We all know that listening to music has a positive effect on people of all generations. In the extreme, music can raise the spirits of those in nursing homes and relieve some suffering for those with Alzheimer’s disease. Babies in cribs frequently respond to the sounds of music by smiling or humming along. When you get right down to it, listening to music just about makes everyone feel better than they did before the music started.

Performing music, however, not only includes all of the above but also adds additional benefits as well. Some studies indicate that young music students, on average, do better in their school grades than those who did not study music. Teen-agers frequently find their social lives improving when performing for friends or at school functions.

Knowing all this makes you wonder why everyone doesn’t take up a musical instrument when they are growing up. There are number of reasons that come to mind, economic being one. But in many instances, I think young people now have so many activities to choose from that music education is challenged as never before. There are a number of factors that can help young students choose music lessons as a preferred activity, and also to remain with lessons longer. One of them is to have their piano teacher choose a piano method that combines a very solid music education with a fun-filled approach that will enhance the student’s musical experience.

When Willard Palmer, Amanda Vick Lethco and I first decided to create Alfred’s Basic Piano Library, we agreed that from the beginning, it had to be musically sound and equally important, bring a sense of enjoyment to young students. The cover had to look like “this is really going to be fun.” The explanations had to be clear and concise – and the music had to be very special. With so few notes and rhythms to play, the quality of the music at the beginning grade level had to have as much appeal as the music young folks listen to on their digital devices.

And now, after many years have passed since the introduction of Lesson Book 1A, how have teachers responded? While sales figures are hard to come by, it is our opinion that the number of books sold of Alfred’s Basic Piano Library for the last 15 years is more than that of any other piano course. While all this is important, what matters most is that you and your students enjoy making music together.

Morty Manus, co-author of Alfred’s Basic Piano Library

The Four Courses of Alfred's Basic