How I Use It
I use this method to teach students piano from a multi-key, multi-sensory approach. There are many reasons the method is so complete, but one major reason that appeals to students immediately is the continual rotation of different activities both on and off the piano bench. I teach small groups and private students, and both work great. We begin by singing songs on the floor together, using a number of different approaches that appeal to different learning styles. The students have absorbed the song via multiple repetitions, each time learning the song a different way. By the time we take it to the piano, they are fully engaged and empowered with the tools they need to play with virtually no help from me. After several weeks of this, we take their engaged playing to another level by introducing note reading in a fun and approachable manner. I do supplement the method in order to keep the students versatile, but Hoffman is our core curriculum because it develops a truly independent musician.
This method is very engaging for just about every type of learner out there. The more I dig into the layers Joseph has laid out, the more possibilities for the students.
Students immediately get a lot of self-empowerment from the approach I described above. As I told one parent today, his last teacher may have shown him how to play beautiful pieces really well by rote, but this method gives the student all the power to teach himself without me. Kids really do love that.
There are so many things I love about this program. Students are constantly singing, and I never have to push them because they love the CD. We had our first recital this winter with zero stage fright. All the parents marveled and credited me for preparing them so well-- but the truth is, I think it's because the method instills so much self esteem.
Technique, theory and ear training are a natural part of this holistic program. And it's FUN! I could go on and on.
One limitation awhile back was that many of my students ages 6 and younger were very overwhelmed at reading Dinah after all the songs we learned by pattern so easily. I emailed Joseph, who occasionally graces me with his time, and he gave me excellent tips including sight reading exercises. The students love those and it seemed to solve the problem.
Like most piano teachers, I am a huge fan of Faber as well, but I prefer this method because of the holistic way children absorb the music. I use Faber supplementally, but I actually think this method is far more complete and gives students the chance to make music from within, not only reading off the page. While both methods employ improvisation, the singing and the multi-sensory aspects of the Hoffman method give it major edge!
I also love Joseph's videos as a resource both for myself as a teacher, and for students who miss class.
Obviously I could go on and on, but I will finish by saying that I cannot recommend this program highly enough.