Reviews of Succeeding at the
European Piano Teachers
What teachers are saying about
Succeeding at the Piano®
Manami Kawamura, Biola University
Conservatory of Music:
I went through the method books we received and am
very excited to introduce them to my class.
I like your “Succeeding at the Piano”
method because the technical aspects are well emphasized
and in the right way. I, especially, like the thumb
position. Your book is the only method book that talks
about the correct place where the thumb needs to press
the key. Other books show the thumb being flat. I
received a BM in Japan and an MM in the US. When I
came to the US, I wondered why so many students play
with flat hands. Your method is giving students stronger
hands and fingers. At the same time, I also like the
"Drip-Drop-Roll" for flexibility. We need
both. I feel that even college students need to learn
these important techniques. I would appreciate if
you could talk about these technical aspects when
you meet my class.
Thank you for your great work!
Christopher, Piano Teacher:
In the book 5, I was so glad to find in the unit 8
the review of the different touch releases you often
mention in the videos and the other concepts that
are what a serious piano student should normally find
in a book at this level.
In my opinion, you set up the perfect
balance : the method has a steady and well thought
flow of concepts being introduced at the right time
while keeping it challenging enough to pull students
to reach a higher level of piano playing.
With some other methods, I feel the
authors did not really put much thinking into what
an intermediate student needs to improve, they mostly
focused on the first level books ( which are the most
sold by publishers ) while with SATP, I feel you did
focus on each level EQUALLY, making sure to cater
to the needs of each category of students. That is
why I think your method is probably the most complete
of the market.
By the way, I even bought the previous
level books and your whole series of etudes with technique
In a nutshell, a big thank you again
for this awesome method.
Jennifer White from Michigan:
Just wanted to let you know how much I love and would
recommend your piano book teaching series. I wish
everyone would use it, especially bc of the technique
hints at such an early start, making it easy for the
student to really learn proper technique from the
start. What a difference this will make in their later
I don't know a lot of piano teachers
but if anyone ever were to ask me, these are by far
the best method books I've come across.
PS My younger students especially love
the CDs. I think they're great, too, with the fun
accompaniments. Excellent product!
Lydia, Piano Teacher:
I do want to tell you again: I LOVE your Succeeding
with the Masters books, can't get enough of them!
Currently we are studying the Reformation period,
and it makes it especially fun to play pieces that
were composed at that time! Thank you for uplifting
the humanity through those series! And making the
teachers' job so much easier! Your practice strategies
are priceless! Keep up the good work!
Janet Anderson from Seattle,
I am just writing to thank Helen Marlais and everyone
involved in creating Succeeding at the Piano. Since
I started using the method with my beginners two years
ago, not one SATP student has quit, not one! They're
playing happily with beautiful, solid technique, and
I couldn't be more delighted with the help the method
has given me in keeping them focused on the most essential
aspects of piano playing. It has made a real difference
in the life of my studio.
Carol Gingrich from Hudsonville,
I have a student who I call my "Marlais baby"
because I have only used SATP, SWTM, and all other
Marlais material available. She is not going to be
a piano major, but she is doing well and I think of
you every time she is here. She is playing the Chopin
Nocturne in E-flat for her recital and it has been
a stretch for her. She has worked so hard on it. She
will play all her life, I know. You have this next
generation of well trained students going out into
the world and making it a more beautiful place. What
a legacy for all your hard work!
Phil Erklen from Colorado Springs,
I guess an analogy would be that in the past, I had
to gather all the ingredients and put forth a lot
of labor to get a good cake. That would be equivalent
to using several methods to get that good cake. However,
the cake was never great. There were several ingredients
missing. Now, I just go to the baker and the great
cake is there, made fresh and ready for consumption.
That would be SATP. SATP is now the official method
at the International Music Syndicate. Phil Erklen,
Sylvia Coates, from Clavier
Companion July/August 2011 Issue:
One of the major strengths of this method is the combining
of healthy technique with the lesson book repertoire.
This integration brings attention to technique so
that it is a must for student and teacher, rather
than only a supplement.
Patti Irwin from Austin, TX:
I began two of my beginners last semester on this
method. I was immediately impressed with the clean
pages - not an excess of words and pictures.
Nikkol from Aberdeen, WA:
“I LOVE the Succeeding at the Piano® series — my students
love this series as well, they like it a lot better
than the method I was currently using and so do I.
Everything is stated more simple and my students seem
to comprehend a lot faster. My students are really
pumped up about piano lessons since I switched method
books!!! THANK YOU!”
Dottie from Lexington, SC:
“I have received my copy of Succeeding at the Piano®
2A Lesson and Technique Book. Thank you for making
it so easy for me to make use of the skills presented.
I look forward to trying it out with one of my students.
I believe it can save time that I spend writing directions
in the assignment book, leaving more time for skill
work. After leaving the studio, the student will see
the instructions on the Lesson Book page, and hopefully
remember the techniques and practice well.
Kathryn from Hampton Falls,
“I love the new Helen Marlais method books and so
do my students. The graphics are great and the instructions
are clear, plus great music. I look forward to the
Kristen from Muskegon, MI:
"All I know is that Succeeding at the Piano®
is the best thing that has happened to the piano teaching
world. They are the most complete books with the best
balance of everything a student needs to learn. My
newer students that are using the books advance so
much faster and have such a complete understanding
of music than other students. This method is the only
one I will use, and the parents are impressed, too.
I had a fellow piano teacher who wanted
to observe my teaching style this past fall. As part
of an awards recital every spring, I entered 6 students
in 3 different levels, 5 of them placed, and 2 of
them took 1st place for their level. I think she wanted
to see what I do differently- why my students win
that recital. She observed for many weeks, took lots
of notes, and even came to a group class and interviewed
some students. After all that, one thing she said
to me was "I am so impressed how all your students
have such great hand shapes. Nobody has flat fingers,
and they all move their wrists the way they need to."
She asked how I am able to get them to do it, and
I told her it was directly because of Succeeding at
the Piano®. In this method students learn the correct
hand position and wrist movements as just a natural
part of playing piano."
Barbara Rice from Chico, CA:
"I wanted to write a note and say how much I'm
enjoying Helen Marlais' new method, Succeeding at
the Piano®. She has addressed many of the issues we
had as teachers with other methods. I appreciate the
spiral learning approach and how she's introducing
topics earlier than other methods such as key signatures,
the concept of Major and minor, and many other issues.
I also like how the technique is integrated in the
lesson book. It makes it much easier to apply good
technique to the pieces when it's right there on the
Gaye Rumsey-Riggs from Portland,
"I love your new series, I have never seen a
series that articulates technique so well, I have
started Grade 1 with several students and it is a
Millie Bradfield from Whitehall,
"I have 11 students in the Preparatory Level
and 4 students in Grade 1. Never have I had students
catch on to playing with "no dents" in their
fingers...the picture says a thousand words!"
Alfa C from Troy, Michigan:
"It is excellent that the Lesson Books combine
together with technique!"
Janet Maus, of Music Maker Studios
from Temple Hills, MD:
"Succeeding at the Piano® is great! I love to
teach the children to sing with the songs and these
songs are easy for them to grasp and fun. I use the
CD's, so the students can hear the songs and learn
quickly. I really like the theory on each page and
showing the position each time. Keep up your great
L Preston from Raleigh, NC:
"I find it wonderful the time you take to explain
how to play the piano. The illustrations are a joy
and the explanations simple yet accurate. I appreciate
all the work, effort, time and labor of love for us
Kevin Coan of email@example.com
from Vernon, CT
"My first impressions of Succeeding at the Piano®
are extremely positive. It has avoided an emphasis
on any one methodology, including fixed positions.
At the same time, it includes areas of emphasis, especially
in the area of technique, that are often neglected
in beginning methods. The author is obviously a first-rate
teacher, and she shares a lot of her secrets with
us in this method."
Marci Pittman from Chico, California:
"I was favorably impressed with the pedagogy
behind the method and the music included, which includes
classical themes and folk tunes with which every music
student should be familiar. One other thing that I
would add that is unique with the CDs packaged with
the Lesson and Technique Books & the Recital Books
is that there are 3 tracks for each piece: 1) A slower
practice speed; 2) A short verbal instruction by Helen
Marlais; 3) Performance speed. The CD also includes
authentic string quarter arrangements/ accompaniments
so that students might imagine playing in the time
of Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven."
Elaine Smith from Chicago, IL:
"Congratulations on your new series. Your presentation
of technique within the lesson book is excellent.
Marvelous. Keep creating!"
Barbara Rice from Chico, CA:
"Just skimming it over makes me want to start
a new student. How landmarks are introduced, adding
the other notes in between the landmarks, slurs and
tempos at this level, listing the composers, birthplace
and dates along with the arranger, showing stepwise
movement for intervallic reading, technique ideas
all along the way...and all this was just at a quick
glance...I can't wait to try it."
founder of MusicMattersBlog.com from Derby, KS:
Barbara Collins from Port Huron,
"Bravo. I love the way you incorporated the technique
and the connection to the composers. Fresh and bright
Kevin Coan of firstname.lastname@example.org
from Vernon, CT
"I make it a policy not to use materials until
they are complete through level four, but I am considering
making an exception with this one. I appreciate quite
a few features of the course: