The recordings were professionally produced using the precision of a computer and thus should be taken as very accurate. That being said the main goal with any song is to copy the recording as closely as possible. For most songs, the hands are intricately interwoven and as a result are difficult to play hands separately with the recordings. However, it is recommended that students practice hands separately first without the recording, then hands together without the recording until proficient and fluent, then use the slow recording to hammer out a steady rhythm to the song and finally try to play along with the normal recording until perfected!
Sometimes the volume of the piano can overtake the volume of the device you are using to listen to the recordings. When this occurs, it is a good idea to plug headphones into your device at a medium volume and then listen to yourself in the background and make sure it matches the rhythms of the song.
The final note is that if the piano that you own is not tuned to the same tuning that the recordings are tuned to, your playing can sound incorrect. However if it is a tunable piano, get it tuned and the problem should be solved, if it is a keyboard, unfortunately the two are just tuned slightly different from one another and it is a situation that is difficult to fix without getting a new piano. This is not necessary, because the goals of the method can be more than achieved without the recordings, it’s just not an ideal situation.
The three most important things to remember when it comes to technique are sit up straight, wrists elevated and fingers curled. Although it is true that you can still play the piano without these three essentials, if you can build these habits into the student in the early parts of playing, it will help tremendously as precision and execution become more and more important.
There are many different examples of each note. For example, there are many C’s, D’S, G’S and A’s and it can be confusing which one of these you should place your hands on. In level zero you can always orient yourself by the position of Middle C in the picture provided. After that the general rule of thumb is to stick to the middle notes for your starting position. You, as an individual, may want to play a particular song higher (to the right) or lower (to the left) of the recommended position and this is great for experimentation and becoming comfortable with these musical concepts.
The beauty of this method is that music theory is built in to every song and there are tremendous learning opportunities with each song. Not only should one become fluent with the various symbols (rests, louds and softs, structural notation etc.), one can also start to question and connect what it sounds like to hold a note and what it looks like on the page. Listening and distinguishing between long holds and short holds, quicks, double quicks and dots are cornerstones for this concept of music theory and as a result, students of all ages should try to make sense of the material on this, the deeper level.