Autumn 2020: New Music and Materials

(S3) SAPLINGS: 21 INTERMEDIATE PIANO SOLOS published by Red Leaf Pianoworks  While presenting at and attending the Canadian Music Teachers Conference last summer in Winnipeg, I was introduced to a new collection hot off the press called Saplings. This collection is written with the intermediate pianist in mind and features eleven Canadian...
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Summer 2020: Pupil Saver

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Toccatina No. 5 by Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee, Modern Miniatures for Piano Solo, Book 2 I had a dull moment this weekend (doesn't happen too often) and decided it was time to go through my motivating music in hopes that I could find the perfect piece for one of my teenage students for a talent show. The requirements: it needs to b...
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Spring 2020: New Music & Materials

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Dennis Alexander's Concertino for the Young is an attractive and engaging solo with piano accompaniment that closely mimics classical concerto style. This work, accessible for a later-elementary piano student, is written in typical concerto form with fast first and third movements and a slow second movement. Traditional concerto elements also inclu...
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Pupil Saver: Caribbean Blue

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I teach in a piano camp every summer—it is the highlight of my summer and I so look forward to working with students in this setting. I have just listened to the audition of my prospective student for the camp: a boy in middle school who is playing at the intermediate level. The purpose of the audition is to assess his level of playing and sight re...
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Winter 2020: New Music & Materials Reviews

(S4) TOCCATA "HYGAGAN," OPUS 229by Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee From the FJH Contemporary Keyboard Sheets, Toccata "Hygagan" by Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee is an engaging and virtuosic late-intermediate piano solo.Born in Massachusetts, Rahbee is a first-generation Armenian American. She was a piano major at Juilliard, and a self-taught composer who ...
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Autumn 2019: New Music & Materials

(S4-5) PIANO PIECES by Otilie Suková Very little is known about the composer Otilie Suková (1878–1905), yet a great deal is known about her famous father, Antonín Dvorák. Nonetheless, Bärenreiter Urtext has presented pianists with a gem: a collection of four short piano pieces by this relatively unknown composer. The p...
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Undiscovered Gems of Canadian Pedagogical Piano Literature: The Works of Violet Archer, Jean Coulthard, and Barbara Pentland

Canadian composers Violet Archer, Jeanne Coulthard, and Barbara Pentland were three amazing women composers representing different parts of Canada: Archer from Quebec, Coulthard from British Columbia, and Pentland from Manitoba. Even though they came from and represent the broad, expansive country of Canada, they did have some commonalities: all th...
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Summer 2019: Pupil Saver - Dramatic Chords and Incomparable Views

Rebecca is in her senior year of high school. She is a lovely person who is a talented artist and is also a good pianist. Rebecca leans probably more toward art than music, thus her playing level has stayed around late intermediate to early advanced. Finding music for her that sounds difficult and appealing is often a challenge. At her most recent ...
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Summer 2019: New Music and Materials

(S2) Bastien New Traditions All In One Piano Course, 2B, 3A, 3B, by Lisa, Lori, and Jane Bastien. In a grand family tradition, these materials continue the recently published Bastien New Traditions All In One Piano Course by Lisa, Lori, and Jane Bastien. As with the first five levels in the new series (Primer A through 2A), Lessons, Theory, Techniq...
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Spring 2019: New Music Reviews

 (S1-3) Imaginations Books 1 and 2, by Kevin Olson.  Kevin Olson has a knack for creating fresh and original sounds at every teaching level. While incorporating the reading, rhythmic, and technical skills needed to advance the piano student, Imaginations offers a wide variety of appealing pieces. With titles like "Android Attack," "Pengui...
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January/February 2019 Pupil Saver: The thrill of the risk

My student Katie, 17, enjoys playing the piano as much as she loves playing soccer. From what I hear, she is an aggressive, risk-taking soccer player. The same could be said for her piano playing: she is adventurous with tempo and sometimes aggressive with sound. I needed a piece that would both capitalize on Katie's strengths while encou...
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September/October 2018: Pupil Saver

From the "Motivating Bookshelf Logan is sitting on the piano bench, his mother behind us. Logan and I are discussing repertoire for both short- and long-term goals. Logan is in soccer, tennis, robotics, piano, violin, and a plethora of church activities. Following a polished performance of "The Little White Donkey" from Jacques Ibert's Histoir...
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May/June 2018: Pupil Saver

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 Got a Pupil Saver? We love to hear from you. 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. I have an advancing student who is really interested in playing French music. Although I decided to steer away from Debussy for the moment, I remembered that French c...
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Pupil Saver: Jamaican Rumba by Arthur Benjamin

Once again, my high school student—who seems to be involved in every activity possible—needed a unique piece. I had in mind what I wanted: The piece needed to be fairly short, patterned for quick and easy learning, impressive, and infrequently played (that last requirement was more for me than for the student). I found the perfect piece, Austr...
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Repertoire: Pupil saver

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A cheerful and dependable flower  by Adrienne E. Wiley I love finding new pieces for my students! One of my pupils is ready for character pieces; she is playing late-intermediate literature, and I wanted to find something besides the rather frequently used— although rightly so—Schumann, Gurlitt, Heller, Streabbog, and Burgmüller pieces. I...
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Pupil Saver: Unique; reflective music

Finding interesting late-intermediate literature can be a challenge. In addition to teaching the repertoire standards, I always look for something a bit more out-of- the box, quite often a contemporary composition. I find that the contemporary music of Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee fits my needs perfectly, and her two sets of preludes provide a wea...
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Unique; reflective music

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Finding interesting late-intermediate literature can be a challenge. In addition to teaching the repertoire standards, I always look for something a bit more out-ofthe box, quite often a contemporary composition. I find that the contemporary music of Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee fits my needs perfectly, and her two sets of preludes provide a wealth of ...
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A heavenly, bravura piece

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I am often confronted with the need for intermediate literature that will not only motivate students, but cover up any deficiencies they might have (I am sure we have all had this experience). Case in point: I had a transfer student who could barely sight-read, which made learning every piece take forever, and proper technique, hand position, and p...
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What a Find!

My mother, who is also a piano teacher, enjoys finding and buying piano music for me —even to this day—and she usually finds really great stuff at her public library. Go figure! "Pizzicati" (a polka from the ballet Sylvia) was one of her recent finds. Written by Léo Delibes and arranged by Hans-Günter Heumann, this piece of music was on the top of ...
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A Show-Stopper from Norman Dello Joio

Norman Dello Joio's Simple Sketches (Edward B.Marks/Hal Leonard) provides a rewarding musical and technical challenge for the late-intermediate student. The collection contains three fairly short pieces, the first of which, Allegretto, is my favorite to teach. For some students, the quirky tonality—a trademark of Dello...
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