Sound Formation Method Piano Level 1

This book is ideal for professionals and students studying the SFM. If you are an educator interested in studying the method visit here.

The Sound Formation Method™ allows you to immediately make music and get the feel correct. This lets you play with other musicians of any level right away. You’ll learn secrets of groove that you can’t find anywhere else.

In this book you’ll learn how to play any sharp, flat or natural note, ALL minor and major chords, read bass clef and chord charts, develop excellent movement mechanics, staccato and legato articulations, core level rhythmic principles, dynamics, fingerings, and start to identify melodies and chords by ear.

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You can rapidly learn all key positions while simultaneously starting to build a vocabulary of rhythmic shapes. Octaves combined with rhythmic shapes allows you to get a handle on groove and note layout while actually sounding good right away. This means your musical feel is developing from day one and you’re bypassing the usual boring and tedious melodies and drills. Instead you’ll be able to play with musicians of any level immediately. 


After learning your Level 1 rhythmic shapes and key positions there is an easy formula in this book to play any major or minor chord immediately. This means no memorization or mindless repetition in order to play your favorite songs. Ratios are used as a remarkably simple conceptualization device for performing multiple Level 1 rhythms with chords and octaves alike.


One of the biggest differences in the Sound Formation Method is the major emphasis on rhythm not only in sound but in movement mechanics. Many pages are devoted to specific styles of movement that allow you a shortcut to developing the sound and touch of the best pianists. Octave jumping is one unique exercise in this book designed to give you a rapid, fluid, and accurate style of movement across the keyboard.


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One fallacy across the vast majority of piano books is the immediate introduction of the grand staff and reliance upon it in order to progress. In the Sound Formation Method reading is taught in a gradated, natural, and strategic manner. You are able to read chord charts first which allow you to play your favorite songs and actually sound good while doing so. Adding in only the bass clef next allows you to develop your reading in a gradual manner where your musicianship: timing, touch, dynamics and sensitivity won’t suffer as a result.


Rhythms are introduced in a very particular and progressive order. Most method books have a variety of rhythms of varying difficulties introduced immediately: 3/4, 4/4, syncopations, etc. which create timing issues in your playing. In the Sound Formation Method you have an entire theory of rhythm that you’re learning while progressing through the curriculum on piano. This theory of rhythm gives you a tremendous musical feel and huge advantage over other approaches.

Accompanying Piano Video Course

The SFM Level 1 Piano Video Course is the perfect guide for Sound Formation private lesson or after-school students looking for additional support. This is not a standalone course.

This video course taught by Curtis Madigan, walks the student through each page of the book while adding valuable additional information on physical cues, examples of what the exercises should sound like, and how to better implement the curriculum.

If your student finds having a video helpful for practicing in between sessions, this is a perfect guide to the SFM Level 1 Piano workbook.

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