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First 50 songs for Piano

Piano teachers are going crazy over this new series. They’re actually the songs that people want to play when they’re in their first year or two on the piano.

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There are currently six titles available for piano with the ‘Popular Songs’ being the most…popular!

Notated in an accessible easy piano format, they’re ideal to use in the 40 piece challenge to mix things up a bit!

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A full list is available here

A blank certificate?

What a year it has been for 40 Piece Challenge participants! We’ve heard all kinds of fabulous feedback about how learning more music has improved the skills of participants and the happiness of teachers and parents.

We look forward to hearing more of your challenge feedback in 2016!

To download Piano challenge certificates, including a blank certificate (just add your own number!) click here.

For Instrumental teachers, you can now download certificates by clicking here.

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Melbourne teacher, Josie Thomas asked her students how they felt about the challenge in 2015:

“Congratulations to the 40 piece challenge champions”

Edie, Lana, Lewis, Oriel and Megan were determined to get another 10 pieces in the last three weeks! 50 pieces and Lewis in half the time!”

Megan 50 P 1

Megan – “I can play better”

Edie 1

Edie- “Good for my mind”

Lewis 50 P 3

Lewis- “Play really fast”

Oriel 50 P 1

Oriel- “Getting up to more pieces like Dancing with Frankenstein”

West

Weston – “I can play better”

 

At the Lake

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By Elvina Pearce. This is a really lovely collection! We like the sound exploration involved, lots of pedal and changing octaves, using a wider range of the piano than is often used at this grade level.

The collection includes duets for elementary (Preliminary) and late elementary (Grade 1) students. Playful solos include Sunrise Waltz,Sand Castle, Sailing, Canoe Ride, Foggy Night and Lighthouse.

Four delightful duets are included for two students or student/teacher: Skipping Stones, Beach Volleyball, Seagull’s Lament, and Drifting Clouds.

This collection invites you to explore the range of the keyboard, dynamic contrast, articulation and other musical expression. Students, parents and teachers will enjoy the practice and performance notes included for each piece.

Australian RRP $14.95 Code 131642 available from all these great music stores!

The Pirate Challenge

There’s another challenge on the horizon…The Pirate Challenge!

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This poster was created by Melbourne teacher, Sharon Dixon after hearing Thembi Shears talk about the challenge at the APPC earlier this year.

You can read all about Brisbane teacher, Thembi Shears‘ Pirate Challenge in the upcoming November 2015 issue of The Piano Teacher magazine.

Issue 8 of The Piano Teacher magazine will be mailed to subscribers and posted online in November.

If you are a piano teacher in Australia or New Zealand you can subscribe to the magazine and have it mailed to you (FREE!) and for our International readers you are welcome to read the magazine online at http://www.thepianoteacher.com.au

Up: a review by Michelle Randall

Sydney teacher, Michelle Randall offers us this review of Up.

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Watching the movie Up will enhance the use of this collection of Easy Piano pieces (about a Grade 2 AMEB level) published by Hal Leonard.

Michael Giacchino composed a character theme-based score that follows and changes as the characters age in the film. A ‘simple piano’ piece can grow with the characters by use of orchestration and other compositional techniques including tonality, dynamics and texture.

Up is a G-rated film dealing with emotive, human situations rarely covered in other children’s entertainment. It would be wonderful if students could play selected pieces and your studio could come together to watch the film. That would surely be a learning experience the student would remember!

Whereas the movie Frozen demonstrated how important and influential songs in a film can be, Up is much more an instrumental score. Giacchino likens it to an opera, although only a couple of songs have lyrics.

There are a lot of on-line resources about the film music, including the composer and producer discussing the music. Compositional elements could be discussed and explored with students.

The book itself is presented with clear easy to read large staves; a great size for students and teachers who don’t like to wear their glasses. Some pieces are neatly 2 pages long, which appeals to a lot of my students and some are considerably longer.  There are some tricky rhythms throughout some of the music, so I would work on those away from the piece and then introduce them and play them for the student.

Easy piano arrangements of 13 pieces from Pixar’s mammoth animated hit. Includes: Carl Goes Up • It’s Just a House • Kevin Beak’n • Married Life • Memories Can Weigh You Down • The Nickel Tour • Paradise Found • The Small Mailman Returns • The Spirit of Adventure • Stuff We Did • We’re in the Club Now • and more.

Au RRP inc GST $26.95 

Order Code: 129727

Available from your favourite music retail store!

Relaxing Music for Piano Solo

Teachers across Australia and New Zealand have been joining our review team to provide real life reviews of new publications.
Winston Hills teacher Dianna writes…
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Thank you so much for sending me the book ‘Relaxing Music for Piano Solo’ to review. I think it has to be one of my favourites!

It says “40 soothing selections including Beautiful Dreamer, Claire de Lune, Fur Elise, Londonderry Air, Pie Jesu, The Swan, To a Wild Rose”.

The pieces range in difficulty from 3rd grade to 6th grade.

There is no fingering on any of the pieces (not necessarily a bad thing though). Most of the pieces are two pages long, but some are longer and page turns can be tricky, but easy to copy the page that needs to be turned and tape it in for performance purposes (except the piece that goes for 6 pages).

The arrangements of the pieces are fantastic though. Some of my favourites are ‘Nimrod’ (Elgar), ‘Largo’ (Handel), ‘The Ash Grove’ (Old Welsh Air), ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusic’ Second Movement (Mozart) and ‘Jupiter’ (Holst).

I was asked to play last minute at a wedding recently. Usually I play the violin, but this time they wanted the piano, and this book was full of pieces just perfect to play.

The selection of repertoire is great. Lots of classical pieces that aren’t too difficult, but well known.

Looks like this would make an ideal book for 40 Piece Challenge students. Older students would find some ‘quick win’ repertoire and younger students would have a plethora of repertoire to continually work on.  A handy book full of useful pieces for any pianist to know!

Order code is 130679 $29.95 from your favourite music retail store!

 

 

Everything We Want in an Incentive Program

Piano teachers across the world are catching on to the 40 Piece Challenge idea. Many piano teachers and bloggers have written about it including the original post from Tim Topham that led us to create the challege in The Piano Teacher magazine in the first place!
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Other teachers from around the world including  Frances WilsonElissa Milne, Carly McDonald, Rebecca Stewart and Samantha Coates have all written about the challenge.

Teacher and Composer Wendy Stevens has created new downloadable charts for teachers. Follow the link to read her whole blog and to get your hands on her downloadable charts.

From Wendy’s blog…

Are you one of the many teachers that is motivating their students with the amazing 30 or 40 piece challenge? If you don’t know anything about it or haven’t tried it yet, stop everything and consider the benefits that teachers from around the world are reporting:

  • Better sight reading skills
  • Exposure to more styles of music
  • A better “sense” of accomplishment for the student
  • Overall faster progress
  • More teacher satisfaction, knowing you are motivating students with music

It might sound too good to be true, but that’s just what it does. It’s everything we really want! The idea is that you challenge your students to learn and polish 30 (or 40) pieces during the year. These can be recital pieces, holiday pieces, pieces for the school talent show, hymn arrangements, method book pieces (as long as they are 16 measures…that’s my rule), or any piece they have to read!

Can My Piano Students Do It?

If you are worried that they can’t possibly get through that many pieces, remember that the key is that you give them not only challenging pieces, and pieces at their level, but also pieces that area easier than their level so that they get through a lot of literature and you can expose them to many styles of music. ALL of this reading of music results in better readers and really gives a sense of accomplishment to students which is paramount especially in the school age years (stay tune for more on attending a “Have You Forgotten What It’s Like to be a Child” workshop!).

Click here to read Wendy’s entire blog post.