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

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.

Journey Through The Classics Complete

00110217FCA review by NSW piano teacher, Sharon Ellam.

Journey Through The Classics Complete With 2 CDs

Hal Leonard Piano Repertoire Elementary Through Intermediate

Compiled and Edited by Jennifer Linn 98 Essential Masterworks

What a delightful collection of ‘old faithfuls’ and several pleasant surprises!

My first delight was the pretty paper inside! With an artistic, yellowed, aged look, big note format, clear sections with increasing difficulty, well packaged CDs, a brief musical dictionary of common terms, a page of blank large manuscript and a Repertoire Performance Log inside the back cover, this book is visually and functionally appealing.

This compilation would be my ‘no brainer’ recommendation as a purchase for any young piano teacher needing some inspiration with young students, and students (adult or child) who are looking for one volume that enables a progressive journey through the classics with clearly identifiable goals.

This Collection combines four ‘Journey Through The Classics’ Books – Elementary, Late Elementary, Early Intermediate and Intermediate – beginning with pieces at P Plate Piano level progressing through to about 4th Grade level.

I have to put my hand up for pouncing on suitable 40 Piece Challenge pieces such as The Pennywhistle by Gottlob Turk and Gurlitt’s Little Bird Op. 117 No. 7. Four clear sections (Books 1 – 4) begin with a Reference Chart identifying the CD track number, Title, Composer, Era, Key, Meter and Challenge Elements.

The Challenge Elements clearly identify the progression of musical elements to be mastered in each piece.

The corresponding CD tracks, with quality solo recordings by Jennifer Linn (I was impressed by the clarity of the recordings in terms of articulation and colour), are masterful in their simplicity.

I sat all night listening to the CDs whilst following the music & couldn’t get enough (and that was after two days of sitting at the piano ‘tinkling’ to my heart’s delight)!

Highlights:

Shepherd’s Flute by Tat’iana Salutrinskaya

Bourree in D Minor by Graupne

Trumpet Tune by Duncombe

Waltz by Vogel

Arabian Air by Le Couppey

Morning Prayer Op. 101, No. 2 by Gurlitt

Tarantella Op. 14, No. 8 by Lynes

Church Bells by Camidge

Sad at Heart Op. 47, No. 5 by Fuchs

Sarabande by Pachelbel

Distant Bells Op. 63, No. 6 by Steabbog

The Bear by Rebikoff

Theme and Variation Op. 228 by Gurlitt

Tolling Bell Op. 125, No. 8 by Heller

The Limpid Stream Op. 100, No 7 by Burgmuller

Quiet Morning by Maykapar

Old French Song Op. 39, No 16  by Tchaikovsky

Sonatina in A Minor by Benda

By the Spring Op. 101, No. 5 by Gurlitt

The Avalanche Op. 45, No. 2 by Heller

The Storm Op. 109, No. 13 by Burgmuller

Challenge feedback from the United States

WiltonIowa

US Piano Teacher, Crystal from Wilton, Iowa writes:

I started the 40 piece challenge in September after our summer recital.  It’s been a hit with my students for lots of reasons!  They like that they can accomplish something fairly quickly.  They get introduced to lots of music.  And since we are writing all their titles and composers down, they can see their progress in writing!

I like the program for additional reasons like I can introduce an easy version of a classic that they would otherwise show no interest.  I see excitement when they add another song to their list.  And I think it emphasizes the importance of  reaching for a goal.  The hidden success is that they are playing more pieces and developing more confidence.

I am half way through the year.   I will probably have all level certificates come September.  It will be an exciting accomplishment!

How is the challenge going in your studio this year?

2015 Certificates are now available to download here.

The 40 Thing Challenge

We love how teachers around the world are taking the idea of the 40 Piece Challenge and making it their own!

Sydney Piano Teacher, Samantha Coates writes about how the 40 Piece Challenge has morphed for her into the 40-Thing Challenge.

Sam_Coates_067_crop

Samantha explores the question of what constitutes a piece and how to avoid neglecting important things like composition, improvisation, general knowledge, aural skills, technical work, transposition and theory in favour of learning as many pieces as possible.

You can read all about how Samantha is structuring the challenge in her studio by clicking here.

Samantha will be presenting at the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference in July in Melbourne. Not to be missed!