Kloppenburg: a study path for teaching the piano

Kloppenburg: a study path for teaching the piano

Part 1: Kloppenburg: a study path for teaching the piano


One of my tasks when I was studying to become a piano teacher was to create a ‘study path’. The intention was to provide an overview of the diverse number of piano methods and musical styles available, and their associated level of proficiency. If you’re a piano teacher, it’s important to structure your lessons. A condition for this is being able to indicate what material is available for these lessons.

Such an overview already existed in the form of the much-used booklet Nieuwe leergang voor het piano-onderwijs (A new study path for teaching the piano), written by the renowned piano pedagogue W. C. M. Kloppenburg. This publication has become a standard reference, for which all piano teachers are grateful! If you’re looking for a piece of music at a certain level, then you reach for your ‘Kloppenburg’, as this booklet has become known.

The publication has not been without its critics, though. Some consider the classification into ten levels insufficient, especially for the lower– and thus beginner There’s a lot of content, but more could be included. It was published in 1984 and has never been revised. Mr. Kloppenburg died in 2000.

I went ahead and made a study path but constructed it differently than Kloppenburg. The classification is in 15 levels instead of ten, resulting in a better division in the lower levels. I then made an additional ‘path’ utilising only the first seven levels (these are the ones most used during piano lessons) and adopted this – together with Kloppenburg – for use in my own classes.

I had created my own ‘learning path’ – OK, a small trail with a few bumps along the way, but nevertheless extremely useful!