Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Keyboard Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Rosalina G. Sackstein

Second Committee Member

Joyce Jordan

Third Committee Member

Tian Ying

Fourth Committee Member

Robert H. Gower


The First Month at the Piano by Mana-Zucca, published in 1935, is a pioneering piano method to be taught by rote, supporting sound before sight learning theories, to the pre-school student. It differs from the Suzuki method in that The First Month at the Piano uses short, repetitive patterns, intrinsic to the Edwin Gordon Music Learning Theory. The First Month at the Piano has been compared to educational theories and has been found to follow Lev Vygotsky's theory of scaffolding and Jerome Bruner's principles of structure, readiness for learning, and motivation. The First Month at the Piano has been shown to provide a wide variety of sensory experiences for the pupil and establish a comfort and familiarity with the instrument. After completing the method, the pupil will have a solid aural foundation at the piano and will be fully prepared for primer level notation. It is a highly adaptable method and modified versions were made from the originals which would be of interest to today's teachers of pre-school piano students. Incorporation of interactive MIDI with electronic keyboards would enhance the students' learning experiences and be a direction to follow for future use of this method.


Jerome Bruner; Lev Vygotsky; Edwin Gordon; Suzuki; Angela Diller; Annie Jessie Curwen; Friedrich Wieck; By-Rote Piano Method; Pre-School Piano Method; Mana-Zucca