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2 minutes reading time (355 words)

A day at the beach

The Grade 2 Lessons Book of the Michael Aaron Piano Course (Alfred) is home to a tried-and-true pupil saver, "The Breakers." The piece is excellent for recitals, and especially appeals to older beginners who yearn for a more musical and difficult sound. 

"The Breakers" is easy to learn and easy to teach. It is a good introduction to 6/8 meter, as there is either a note on every beat, or tied dotted quarter notes that take up the entire measure. 

Aaron asks us to picture the surging tide as it rolls in (students can easily hear this in the 6/8 pattern of the piece). He also advises us to bring out the hidden melody in the treble, giving the music "flow" and musicality. Measures 1-4 introduce the broken-chord patterns that occur in every measure of the piece.

I delay the poco ritard indicated in m. 14, moving it to beats 4-6 of measure 16. This procedure sets up a more dramatic return to the a tempo recap at measure 18. Measures 13-16 illustrate this passage.

My students agree that Aaron should have ended the piece with a crossed hand to Treble C. As seen in measures 28-32, the piece as written ends with the dominant G in the right hand.

For a duo performance, I suggest enhancing the chord structure. I have written an accompaniment part. Click here to download a .pdf of this accompaniment. 

"The Breakers" is a crowd pleaser. In fact, parents and grandparents often request this music after hearing a student perform the piece. 

—Juliana Michie

Got a Pupil Saver? If you are interested in submitting your Pupil Saver for consideration, please contact Susan Geffen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

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