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

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

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.

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!

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

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.

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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!

PRISM – KATY PERRY (Easy Piano – Grade One)

00124409FCCalling all Katy Perry fans!

This book features well-written and easy arrangements of songs from the DELUXE edition of the pop diva’s 2013 album ‘Prism’.

The page layout is crisp, fresh and easy to read – with simple key signatures and uncluttered staff spacing. Rhythmically, the songs are relatively straightforward, with only dotted rhythms, tied notes and triplets needing a special mention.

The melody is generally taken by the right hand (with left hand chordal accompaniment) and sounds true to the original, allowing students to quickly learn their favourite parts and sing along… perfect for budding singers who want to self accompany! Chord symbols range from basic root position (i.e C, G, Em) through to dominant/major/minor 7 and 9 (Birthday, Unconditionally), suspensions (Love Me), add2 (Ghost) and b5 (By The Grace of God).

Lyrics are included, but due to some suggestive content, the book may be better suited to teen-aged pianists. Whether you’re seeking to just play along with the melody, or to take a more in depth look at the the harmonic structure and form, this book is full of options for students (and their teachers!)

A perfect addition to the music library of all KP fans…. I give it 4 stars!

Thanks to Toowoomba piano teacher Courtney Feldman for this review.

Item code is 124409. This book is available from your favourite music retail store.