I would like to give you a little more information about the Peery Academy Certification Program we have implemented in our studio. Here is an orientation document to help you understand the expectations in the program and why I have adopted this curriculum into the studio. I have been so happy to see the progress my students are already making while learning these habits. They are looking professional and sounding more musical every week. I have included instructional videos on Better Practice App to make sure the technique is correctly practiced at home. Please work with your students on getting the assigned Peery habits precise.
PEAK MUSIC ACADEMY
Peak Music Academy is implementing curriculum developed by the Peery Piano Academy. The Peery Piano Academy was founded in 2001 by Peabody Conservatory graduate and international award-winning pianist, Christie Peery Skousen. Mrs. Skousen developed the Peery curriculum based on her own professional training and her 35 years of teaching experience.
Peak Music Academy's mission is to offer the highest quality musical training to our students in the most efficient, fun and effective way possible. We recognize the importance of a strong foundation and provide our teachers and students the tools and support needed to build a foundation that keeps a student’s future musical options open. Whether a student eventually wants to play pop, classical or jazz, competitively or just for fun, Peery training gives its students the tools needed so they can choose to participate in music in the way that is most meaningful to them.
Peak Music Academy provides a structured, graded curriculum that includes both classical and popular skills, a proven certification system, and opportunities for our students to teach, accompany and perform - all within a supportive, friendly and inspiring community.
The Peery curriculum used in our studio is based on the reality that there are a specific set of skills that are necessary in order to play music well and to continue to progress in difficulty level. When any of these skills are missed along a student’s journey, the student will hit future roadblocks in their ability to move forward. We call these necessary specific skills the Peery Foundational Techniques and these Peery Techniques are taught and mastered in the Peak Training Program. Each skill is taught, practiced and then ultimately certified before the student progresses to the next skill and the next Peery level.
After graduating from the Peak Training Program, students enter the Climbers or Mountaineering Program.
The Climbers program is a group setting but will focus on traditional piano skills. The Mountaineering Program is private lessons. In both of these programs, students progress through a series of levels, with each level teaching the student how to apply the Peery Techniques to increasingly more difficult items. Each Peery level has a list of requirements. When all of the requirements from a level are completed, the student will then move to the next level. Class levels are as follows: Peak Training, Climber/Mountaineer Players 1-6, and Climber/Mountaineer Givers 7-10. How long a student takes to master their skills and move to the next level is individual, but you can expect your student to spend 1 year on average per level.
Peak Training Program - All students, regardless of age or ability level, enter Peak Piano at the Peak Training level. The focus of Peak Training is simply to learn the essential habits of great piano technique…right from the beginning. The specific Peery Techniques taught and mastered in Training are listed below with a linked example of how the technique is presented and mastered in Training. All application examples are of Peery students who graduated from the Training program. Some of the students have been in group lessons throughout their piano training and practice 2-5 days a week, approximately 30 minutes a day, while others dedicate a minimum of 5 days a week and 1 hour or more a day to piano practice. Regardless of their piano commitment, Peery certified students are able to play the pieces they want because they mastered the Peery Techniques right from the beginning. Because so much attention is focused on efficient, relaxed, natural movement, correct Peery training also supports injury-free playing.
- Lift Wrist (technique)
- Push Wrist (technique)
- Pop Wrist (technique)
- Drop/Float – 2 note slur (technique)
- Drop/Float – muti-note slur (technique)
- Finger strength and control (technique)
- Efficient, relaxed movement (technique)
- Efficient thumb motion (technique)
For contrast, here is an example of the same pieces with and without the strong foundation Peery training provides:
German Dance performed by a Peery student using Peery techniques
German Dance performed without Peery techniques
Hand position - thumb out, fingers in the air and flat on the key
Rhythmic control - fast notes uneven and unpredictable
Expressive details - lack of dynamics and phrasing
Fast forward 5 years and listen to the same Peery student performing Liszt’s Gnomenreigen. A good foundation makes ALL the difference!
Players - After your student learns and certifies their Habits skills in the Training Program, they will move on to the Players program where the focus is learning to apply the Peery Techniques to increasingly more difficult repertoire and technical items. Players students graduate from the Players program being able to masterfully play and arrange popular music, sight read in 2-4 parts and play classical repertoire at a Grade 6 level. Technically they have mastered up to Level 4 of the Peery Technic Cycle which includes playing scales at MM 152 4 notes to the beat.
Givers - Once your student has learned and certified their Players skills, they will have the opportunity to move on to the Givers program where the focus is enjoying the musical skills they have attained by applying them to items of their choice and finding ways to give back and serve their community such as teaching and accompanying. Givers students continue to refine their musical and technical skills and upon graduation from the Givers program have mastered Level 8 of the Peery Technique Cycle and are able to play advanced repertoire.
PEERY CERTIFICATION SYSTEM
Ongoing video evaluations are unique and key to the Peery program. This is the element that will strengthen your student’s playing the very most! These video evaluations are held during the regular lesson time when the teacher believes the student is ready so they are convenient and fit easily into your regular piano schedule. Evaluations entail no additional cost or fee, and are included in your tuition. All videos are reviewed by a Peery Master Teacher to ensure that the Peery Techniques are correctly executed and applied. Both parents and teachers receive email feedback. Items are resubmitted until they receive the mark of Peery Certified. Achieving the mark of Peery Certified is a requirement to graduating from one Peery level to the next.