New from Elena Kats-Chernin

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Elena Kats-Chernin has been writing piano music since she was a little girl. In Piano Village, a mixed collection of pieces of up to five minutes. There are works from intermediate level to advanced, ranging in mood, theme and texture with the warmth, energy and vivacity that her fans will have come to expect. Some titles like Autumn, Blue Tears and Zerno are more reflective, Russian Toccata and Dance of the Paper Umbrellas verge on the virtuosic, then there are works like Black Tie, Slicked Back Tango and Cocktail Rag which are best described as party pieces. The collection also includes Eliza Aria and Russian Rag, two of Elena’s greatest hits. In compiling this book, I have paid close attention to the interpretations of the composer herself, and have tried to give a detailed guide to dynamics, phrasing and articulation. Tempos are suggestions only and often include a broad range to cater for taste and ability. Pedal is to be used at the discretion of the performer. I have included some specific markings where necessary.

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You can read more here

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 50 P 1b

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”

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Weston – “I can play better”

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Amica – newest member!

 

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!

 

 

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)

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Angel (intermezzo from Sonatina)

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No. 3 (from Waltz it All About?)
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No. 12 (from Waltz it All About?)
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Hoonmobile (from Bogus Boogies)

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Headache Crawl (from Bogus Bogies)
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TV Zombie (from Bogus Boogies)
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T-Rex Hungry (from a Day in the Life of T-Rex)
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Jamaican Fumble (from Red Hot Rhapsodies)
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Theme & 12 Deviations
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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!
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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.

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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.