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!

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.

Piano Music of Sonny Chua

0101340976Piano teachers across the USA are travelling to Chicago this week to attend the NCKP. As a special treat this year in the exhibitor hall there is an Australian Music Booth! If you are one of our US readers attending the NCKP, go along and check out  Australian composer, Sonny Chua’s music.

If you are not lucky enough to be in Chicago this week, here is a sneak peak inside Sonny Chua’s collection: Piano Music of Sonny Chua. This collection would be fabulous for 40 Piece Challenge students as it includes pieces at a range of levels, so some quick wins as well as some pieces to work towards.

SonnyChuaSonny Chua writes of his Piano Music Collection…

These miniatures were created to taunt, tickle and teach. I wrote these pieces to amuse myself, as much as for the student to perform, and for the audience to participate as our unsuspecting victims.

Even though these works are preceded by descriptive titles, I hope the music itself is just as evocative without its extra-musical references. I believe music is a unique language and can perhaps communicate more richly and mightily than words.

These pieces were great fun to write as they allowed me to explore many aspects of pianistic technique and timbre. It was also immensely enjoyable to dabble as a “sonic character actor” with a range of musical concepts and styles. I hope you will enjoy the craft and the bluff in this quirky collection of piano music.

Piano Music of Sonny Chua (order number 0101340976) is available through these great stores in Australia and available from all good stores in the US via Hal Leonard. The collection includes:

You Dirty Rat (from a Gangster Suite)

YouDirtyRat

 

 

 

 

 

Angel (intermezzo from Sonatina)

Angel

 

 

 

 

 

No. 3 (from Waltz it All About?)
No3

 

 

 

 

No. 12 (from Waltz it All About?)
No12

 

 

 

 

Hoonmobile (from Bogus Boogies)

Hoonmobile

 

 

 

 

 

Headache Crawl (from Bogus Bogies)
HeadacheCrawl

 

 

 

 

TV Zombie (from Bogus Boogies)
TVZombie

 

 

 

 

T-Rex Hungry (from a Day in the Life of T-Rex)
TRexHungry

 

 

 

 

Jamaican Fumble (from Red Hot Rhapsodies)
JamacianFumble

 

 

 

 

Theme & 12 Deviations
ThemeAndDeviations

40 Piece Challenge Stickers!

Another fabulous idea from a clever NSW piano teacher, Catherine.

40PieceChallengeStickersI made my own stickers! I designed stickers using Vistaprint.
The students get a sticker for each piece they complete that has the number so they always know where they are up to.
I also have a matching list where I record the pieces.
It has the added bonus of making their notebook look happy and successful.

What a fabulous design! We love how cheerful they are, Catherine. Thanks for sharing your idea!

Relaxing Music – Grade 5/6+

Sam_Coates_067_cropThe ‘Relaxing Music’ volume contains a wonderful selection of well-known classics for the piano (such as Debussy’s ‘Claire de Lune’) and also features some excellent arrangements of orchestral pieces (such as Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ variation and Holst’s ‘Jupiter’).

As the name of the volume suggests, all of the pieces portray a mood of reflection and tranquillity.

This compilation is mostly suitable for late intermediate to advanced pianists (Grade 6 and above) (containing pieces such as), however there are some ‘easier’ pieces such as Fur Elise which is typically graded at around Grade 5 difficulty.

It would be an excellent addition to any young pianist’s music library.

Big thanks to reviewer Samantha Coates!
130679Song List:
Air (from WATER MUSIC), Air On The G String (from ORCHESTRAL SUITE NO. 3), Aria (from THE ENGLISH PATIENT), The Ash Grove, Ave Verum (Jesu, Word Of God Incarnate), The Bamboo Flute, Barcarolle (from THE TALES OF HOFFMANN (LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN)), Beautiful Dreamer, Canon In D (from ORDINARY PEOPLE), Clair de Lune, Dance Of The Spirits (from ORFEO ED EURIDICE), Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (“Romance”) – Second Movement, Flow Gently, Sweet Afton, Fur Elise, Gymnopedie No. 1, How Can I Keep From Singing, Intermezzo (from CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA), Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring, Jupiter (from THE PLANETS), Largo (from XERXES), Londonderry Air, Mazurka In A Minor Op. 17 – No. 4, Meditation (from THAIS), Minuet, Morning (from PEER GYNT), Nimrod (from ENIGMA VARIATIONS), Pastorale (from CHRISTMAS CONCERTO, Op. 6, No. 8), Pie Jesu, Prelude in B Minor Op. 28 – No. 6
Prelude in C Major (from THE WELL-TEMPERED CLAVIER, BOOK 1), Prelude in E Minor Op. 28 – No. 4, Reverie, Sakura (Cherry Blossoms), Solvejg’s Song, The Swan (Le Cygne) (from CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS), Symphony No. 5 In C-sharp Minor (“Adagietto”) Fourth Movement Excerpt, To A Wild Rose (from WOODLAND SKETCHES), Traumerei, Waltz In A-Flat Major Op. 39 – No. 15, Water Is Wide.

This publication is available from all these fabulous stores. The Australian RRP is $29.95 (inc GST) and the item code for ordering is 130679.

Top Hits of 2014 – Grade 1 plus

Big thanks to Samantha Coates who joins our review team!

ISam_Coates_067_cropt is my pleasure to write a short review on Top Hits of 2014

The Top Hits volume contains an impressive array of songs (16 in total), popular in 2014 and still popular now, ranging from Despicable Me’s ‘Happy’ and Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’ through to pop hits such as John Legend’s ‘All of me’.

The arrangements are for ‘Easy Piano’ – that is, the rhythms have been well simplified and the bass parts do not contain any large leaps or complicated chords.

Whilst a competent Grade 1 student would be able to learn these pieces, some of the rhythms and coordinated required would be more suited to Grade 2 or 3.

Students in higher grades will still get a lot of joy from this book as the chord symbols shown are extremely helpful and a great start for those wanting to read from a chord chart.

137795
Song List:
All Of Me, Am I Wrong, Best Day Of My Life, Dark Horse, Fancy, Happy (from DESPICABLE ME 2), Let It Go (from Disney’s Animated Feature FROZEN), Love Never Felt So Good, Love Someone, Pompeii, Problem, Raging Fire, Sing, Stay With Me, Summer, Timber

Item code is 137795 and the Australian Recommended Retail price is $26.95 and it is available from all these fine retail stores.