You May all the lost and broken come May they hear Your still small voice Call out their names each one TAG: E A As we worship You (x4) ©1998, 2000 We Mobile Music / Integrity's Praise! Music Words and Music by Tommy Walker
Integrity Praise Music

Watch the Video on YouTube

I've shared many Don Moen Songs with you before and you can find them by clicking on the following links. Do you have a favorite?

God Will Make A Way

Jason White

You may be interested in GospelKeys Ministry Musician1 featuring Jason White If you know how to play hymns but can't quite "flip" them to be more contemporary and flavorful (without sacrificing the original melody and nature of the song)... Jason is a pro at this and once you learn his techniques, you'll have both the young and mature listeners nodding their heads.

photo credit: convention2011_0132 via photopin (license)


"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King

When My Heart Is Overwhelmed

God My Rock: Brenton Brown

Brenton Brown and Paul Baloche wrote When My Heart Is Overwhelmed (God, My Rock) in 2012. Brenton Brown, born in South Africa, is a Christian songwriter and worship leader. For more information, visit his website. Not familiar with him? Listen to more of his songs, here.

 Verse 1:

When my heart is overwhelmed
I will look to You alone,

               Bm                                            G
God, my Rock, God, my Rock, God, my Rock.

You are faithful through it all,
You will stand when others fall,

               Bm                                            G
God, my Rock, God, my Rock, God, my Rock.


In the blessing, in the pain,

                                  G                Em7
Through it all You've never failed me.


You are the strength of my heart,
You are the strength of my heart,
I can rely on You,

              G            [1. to Verse 2]               
I can rely on You.
You are the joy of my life,
You are my song in the night.
There is no-one as true;
Jesus, I trust in You.

[1.] | D | D | A | A | Bm | Bm | G | G | [Repeat Chorus]
[2.] | D | D | A | A | Bm | Bm | G | G | [to Mid section]
[3.] D ||

Mid section:

Jesus, we trust in You,
Jesus, we trust in You,
Jesus, we trust in You,
                   G                         [to Chorus]

Jesus, we trust in You, God.

 Verse 2:
When I've struggled to believe
You have not let go of me,
              Bm                                             G
God, my Rock, God, my Rock, God, my Rock.
Carried through the darkest storms,
You have held me in Your arms,
               Bm                                            G
God, my Rock, God, my Rock, God, my Rock.
[to Bridge]

You may be interested in Guitar 301 from Hear and Play. Hear & Play Advanced Guitar 301 - "Licks, Tricks, and Solos" is 2-hours long and will take you by the hand and show you over 20 licks, chords, patterns, solos, and advanced techniques you can put to work for your playing today. The concept is simple. 4 genres. Funk. Gospel. Rhythm & Blues. Jazz. 5 licks per genre for a total of 20 licks. All broken down step by step with diagrams, illustrations, and tons of repeating.


"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King

Happy Endings: Adding The Right Finish

Happy Endings: Adding the Right Finish To Your Arrangements

Awhile back I wrote a post on Endings To Songs. You know, like the 'classic ending' or perhaps a very 'mellow' ending. Today I wanted to share with you an article called, Happy Endings by Michael Esterowitz. He is the author of How to Play from a Fake Book

How To Play From A Fake Book

Happy Endings

Adding The Right Finish To Your Arrangements

There are many other good deceptive cadence chords besides those we looked at last time which lie a semi-tone away from the tonic. These also may be used in combinations or by themselves. A major chord built a full tone below the I (the bVII chord in a major key) is often used, sometimes "walking up" chromatically to the I, or skipping up to the II before the final chord resolves.

bVII (Bb6) = GbF/DG
VII   (B6)   = BF#/D#G#
I        (C6)  = CG/EA


bVII (Bb maj7) = BbF/DFA
bII    (Db7)      = DbAb/BFAb
I        (C maj7) = CG/BEG 


bVII (Bb maj7) = BbF/DFA
bII   (Db maj7)  = DbAb/CFAb
I      (C maj7)   = CG/BEG

Also possible is the bVI, a major chord built a major third below the I. This deceptive cadence is especially effective with a sustained note at the end when that note is a common tone for both the bVI and the I chord. (For instance, the note C held for the final note of a song in C is part of both the deceptive Ab major chord and the final C major chord.) The bVI can have a subtle effect when combined with other passing chords, but when used along with the bVII, also creates a big climatic ending (as shown below).

Ab = ABEBAb/CEbAbC (bVI)
Bb (add9) = BbFBb/DFBbC (bVII)
C = CC/EGC (I)

There are several longer and more sophisticated chord progressions that work equally well as deceptive endings or as introductions. We can't go into all of them, but one frequently used progression starts on a half-diminished chord built an augmented fourth (diminished 5th) above the I chord and then descends chromatically. Here is an example of this progression in Bb; work it out in other keys as well. In the pattern, the chromatic bass line is the key element, while the specific chord type (major, minor, diminished, sixth, seventh, or ninth) can often be altered without much difference in effect.

Cm7 = CGBb/EbGBbD
F7b9 = FA/EbGbAD
E dim = EGBbD/GBb
Ebm6 = EbGbBbC/GbBb
Bbmaj7/D = DFABb/FBb
C#aug = C#EGBb/EBb
Cm7 = CEbGBb/EbBb
Cbmaj7 = CbEbGbBb/EbBb
Bbmaj7 = BbDFA/DBb

So, the ability to use a Fake Book successfully is the idea of improvising the harmony based on the chords and playing the melody line along with the left hand chords. Do you know your chords? Here's a great audio resource to listen to, Chords 101 & 102

Happy Mother's Day to all the ladies!


"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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