Behind the Scenes: My First Piano Books

Karen Marshall

The critically acclaimed Get Set! Piano books cover the key elements of musical learning and are packed with tunes and ideas to support and inspire young pianists.

My First Piano Book is a new tutor book written for young beginners (from aged 5 years) to use with a teacher. It introduces young children to the piano and music-making through fun activities, rhymes, songs and pieces. My First Pieces, Puzzles and Activities is a new companion book that can be used alongside My First Piano Book (or similar primer) by the pupil at home to consolidate learning. It includes traditional tunes and playful new pieces, plus lots of additional activities to consolidate learning and offer an extra layer of fun.

In this special Guest Post, author Karen Marshall tells the story behind the development of these new resources … 

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My First Get Set! Piano Book

Karen Marshall

Do you teach younger beginners or fancy having a go at working with these little ones in the future?

We are providing some new free digital resources, which have been designed just for you, and to celebrate the launch of two brand new books (My First Piano book and My First Piano Pieces, Puzzles and Activities) both in the Get Set! Series.

This is a free Teacher Starter Pack (courtesy of Collins Music) based on the material in the books.

Writing these books has been quite a journey (the most difficult books I’ve written to date). They took 5 years to write, with material tried and tested in the development process.

These resources are for children from 5 years; the idea is to use the piano as an introduction to music.

You can download this free resource here:

pdf-logo  TEACHER  STARTER  PACK

So what is in this starter pack?..

Continue reading My First Get Set! Piano Book

The ‘Foundation Pianist’ Technique Checklist

Guest Post by Karen Marshall

Image, Schnapps2012

Here is a resource I have used over many years to help me track the material I provide students for their technical development post Grade 1 – to around Grade 3, formatted by Faber Music especially for you:

pdf-logo   Foundational Technique Checklist

It covers many of the technical areas students need to be proficient in at these early stages so they can progress easily at intermediate and advanced levels, an easy to use ‘one place’ record to list repertoire, exercises, scales, broken chords and arpeggios that you have covered.

It can also be useful for curriculum planning, making sure that all these areas are covered, from even finger work to part playing, articulation to independence of the hands, syncopation to tone production, agility and so much more. 

The sheet can be used alongside PianoTrainer Series Foundation Pianist Books 1 & 2 or using your own choice of material.

These foundational areas of technique are based on the pedagogical training I received working with the late Christine Brown. As a teacher and mentor, Christine did so much for my understanding of teaching piano technique.

I sincerely hope this little record sheet will be useful to teachers and their students at the beginning of their piano playing journey!


Pianodao hosts a wealth of material which you can download FREE, created by Faber Music to support the PianoTrainer series:

PianoTrainer Downloads page here.


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PianoTrainer: Developing a Complete Curriculum

Faber Music’s PianoTrainer series, comprising, The Foundation Pianist (2 books), The Intermediate Pianist (3 books) and The Advanced Pianist (2 books), has made a huge impact in the piano education world over the last couple of years, offering a progressive musical curriculum which can be used between or instead of grade exams.

In this special Guest Post, series editor and writer Karen Marshall tells the story behind the development of the series, while Faber Music have provided a special FREE Download which outlines the curriculum underpinning it, giving an essential insight for all teachers and students working through the books.

Continue reading PianoTrainer: Developing a Complete Curriculum

Get Set! Piano Christmas Crackers

Sheet Music Review

When I reviewed Get Set! Piano about three years ago, I had never met either of the authors (Karen Marshall and Heather Hammond), but subsequently I have developed a friendship with both. And along the way, Pianodao has (with the generous agreement of Collins Music) become a highly visible hosting site for the many free downloads which accompany the Get Set! Piano series.

My review of the new Get Set! Piano Christmas Crackers is therefore now offered in an obviously different context to my original review.

But I hope to be as objective as ever, writing as a teacher giving an insight into the uses of the material – and I hope you will agree that I can at least offer a factual description of its content! So let’s get started …

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The Foundation Pianist

Sheet Music Review

Around this time last year, Faber Music unleashed The Intermediate Pianist series, co-authored by Karen Marshall and Heather Hammond. It was a solid success, warmly received by teachers and students alike, and in my Pianodao review I wrote:

“The Intermediate Pianist books get right to the heart of what learning music is really all about. This truly could prove a milestone publication – don’t miss it!”

As many readers will know, The Intermediate Pianist deservedly went on to win Best Print Resource at the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2018.

This Autumn, it’s a joy to welcome the arrival of The Foundation Pianist, two companion books in Faber’s growing Piano Trainer seriesThis time, Karen is joined by new co-author David Blackwell.

Let’s see what’s included, and consider how these books might fit into a rounded curriculum for young pianists…

Continue reading The Foundation Pianist

The Intermediate Pianist

Sheet Music Review

The Intermediate Pianist series is a fresh and ground-breaking approach which is full of brilliant musical ideas. It’s sure to enable pianists to play with greater understanding and engagement, and comes very highly recommended.

Here’s the Pianodao review…

Continue reading The Intermediate Pianist