Edna-Mae Burnam’s six books of technical exercises, A Dozen A Day, quickly established themselves as classics in the piano pedagogy literature, and in the decades since their first appearance back in the 1950’s, their short routines and iconic illustrations have found their way into the hearts (and fingers) of developing pianists around the world, selling some 25 million copies.
In her introduction to the books, Burnam gets straight to the point in explaining the value of A Dozen A Day:
“Many people do exercises every morning before they go to work. Likewise, we should all give our fingers exercises every day BEFORE we begin our practising.”
The joy and the genius with which the book’s famous and ever-popular stick characters convey this message cannot be overstated, and is a testament to the book’s enduring appeal and generation-busting brilliance.
I have been using these little books with my students since I first started teaching in the 1990’s, and although they have featured less prominently in my studio in recent years, they continue to make their appearance, and offer a hugely useful resource which can be used from the very first lessons, and right up to advanced level.
Encouraging a fresh look, publishers Willis Music brought out a bumper edition back in 2017, which I am going to be focusing on in this review. A Dozen A Day: All Year Round offers additional attractions for teachers, which I will outline, but I would still steer students towards the individual books, appropriate for each level.Continue reading A Dozen A Day • All Year Round