Editor’s Introduction

The Laboratory Piano Course is presented to you as a thoroughly tested instructional program. In addition to being the outgrowth of eight years of research by Dr. Page, it has been employed at the University of Cincinnati in a four-year investigation of the relative effectiveness of class and private instruction in preparing undergraduate music education majors to meet the functional piano requirements of the curriculum. (Use of the Page program was restricted to class instruction; the private teachers used methods and materials of their own choice.) The findings showed clearly that class instruction (based on the Page program) was more effective than private instruction as measured by functional keyboard tests. Teachers involved in the class-instruction aspect of the investigation have reported other advantages of the Page program: it is particularly suitable for use with adults; it is well paced in that technical problems and concepts are presented in effective sequence; it is clear in instructions-so clear in fact that students require very little in the way of explanation; it is carefully structured, yet provides leeway for teachers to develop their own ideas and to tailor their teaching to individual students; it is flexible, making it possible for individual students to work at their own pace; and finally it provides an analytical approach which guides students into seeing the operation of musical concepts and techniques in the n1usic they perform. Teachers have also commented particularly about the program’s musical quality. They point out that the musical materials (melodies, pieces, and arrangements) are aesthetically valid and very appealing to students, that the emphasis on ensemble performance provides more sophisticated musical experience than would otherwise be possible for beginners and students of limited keyboard facility, and that the constant attention to expressive performance builds musicianship.

My own study of the program corroborates these points.