Classical musicians are typically stuck to their sheet music. If they don’t have music in front of them or memorized they are often completely handicapped at their instrument. There are two major ways that a musician can play music without reading. One is playing by ear, and the other is improvisation.
The art of improvisation is now mainly associated with jazz music. Did you know, though, that improvisation in classical music was commonplace well before jazz was every played?
When I began teaching piano, I was adamant that the method books that were available were not as good as something I could teach on my own. After a few months, I realized I was wrong. Trying to create my own method was not complete enough, and I ended up all over the place with my students. I finally gave in and experimented with the big three: Bastien, Alfred, and Faber. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve finally found a method book I love. That books is Piano Safari.