Piano Books for Older Beginners  When a Method Book Just Won't Do the Trick Have you ever had a beginning student that was too old for Method Books, but wasn't ready to jump into repertoire books? Beginning Piano RepertoireI use this books with transfer students and with adults who are returning to lessons. Beginning Christmas SongsWe made this book for the older piano student who could play simple Christmas music, with beautiful accompaniments, but wanted it in a more sophisticated format.
Beginning Piano TheoryThe same simple approach as the Fundamentals of Piano Theory by Keith Snell, in a slightly different format and pacing. Accelerated Theory Book 2 is divided into fifteen units, correlating with the fifteen units of Lesson Book 2. Divide your purchase into 24 equal payments and receive 24 months of interest free financing. First, we follow Lucy the dog through town, all the way to the girl, Eleanor Wische’s house.
As for how juggling made its way into the book, it definitely has nothing to do with my ability to juggle, because I can’t juggle at all.
I probably had the idea of a vaudeville environment first, because I thought it would be visually interesting, and because of all the fun acts I could potentially come up with. And I naturally have a lot of empathy for anyone trying to make a career in the arts, and felt very comfortable writing about that. I thought it would be fun to watch some juggling in the spirit of Cecil’s Lucy and then, perhaps to try some ourselves.
Francis Brunn was a regular on the Ed Sullivan show and his performance incorporates dazzling gymnastics and dance and other feats of marvel and precision. Francis Brunn’s sister Lottie was also a wonderful juggler (as showcased in this dreamy video)!
Anthony Gatto, retired, is one of the world’s best jugglers and performed in Cirque du Soleil. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer,  Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes (2015). Each spread is an illustration accompanied by a first person poem telling Fannie’s story from her own (imagined combined with quoted) point of view.
This is a book for the older set of picture book readers (and for everyone) to learn about this important story of civil rights, in the details not just the big moments. To get a glimpse into that struggle and to see how any progress ever made is made by people like Fannie Lou. You can read Hamer’s testimony about being arrested and beaten when trying to register to vote in Mississippi here. And Candlewick has a brief video about the book, including an appearance from its author here.
The whole book so beautifully captures the pre-teen and early teenage years, moreso perhaps because of the absence of Dasha’s regular caregiver. But it all adds up to something wonderful to read and behold. Something true about childhood and change and resiliency.
The book begins and ends in two entirely different places, but with the same girl, with the same name, with the same pink cheeks. This Picture Book Life: Can you tell us about how you’d classify this book in terms of memoir or fiction or combination of both? DT: The book started out as a graduate thesis project while I was at the School of Visual Arts.
Sheila Barry, the wonderful Groundwood publisher, found my work online about a year after I graduated and thought it might be the right fit for them – obviously I was thrilled – I had felt (hoped?) like I was making it for Groundwood all along.
I really wanted every illustration to be emotionally meaningful, but also to be coherent and to move the story along – so I spent a lot of time thinking about individual compositions, but also about the flow of the book as a whole. DT: I draw with a mechanical pencil and use sumi ink washes on Arches Hot Press watercolor paper. Some of my illustration influences are: Anne Herbauts, Beatrice Allemagna, Laura Carlin, Marc Simont, The Provensens, Zach O’Hora, Isabelle Arsenault, Hadley Hooper, David Roberts, Tomi Ungerer, Carson Ellis – I can keep going for a long time…but then there are also fine artists and novels that I read and movies and everything around me all the time. TPBL: How much American popular culture was part of your growing up in Moscow and what was your relationship to it? My friends and I were actually pretty snobby about American pop culture when we were growing up – and I wasn’t super excited to move to the States – but I don’t even know what we were basing our opinions on – it’s not like we had a lot of exposure to it – we did read a lot of classics (Dickens and whatnot) and there was a sort of cult of England when I was growing up – so maybe America seemed in opposition of that somehow? But then there were American movies – which we LOVED – they screened a lot of old movies in movie theaters and we went frequently. They did broadcast soap operas and I got really into Santa Barbara as a child – when I moved to the States I was SO EXCITED to find it on TV – except of course the episodes they were showing in Russia were from much earlier seasons and none of my favorite characters were even on anymore.

DT: After my mom and I came to Urbana – we ended up staying for nine years – I went to high school and college there and she got her PhD. The adjustment of moving to America is something I am toying with as a subject – I feel like it’s such rich material and then also MIDDLE SCHOOL! DT: You know it’s hard for me to say – because this was my actual experience I can only speak to how it affected me – I think I grew up a little faster – but who knows what would have happened had my mom NOT gone to America, it might have all been the same, or entirely different. TPBL: Finally, your opening is this really interesting technique of almost a prologue, then a visual introduction to the setting and main character.
DT: I wanted something that highlighted the relationship between the mother and the daughter immediately. Swan: the Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Julie Morstad (2015).
I love the way Julie Morstad uses white and white space throughout the book (all that snow!), as though foreshadowing this moment when Anna becomes that magical white swan.
Born to a poor washerwoman and with the wrong feet for ballet, Anna Pavlova became a star against the odds.
And oh that ending, when Anna is transformed into the dying swan of her famous performance. Now, as an adult, I’m drawn to the idea that Pavlova really was a missionary for dance. So I reached out to an editor I’d been following online, who seemed to feel like I did about such matters. Part of Jenni Desmond‘s originality is how the story appears in the story of the picture book.
The boy with the red crown is excited about this book he’s reading, excited about blue whales, excited about animals and habitats.
Together with the boy, we learn that baby calves are born 20 feet long and drink nearly 50 gallons of their mother’s milk every day. Jenni Desmond was kind enough to answer a couple of questions about her process of making the book! JD: I wanted the reader to be aware of the fictional element of the story versus the factual. JD: I think sometimes non-fiction can feel quite dense and difficult, so I hope that by including the boy, the reader can have a little bit of respite to digest the information while they watch the boy having fun, hopefully even seeing themselves in the boy. Written for ages 5 and 6, My First Piano Adventure captures the child #039;s playful spirit. Have you ever had a student who already played another instrument and needed to move through the piano basics fairly quickly? Book 1 is a condensed and more mature version of the Primer Level and Level One of the basic Piano Adventures method. Each unit provides valuable reinforcement of basic theory concepts through writing, sightreading, and ear-training activities. Eleanor attaches sausage to a piece of string and lowers it through the window to where Lucy waits. In fits and starts and setbacks and fierce determination, despite powerful opposition, to see small steps accomplished so all benefit. I had come across another Groundwood book actually, called Harvey, and became obsessed with it and its format – a picture book novel about a boy who comes home to find out that his father has died – and wanted to immediately make a book like it.
My first dummy was 212 pages and I had thought I would be able to finish the whole book in six months for our graduate show (hahahaha) – but then only completed the first chapter.
And it was incredible to have someone in my corner while I DID finish the whole thing – it took two years – I scrapped everything I had done at school and started the art from scratch.
I made a lot of really haphazard dummies and also these crazy diagrams – almost like shot lists for a movie. After I moved away Masha continued to go on her own and eventually studied to be a director of photography in Paris.
We went back to Moscow pretty frequently and after I graduated from the University of Illinois I moved back for about three years. I generally feel like ALL experience propels us forward – it’s all it can do really – bad or good – so I think I tend to think of things that happen to me as stories – so this happened and then that – and it wasn’t good or bad it just happened and now I’m THIS kind of person – it’s sort of a positive sum game. We can feel the cold of Russia, the thrill of watching one’s first ballet performance, the discipline of practicing turns and bends over and over. I was also a little obsessed with the idea of boarding school, and I loved history,  so for me, Anna’s saga was utterly dreamy.

I asked her whether a picture book biography could include a deathbed scene.  And that was the beginning of my poem becoming a book. It brings the boy character inside it, it brings us inside it and conversely it brings the blue whale into our world, right outside our window and in our kitchen. Have you ever wished you had a set of books to use to "fill in the gaps" for a transfer student?This series is it.Each book is suitable for use with any age. Book 1 starts with a few pages of pre-reading tunes and then jumps into reading from the staff. Text that accompanies the illustrations, but feels like captions, almost like the title cards of silent films. This feels like a magic trick and relates to the father, Sam, who is a juggler, its own kind of magic. Fannie Lou left a legacy of fighting for justice, helping others, and making a difference by being committed and courageous. About how children need an anchor, like a mother, in the midst of the turmoil and mundaneness of everyday life at school. Tell us about why you used it to frame the opening and what it tells us about the character of Dasha. I was about three and mom was feeding me a tomato and I bit her finger really hard – not on purpose – the tomato was just really good. How did you go about writing those lines and how did you decide on the strategy you used to communicate that information so subtly? Books are such a good way to encounter the sadness of others.  They help us build empathy, and also keep us company.
The facts could stay as facts, and the reader knew that the inclusion of the boy in the images, when he was interacting with the whale, was purely a result of the boy’s vivid imagination.
The tunes included in this accelerated version for the older beginner appeal to the adolescent and teen set with folk tunes from around the world, familiar classic arrangements, spirituals, and fun, appealing originals by the authors. Fannie Lou— sunlight, voice, and beacon for the other voting rights activists silhouetted behind her. I am so excited!) whether I would mind if they refer to the book as a graphic memoir – which I think is very interesting.
I knew that I wanted it to be for older kids – so a story that happened when I was twelve seemed appropriate. You vary your composition to great effect so that we’re kind of zooming in and out with different page turns, seeing details then people then settings.
It’s the way this material is handled—from how the text is constructed to the dreamy illustrations. Just simple, clear information and beautiful music presented in an organized, logical way.The Beginning Repertoire Book comes with a CD which includes accompaniments played on an acoustic piano by Diane Hidy. Book 1 covers fundamental rhythms (including eighth notes), all the notes of the grand staff, C position, G position, and more. And in the end, they find what they are looking for at The Palace Theater in a show that brings all the story strands together.
She wears yellow almost every time she’s pictured throughout this gorgeously-illustrated book. Fannie Lou adopted two children and then was tricked into an operation to prevent her from having any biologically. But really it’s a combination of both memoir and fiction – real life events and situations are a jumping off point – my mom DID go to America to study, I DID stay with my grandparents, I DO have best friends named Masha and Natasha – but there are also some places where things are exaggerated to move the plot forward. We heard time and again from teachers who had grown tired of gimmicky sounding accompaniment CD's and wanted something classier and more musically sophisticated. Three times on stage. Three characters who come together in the end in the most wonderful way.
Lucy the dog has secrets too: her sneaks into the butcher shop to steal a snack, her untold memories of her former life.

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