• Ashley Hebert

Best Materials = Best Education

If you’ve ever walked past our music studios at CDMS, you’ve probably noticed our many music books lining a bookshelf or stacked on a desk. There are a ton of great teaching materials being published every year! So many that it can be difficult to parse out which ones are worthwhile, and which ones can be skipped. Our Instructors are experts at teaching, but they’re also experts at choosing material for students and knowing which sources to look through.


All of our students use Method Books when they begin lessons to form a solid foundation in music reading. What are Method Books? They’re generally a series of graduated-level curricula, written by a single author, that start at the very beginning of a student’s music education and continue through an advanced level. They are also instrument-specific, meaning that there are separate method books for piano, voice, or guitar, and they all have some things in common, but include specific technique issues that the instrument requires. Method Books include new concepts as well as songs, and most of the songs are not particularly well-known. This is because Instructors can verify that a student is learning how to read music on their own if they can play a song correctly that they haven’t heard in school or on the radio before (this leads to playing “by ear” in most cases). Plus, learning all-new music is fun!


Method Books teach the basics, but solos are the most fun part of learning an instrument! We choose solos out of books, from the radio, from our students’ interests, and from our specializations. A solo gives each student a chance to shine, and even the youngest beginners can learn to play something a little snazzy for a recital or just for fun. While our Instructors are well-versed in appropriate music, we love to hear your suggestions! It’s always helpful when a student brings in a list of songs they’d like to learn so we can prioritize in learning order and try to cover as many choices as possible.


Finally, to round out our students’ lessons, we often use supplemental materials such as flash cards, music theory books, iPad music games, and card games to keep everyone’s interest at top level! Learning to count rhythms in a game is super-fun, so we have plenty of those on hand. If you happen to have a family heirloom music book or some books you used to play from as a child, we’d love to see them and try to incorporate them into your child’s lessons!

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