Summer 2020: New Music & Materials

Emilie Lin has arranged five traditional melodies in her publication Hearts of Asia: Chinese Folk Songs, published by FJH. The first four pieces have lovely, cantabile melodies which are divided between the hands. They also have simple, beautifully written duet parts which could be played by a teacher, parent, or student at the early-intermediate l...
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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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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: Pupil Saver

Olive Dungan's intermediate solo, The Peacock (a Poem without Words) was first published in 1953. I have found that students today still delight in this musical depiction of a beautiful majestic bird. Olive writes in the score, "The composer trusts that the pianist will create the magnificent and slow walk of the peaco...
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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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November/December 2018: Pupil Saver

Rev It Up! David Karp's Toccatina in D Minor (FJH) is a high-energy intermediate piece that will rev up any student. Written almost entirely in the treble clef, the rapid sixteenth notes, syncopated cadences, and interesting mix of major and minor sounds add up to an exciting and riveting contemporary pi...
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July/August 2018: Pupil Saver

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A grand setting for C minor by Carmen Doubrova Some students diligently practice their repertoire pieces, but are less enthused about scales and exercises. Fortunately, long ago, I discovered Ballade from Betty Colley's early-intermediate collection Styles for Piano (Kjos). This piece is a brilliant study of the natural minor scale. The C-mino...
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Linda Mannering
Hello Carmen, Thank you for this article. I cannot find Betty Colley's early-intermediate collection Styles for Piano (Kjos) or ... Read More
Saturday, 21 July 2018 09:33
1 Comment

Pupil Saver: Set your alarm

Students are sure to make time for Kevin Olson's energetic early-intermediate piece Time's Up! (FJH). The imaginative use of changing meters and brisk tempo give this piece a delightful spontaneity and definitely make it an enjoyable introduction to asymmetrical time signatures. The A section, in 5/4 meter, uses the treble clef for both hands. Thou...
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Pupil Saver: Mendelssohn Song without words, Op. 30, No. 6

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Stress reduction at the piano It's exciting to see a student advance after years of diligent work, but often the thought of moving on to larger works is daunting and stressful, especially for those students juggling too many activities. That big piece will never be finished, and interest wanes. One solution for student burnout is Felix Mendels...
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Pupil Saver: Elephant Stomp! by Kevin Olson

If you are looking for music for students who can't sit still during lessons, or who bypass rests like they don't exist, Kevin Olson's late-elementary solo Elephant Stomp (FJH) might be just the thing. This clever piece uses two hands, two feet, and the vast imagination of the student, who must "stomp the floor!" like an elephant. Elephant Stomp is...
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Impressionism for intermediates

Helen Boykin's 1947 impressionistic gem, Seafoam (Schirmer/Hal Leonard), has remained a student favorite for almost seventy years. I've taught this intermediate piece many times, but it is also a solo that profoundly motivated me when I was a young student. The majority of the piece relies on a bold left-hand melody, with the right hand repeating a...
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Repertoire: Tango! (Pupil Saver)

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The intoxicating South American rhythms of Kevin Olson's alluring solo, Tango Argentino (FJH), transport the listener to sunny climes. This piece is loaded with technical variety and sophisticated harmonies, but is without any overwhelming complexity for the performer; it should easily perk up those sluggish students. However, I find Tango ideal fo...
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Imagination and mischief

Students who love stories of magical worlds and mythical creatures will jump at the chance to learn William Gillock's early-intermediate "Elfin Pranks." This whimsical piece set in E minor and cut time is loaded with teaching opportunities. Although "Elfin Pranks" is available in solo form, I prefer to use the version in Gillock's collection Accent...
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Let's order in!

Occasionally I have a student who is reluctant to move past the first method book, or is easily discouraged when things get the least bit challenging. Some are unwilling even to explore past a C-major pentascale. Fortunately, I discovered "Pepperoni Pizza," a captivating little piece from Mona Rejino's elementary-level collection, Just for Kids (Ha...
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A Party for the Fingers

Margaret Goldston's Jazztoccata (Alfred) has been a huge success with my late-intermediate students. The composition's strong rhythmic drive exudes energy, and the C-minor key gives the piece an introspective quality that my older students welcome. One student beamed with delight as she told me that it sounded like a piece a professional pianist wo...
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