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PIANO Issue Eight

The Art of the

In-Home Concert

November 2015

Busy Teachers Guide to

Solo Repertoire Collections

Take the Pirate Challenge!


Our Contributors

What’s On

Editor’s Letter

– Jeremy Siskind

Jeremy Siskind, pianist, composer and educator is the winner of the 2012 Nottingham International Jazz Piano Competition and the second place winner of the 2011 Montreux Solo Piano Competition. As a pianist, he’s performed both jazz and classical music at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, in Japan, Switzerland, Thailand, England, India, France, and China. His 2012 CD, Finger-Songwriter, was hailed as “the most exciting musical project I’ve heard in a long time” by the weblog Jazz Police. www.jeremysiskind.com – Carly McDonald

Carly McDonald runs a music business; Novar Music. In addition to teaching 43 piano students each week she manages 14 music teachers in 5 locations across Adelaide. Carly has a special interest in early music education for children. She is passionate about students developing a strong foundation of skills and a healthy voice for expression throughout their lives. Carly is passionate about teaching (with a little stylish flair) and is the founder and publisher of www.creativepianoprofessional.com

– Thembi Shears

Welcome to Issue Eight of The Piano Teacher magazine, and my last issue as editor! After initially working as a musician and music teacher, I started working at Hal Leonard Australia fifteen years ago, in a sales role. Since then my job has evolved and I have been lucky enough to have been given the freedom to develop my ideas, however crazy they may have seemed at the time! I’m very proud to have created The Piano Teacher magazine and to have been involved in publishing and promoting the Getting to…books, establishing the Choral Reading Days and launching the 40 Piece Challenge. I was also delighted to have the opportunity to travel across Australia and New Zealand meeting music teachers on tours I organised for local and International educators and composers including Christopher Norton, Randall Faber, Elissa Milne, George Torbay, Tim Lautzenheiser, Steve Smith, Herman Knoll, Carly McDonald, Thembi Shears and Angela Turner.

Runs a busy piano studio in Brisbane, where she teaches 60+ students from early childhood beginners through to adults. She holds a First Class Honours degree in Primary Education, with a major in Inclusive Education, and has worked with many students with specialised learning needs in both the school classroom and music studio setting. www.thembishears.com.au

The Piano Teacher magazine began as an idea I had back in 2011 when I had returned to work (part-time) after my second maternity leave. I wanted to create a publication for piano teachers that would be a useful resource they could keep and use as a reference. The first issue of The Piano Teacher magazine took eighteen months to develop from initial concept to printing. I was overwhelmed with all your lovely, positive feedback for issue one and since then I have produced a copy every six months.

– Angela Turner

I was lucky enough to have wordsmith extraordinaire, Elissa Milne as a consultant who helped steer me in the right direction, especially in those initial issues of the magazine. Since 2012 our team has grown and I’d like to say a big thank you to all of my contributors and collaborators but especially to Elissa Milne, Angela Turner, Carly McDonald, Thembi Shears and Rosetta Mills for their invaluable contribution to the magazine over the past four years and for supporting me in my role as editor.

Angela Turner lectures across a range of practical and academic areas at the Queensland Conservatorium, and formerly at the School of Education & Professional Studies, Griffith University. Since 1998, Angela has been a specialist piano lecturer at the Young Conservatorium, where she is Coordinator of the Intermediate piano program. An AMEB Examiner, Angela also maintains an active performance profile as pianist in the international award-winning Lyrebird Trio.

So, where to now? Well, I am off to pursue a career in the culinary arts and I am leaving the magazine in the very capable hands of my friend and colleague, Nathan Rippon. Nathan has been working in the music industry for over fifteen years, eight of those being here at Hal with me. Nathan is well known for his infectious enthusiasm, his encyclopaedic knowledge of every music shop around Australasia and his love of music, especially French Horn Concerti! Many of you will meet Nathan at upcoming workshops in January and you will hear from him from the Facebook HUB, Piano Club and via the 40 Piece Challenge site.

– Eric Baumgartner

Eric Baumgartner received jazz degrees from Boston’s Berklee College of Music and Chicago’s DePaul University. He works as a composer, arranger and clinician for the Willis Music Co. and the Hal Leonard Corp. His dozens of works include the popular jazz series Jazzablities and Jazz Connections. He also creates the CD orchestrations for many Willis titles. Eric has conducted teacher workshops throughout the US, Australia and the UK. Eric currently lives in Atlanta where he performs with various jazz, pop and theater groups.

– Peter Hurley

Peter is currently lecturer in Aural Studies and Topics in Musicology – Music Theatre and Cabaret at the Conservatorium of Music and the VCA at the University of Melbourne. He continues to be involved in curriculum development and as an assessor with the AMEB.

I would like to wish all of my readers a wonderful Christmas and New Year and all the very best for 2016 and beyond!

Peter has lectured and taught at the VCA, Box Hill Institute, Melba Memorial Conservatorium, the VMTA, and run workshops for the Suzuki Talent Education Association, and Yamaha Music Foundation. In addition, Peter maintains a small private practice of piano students.

www.appca.com.au

Stay in Touch The Piano Teacher is published and mailed each May and November, but there are lots of ways to stay in touch with us in between issues. Send your feedback, ideas and photo or article submissions via email: australianpiano@halleonard.com.au Due dates for submissions are: January 31st for the May edition July 31st for the November edition Facebook: facebook.com.au/AustralianPianoTeachersMusicHUB Twitter: @PianoTeacherHUB 40 Piece Challenge: 40piecechallenge.com.au Certificates are available for 20, 30, 40, 50, 80 and 100

And introducing our incoming editor Nathan Rippon!

Christopher Norton was born in New Zealand in 1953. Most well-known for his Microjazz series, Christopher is a composer, producer, arranger and educationalist and has written stage musicals, ballet scores, piano music, popular songs and orchestral music as well as jingles and signature tunes for TV and radio. He lectures all over the world on aspects of his work and likes to integrate traditional teaching methods with aspects of modern technology.

03 Issue Eight

July 2017, Adelaide

— Gina Wake

– Christopher Norton

The Piano Teacher

Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference

November 2015

Nathan is well known for his infectious enthusiasm and love of music, especially French Horn Concerti. A consummate pianist and saxophonist, Nathan will be coordinating the publication of The Piano Teacher magazine from 2016.


Melbourne Teaching Young Beginners Date: Sunday January 17th Presenter: Thembi Shears Where: Pat’s Music, 940 Centre Road, Oakleigh South Presented by Pat’s Music and The Piano Teacher

Piano Educators’ Day Date: Monday January 18th and Tuesday January 19th Presenters: Thembi Shears and many more! Where: Bernie’s Musicland, 381 Canterbury Road, Ringwood Presented by Bernie’s Musicland

For the very young beginner, we often find different teaching challenges with wiggly bottoms, short attention spans and developing physical coordination. At this young age, we have a wonderful opportunity to explore the world of sound with students, developing a foundation of aural awareness, eye tracking, rhythm and perceptual ability. In this session we will look at the activity-based My First Piano Adventures series for the 4-6 year old age group, which focuses on the development of aural perception and internal rhythm, while still teaching essential skills in reading music. By understanding that the motivation at this age is FUN and PLAY, we can harness the child’s inherent love of music and truly engage them in their earliest piano lesson experiences.

Bernies Music Land invites you to an exciting day exclusively for piano educators’. It will include tips, strategies, and useful information when teaching. There will be presentations from a range of guests, including examination bodies; AMEB, ANZCA, ABRSM, and Trinity London. Come and be inspired for the year ahead. Gain all the latest information and advice to ensure you have a successful 2016! Thembi runs a busy private studio in Brisbane, Australia, where she enjoys the challenge of making piano lessons enjoyable and rewarding for each individual student. Learning piano can be a lonely activity, and Thembi is therefore passionate about creating a community of learners to bring piano lessons into students’ social lives. If you’re looking for a new challenge for your students in 2016, come see Thembi present topics on teaching younger beginners, engaging students who struggle with traditional models of teaching and the new PIRATE CHALLENGE! To book, go to www.musicland.com.au

Not forgetting about our 7+ year olds, Thembi will also be demonstrating some of the numerous games and activities she uses to get students ‘off the bench’, having fun, and engaging with their learning in different ways. Interested in how to teach with Piggy-Pushups, Playdough and Piano Board Games? Want fresh ideas for motivating students and keeping your lessons new and exciting with things like The 40 Piece Challenge, Piano Camp and Piano Parties? This is the fun-filled session for you! To book, go to www.thepianoteacher.com.au

Professional Development: What’s on around Australia Adelaide

Brisbane

Annual Summer Conference Date: Thursday January 14th and Friday January 15th Presenters: Nick Peterson, Carly McDonald and many more! Where: Seymour College, Glen Osmond Theme: Teaching for Today, Learning for Tomorrow Presented by Music Teacher Association of South Australia To book, go to www.mtasa.com.au

Teaching Young Beginners and Business Basics Date: Thursday January 21st Presenters: Carly McDonald and Thembi Shears Where: AMEB, 9 Nathan Ave, Ashgrove Presented by The Piano Teacher

Sydney Professional Development for teachers Date: Wednesday 20th January Presenter: Thembi Shears Where: Grand Pittwater Function Centre North Ryde RSL cnr Magdala & Pittwater Roads, North Ryde. Plenty of parking is available. Lunch and beverages can be purchased on site. Presented by Music Teacher Association of NSW

Want some fresh ideas for motivating students and keeping your lessons new and exciting? Looking for some inspiration for 2016? Need to get your piano teaching business in shape? This full day workshop (10-4pm) is not to be missed! To book, go to www.thepianoteacher.com.au JULY – SAVE THE DATE! Date: Saturday July 2nd and Sunday July 3rd Music Teachers Alan Lane Memorial Weekend Brisbane Where: AMEB, 9 Nathan Ave, Ashgrove Presenters: Tim Topham, Samantha Coates, Daniel McFarlane, Therese Milanovic, Angela Turner and many more! Look out for more details from February 2016 on www.mtaq.org.au

Teaching Students with Learning Challenges 1.30 – 3.30pm Teaching students with a ‘label’ doesn’t need to be daunting; in fact, it might be the most rewarding teaching you ever do. Learn about the individualities of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Dyslexia, and discover practical strategies for effectively teaching these children in your studio. In this session we will discuss the specific learning needs of children with diagnosed learning disorders and disabilities, particularly looking at effective communication, the use of concrete-materials for conceptual understanding, and exploring plenty of off-the-bench games and activities to keep students engaged in individual and group lessons. To book, go to www.musicnsw.com.au

Teaching Young Beginners 10am – 12pm For the very young beginner, we often find different teaching challenges with wiggly bottoms, short attention spans and developing physical coordination. At this young age, we have a wonderful opportunity to explore the world of sound with students, developing a foundation of aural awareness, eye tracking, rhythm and perceptual ability. In this session we will look at the activity-based My First Piano Adventures series for the 4-6 year old age group, which focuses on the development of aural perception and internal rhythm, while still teaching essential skills in reading music. By understanding that the motivation at this age is FUN and PLAY, we can harness the child’s inherent love of music and truly engage them in their earliest piano lesson experiences.

4 The Piano Teacher

Not forgetting about our 7+ year olds, Thembi will also be demonstrating some of the numerous games and activities she uses to get students ‘off the bench’, having fun, and engaging with their learning in different ways. Interested in how to teach with Piggy-Pushups, Playdough and Piano Board Games? Want fresh ideas for motivating students and keeping your lessons new and exciting with things like The Pirate Challenge, Piano Camp and Piano Parties? This is the fun-filled session for you!

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The Piano Teacher


music and the arts; and fellow musicians, many of whom attend out of obligation or self-interest — hoping to score a new professional connection or find inspiration for their own music-making. While I greatly appreciated the support these audiences provide, they didn’t fulfill my desire for service because they weren’t generally oriented to respond emotionally to the music. Their wide knowledge base about music meant that they were largely analysing, comparing, and judging rather than immersing themselves in a musical experience. The desire for a different kind of audience led me to start pursuing in-home concerts in the summer of 2012. In the last three years, my chamber jazz trio has performed about 90 ‘house concerts’ in 24 different US states.

The Art of the In-home Concert

– by Jeremy Siskind

The desire for a different kind of audience led me to start pursuing in-home concerts in the summer of 2012. In the last three years, my chamber jazz trio has performed about 90 ‘house concerts’ in 24 different US states.

Nearly everyone in my family is either a teacher or a doctor, so I’ve always been taught to place a high value on service. When I decided to pursue playing the piano professionally, it was with the idea of service in mind — is there a better way to serve the world, I reasoned, than to dedicate one’s life to making people laugh and cry, holding a mirror up to society, overwhelming people with beauty and truth: in short, to make art? In my imagination, concert halls overflowed with grateful patrons, patrons who walked a little taller exiting the auditorium, having laughed at my leggieros, been enlivened by my allegros, and cried at my lentos.

The idea of house concerts is simple — a brave host allows their living room to serve as a makeshift concert hall for an evening. Concerts are free for the hosts, but it’s their job to gather an audience of at least 20–40 community members to hear the music. Herein lies the beauty — while the host, a piano owner, is perhaps wealthy or musical or both, the audience members who they invite could be nearly anyone: their daughter’s math teacher; a workout partner from the gym; the mailman or local police officer; their next-

a very small way, I’m an ambassador spreading the word about the music that I love.

This invitation strategy engenders a diverse audience — often, in fact, many audience members aren’t accustomed to attending concerts. As we’ve toured the country, meeting people from all walks of life, we’ve made a rewarding discovery: people are hungry for art music! Many would never seek it out themselves because they don’t know which piece or performer they would most enjoy, they can’t afford the ticket price at the symphony, or they’re just not motivated to leave their home in this age of Google, YouTube and Netflix.

Of course, with different venues and hosts for each concert, we’ve had failures as well as successes. I’ve had to play on pianos that were unintentionally ‘prepared’ in certain octaves, we’ve had a dog vomit on the ‘stage’ right where my saxophonist was meant to stand, we’ve had noisy children, broken air conditioners, and inebriated hecklers unaware of proper ‘concert etiquette.’ However, the vast majority of our concerts have been the kind of events that live on fondly in the embers of my memory long after the final note has sounded.

But even (especially!) those with no musical experience and knowledge were often moved by the experience and their responses have given me the sense of service that I seek. I’ve listened as audience members profess that they came to a concert fuming about an incident at work or with their family only to be disarmed by the musical experience. I had an audience member write to me after the concert, saying, ‘Thank you for the awakening of my heart tonight.’ And I frequently hear a surprised audience member remark, ‘I didn’t think that I like jazz, but now I think I do.’ When I perform at these house concerts, I feel that, in

As musicians, we’re remarkably fortunate to have a passionate, intimate, and inspired community. However, sometimes the very intimacy of our community pushes away those who are on the outside. People all over the world feel distant and estranged from some of the musical styles that we perform, teach, and love. My recommendation to you, my fellow music lover, is this: be an ambassador! Host a house concert and invite people into your home, and, thus, into our community. Your students, friends, and local artists will all walk a little taller on the way out.

Books by Jeremy!

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However, when I began to concertise, my reality looked quite different — all around me, all but the most distinguished performers were practically begging audiences to attend their performances. I found concerts mostly attended by two very small sectors of the community — the ‘cultural elite,’ who often come armed with preconceived opinions about 296925

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door neighbor; their childhood friend; members of their church, synagogue, or mosque; their dental hygienist.

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The Busy Teachers’ Guide to Repertoire:

Solo Collections – by Angela Turner

There’s something very exciting about discovering and working with repertoire that you know students are going to engage with, including finding composers and works that are lesser-known to Australian audiences. In amongst the 1000 volumes (and still counting!) of solo repertoire that I’ve reviewed in the past year, there were a few collections that genuinely stood out in terms of the quality and interest in the writing, and pedagogical strengths. I could go on for some time, such is the depth of great music out there. But for starters, here are a few discoveries to share!

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Looking for exciting new solo repertoire ideas for your students? In the past 12 months, Angela Turner has played through about 1000 volumes of solo repertoire, cover-to-cover, in the quest to find gems for developing pianists. Angela’s presentations on repertoire (ranging from pre-preliminary levels to approximately Grade 6 on the AMEB scale) at the recent Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference were such a hit, we present her short list here for those who requested a recap, or who couldn’t make it to Melbourne. Enjoy! The Piano Teacher

© Copyright by Deutscher Verlag für Musik Leipzig Used By Permission

I’m sure we all have our favourite jazz/popular genre pieces, perhaps including works of Christopher Norton and Kerin Bailey, who are such wellestablished favourites of Australian teachers. German composer Manfred Schmitz’s work may or may not be familiar to you — a few of his ‘Jazz Inventions’ appeared in AMEB volumes in Series 15, and there are a handful of his jazz inspired pieces in the ‘Getting To’ series. I’m an unabashed admirer of his work. His volume of 25 Jazz Inventions (Deutsche Verlag für Musik) are obviously referencing Bach’s two-part inventions, but presented using Schmitz’s more contemporary sounding themes. As you would expect in inventions, these works are excellent for cultivating independence and control between the hands, featuring answering phrases and imitation. The various voice lines are able to be followed clearly, which allows a young player to really be able to concentrate on and bring out the answering phrases, and articulations. For young players, the writing fits very nicely under the hand, and is a wonderful introduction to the listening of different lines and parts. The volume’s works range from approximately Grade 2 to Grade 5 (AMEB), and might be useful as 8

precursors before actual Bach inventions. If you have students who are more interested in popular repertoire, this would be a great way of developing classical control techniques, in a jazzy, modernsounding disguise! Manfred Schmitz has also produced a ‘Mini’ series of books, including the titles Mini Jazz, Mini Rock and Mini Tango. Covering a general blues/jazz style, with (classic) Rock’n’roll, and Tango inspired pieces, the pieces range from a couple of lines to a few pages in length. My favourite of the volumes would be Mini Tango, which contains both solos and a few duets, ranging from Preliminary to about Grade 5. The earliest pieces in the collection feature a lot of answering phrases, and like the Jazz Inventions, would be excellent little mini studies in articulations between the hands. These pieces don’t work without attention to these details, so play them without to your students to demonstrate what a difference those details can make! The whole book is worth exploring, but check out Tango for Two (approximately Grade 3) and Tango Aurora (approximately Grade 4) if you’re running short on time!

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a jazz style is Mike Schoenmehl. His diverse career p has seen him active as a jazz pianist, lecturer at universities, and editor of popular music for the German publishers Schott. You may have previously seen his piece Sherlock Holmes in the Preliminary Piano for Leisure syllabus. His collection Piano Studies in Pop (Schott) is a standout volume, containing 17 engaging intermediate level pieces. So far, my students have particularly enjoyed Melancholy Reflections, Train Journey, and Disco Visit (all mid– intermediate levels).

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in the jazz piano world. Now a Professor of Piano at Western Michigan University, his 2012 debut at Carnegie Hall featured Debussy’s Etudes in the first half, and jazz improvisations in the second half. His book Jazz Etude Inspirations (Hal Leonard) rates as one of the best pedagogical jazz piano volumes I’ve seen. Writing pieces in the style of jazz greats including Duke Ellington, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, and Count Basie, Siskind also provides recommended listenings for each of the musicians he’s drawn inspiration from. Brief backgrounds to the work and some general teaching points are helpful to contextualise. As a volume that helps students develop an appreciation and stylistic understanding of some of the jazz greats, as opposed to learning something that’s ‘just jazzy’, you can’t go past this score. My pick of the pieces here is Pineapple Woman, directly inspired by Herbie Hancock’s funky Watermelon Man (and also Cantaloupe Island in my ears.) It’s approximately Grade 4–5 AMEB.

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Moving away from jazz, but still in the popular realm, the compositions of Ludovico Einaudi are gathering momentum and developing awareness in the piano teaching world. This Italian pianist / composer is arguably best known (outside of Italy) for his recent work on the soundtrack of the French film The Intouchables. His works have several million views on YouTube, testifying to his music’s general appeal — an expressive popular style combined with 123854 minimalism. Teenagers tend to love the repeated patterns and the flowing style, which makes them sound good without extensive note learning. You can find his most appealing Primavera in the excellent compilation volume River Flows in You (Hal Leonard). Einaudi’s ’best of’ volume (Ricordi, approximately Grades 2–7) contains some of his most popular piano works, including I giorni [The Days] (approximately Grade 5); well worth exploring with student not Copyright Š 2006 Chester Music Limited This arrangement Copyright Š 2014 Chester Music only Limited for performance, but from a compositional International137581 Copyright Secured All Rights Reserved point of view. How Einaudi is able to extend Reprinted by Permission ideas, with subtle changes, can provide valuable understandings in harmony, structure, improvisation, and interpretation. It’s also important to note that Einaudi’s work does tend to ask for large stretches, so is generally better suited to teenagers and adults.

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11 Issue Eight

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For the youngest players, there were a number of interesting standout volumes. Carol Klose’s Coral Reef Suite (Hal Leonard) contains classical contemporary sounding, atmospheric pieces, all at around a Preliminary level. All of the pieces in the volume have clear pedagogical motives, but are also strikingly artistic for the level. Much of the time it seems to me as if to be experimenting with sound and physical gestures, at times almost improvisatory in nature. The Angelfish Arabesque is a very clever little piece, Copyright © 1994 by HAL LEONARD CORPORATION helping to develop the technique of passing smoothlyInternational Copyright Secured All Rights Reserved between the hands, and a feel and ear for evenness 2 in spacing. The same notes are played in different registers (useful for reinforcing the finding and 296354 placement), and thus there is regular hand crossing, using only fingers 2 and 3 in both hands.

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Like the Coral Reef Suite, Mona Reinjo Circus Suite (also Hal Leonard) is another similarly striking volume for Preliminary level players, but this time with pieces of a general circus theme.

12 The Piano Teacher

2

Now looking towards more classically oriented collections, I have always wished that there were more works written by the so-called ‘impressionist’ composers, suited to earlier grade level players. At a pinch, there are a handful of pieces prior to and around the Grade 5 level, but mostly it’s in those late intermediate and advanced levels that 296664 we start to encounter these sound worlds, colours, and techniques. One composer filling this void is American composer pedale simile Jennifer Linn, with her volume Les Petites Impressions (Hal Leonard), containing works from approximately a Grade 3–6 level. La marée de soir [Evening Tide] is a personal highlight: a charming piece that could be technically tackled by a solid Grade 3 level student, but it requires some interpretative thought, and may generally sit more 296722 meaningfully with a Grade 4 level player. It looks (and sounds) much more difficult on the page than it actually is, with lots of repeating hand positions cresc. moving through the octaves. With a little analysis, students should zoom through the note learning aspect of this piece. Pedal is an important aspect of this work, but is not overly challenging to execute well in this piece. Helpfully, the volume also includes Copyright © 2002 by HAL LEONARD CORPORATION a glossary of the French musical terms used, so there International Copyright Secured All Rights Reserved are no excuses in not understanding terms! 296843 21

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13 Issue Eight

November 2015

The Piano Teacher


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William Gillock is a revered American pedagogical keyboard composer, but his general awareness is still growing in Australia. His work can always be safely trusted to be of a quality craft and musicianship. His compositions — particularly for young elementary and intermediate level players — often make the most of the full keyboard, and use the piano in such a way as to not sound like a simple piece. There are many wonderful Gillock volumes available; for pieces in the Preliminary to about Grade 2 range, try William Gillock Classic Repertoire – Elementary (Willis Music Company). There are numerous character pieces, with Little Flower Girl of Paris particularly proving 2. popular with my own students. Charming to the Fine learners, it is also a work that can be used to develop coordination control of different touches between the hands, and features a left-hand melody.

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In Australian repertoire, it’s hard to go past Elena Kats-Chernin’s collection Twelve One-Page Piano Pieces (Boosey and Hawkes). Featuring short (but rarely actually fitting on one page!) pieces, there are many excellent pieces, including the spirited Cinema (which is in the new AMEB Series 17 Grade 6 volume), and Russian Waltz (approximately Grade 4) which is based upon the popular Russian Rag (also in the A.Mus.A syllabus).

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14 The Piano Teacher

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Speaking of examination systems (and remaining within the ‘Commonwealth’!), some teachers may be aware of the Royal Conservatory Music Examinations system, in Canada. It’s also used increasingly in the US. The Celebrations Series (Frederick Harris Music) contains 12 graded volumes of repertoire (starting with two books covering the mid-method book track/early preparatory levels). There are separate ‘Repertoire’ and ‘Piano Etude’ books, and are a œœ œœ œœ œœ superb collection of materials, including (generally ) ( ) ( ) ( ) œ œ œ many composers that are not commonly heard inœ Australia. A new series (2015) was released in March this year, replacing the similarly excellent 2008 series.

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In Australia, the AMEB syllabus — particularly the graded exam publications — are dominant, and it’s been an exciting year with Series 17 coming into play. Editor David Lockett (pictured left) has done Happy exploring! an amazing job of putting the series together, with genuinely musical selections that should appeal to 979-0-051-24630-4 both young and older learners.

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15 Issue Eight

November 2015

The Piano Teacher


Enrolment and Lesson Cancellation Outlining your process of enrolment creates clarity for both parties. In my studio we have an enrolment form to complete giving basic student information, it also outlines our image and video release policy. Upon receipt of a completed and signed enrolment form, lessons commence. I would recommend you have a firm idea of what you require for cancelling lesson enrolment. If you require a terms notice, just say that. Being upfront about this will save both parties trouble later on. If you anticipate continued enrolment throughout the school year, it is a good idea to include that information for parents. As much as something may seem common knowledge to us, it may not be for someone else. How about adding a sentence such as:

Make-up Madness and Enrolment Fatigue: How to Alleviate your Ailments with Studio Policy

Business Fundamentals: Studio Policy – by Carly McDonald

Each of us has a ‘way we do things’ and our studios are no different. When it comes to communicating the way things are done in your studio, having a studio policy can be the difference between frustrating misunderstandings and clear expectations. There are common gripes we hear from teachers; missed lessons, last minute cancellations, billing, late payments, and ‘catch-up lessons’. These are all matters that can be mitigated to a large extent by concise communication of studio policy from the outset. A policy is a statement of intent, a document that encompasses your services and expectations and allows potential students to accept or reject this before engaging you. When a new student enquires about lessons in my studio, they are emailed our enrolment form and studio policy. Then if they choose to come on board they have done so with open eyes and clear expectations about the service and the responsibilities that comes with being a member of the studio. So now that we have established that having studio policy is fundamental to your studio’s smooth running (no matter how large or small) what should such a policy cover?

Service Offering Say what you will do, what your responsibilities are, and how you approach teaching. For example: ‘My Fabulous Music Studio’ provides students with a unique environment for individual music lessons tailored to their specific learning requirements.

PLEASE NOTE: Lesson enrolment is considered ongoing. Minimum notice for lesson withdrawal is five weeks.

Tuition Fees and Payment This is the most vital area of your studio policy. It is often the section that causes the most consternation for teachers when writing their expectations. However, it is very important that you clearly state what is expected. Areas to include are: • What do you charge and when? • How many weeks a year do you teach and how is this arranged? • When is the account due and how is it payable? Any other information about fees you charge and what they include.

Here is a suggestion for the tuition policy:

Other Inclusions

All fees are based on a school term averaging 10 weeks. Accounts will be sent by email prior to the school term and fees are payable within two weeks of the receipt of the account. This not only helps with administration, but also demonstrates firm commitment. Where there are special circumstances, we are quite willing to look at alternative payment schedules. Payments should be paid by direct deposit to ‘Your Fabulous Music Studio’.

Performance

Books and Materials

45 minute lesson term cost $zyx

Will you source and invoice for books and materials directly to parents or will the student need to source the materials? Including your expectations for this will keep things clear for everyone.

60 minute lesson term cost $yzx

Instrument and Practice

Missed Lessons

Do you require a minimum standard of instrument for students to commence lessons? Several times I have had people ask if they actually need to have an instrument at home, or if a toy piano will suffice. If you require an acoustic piano for the student to practice on, then just say it.

30 minute lesson term cost $xyz

What do you do for missed lessons? What would you like to do? In my studio missed lessons are forfeited. In exceptional circumstances we are willing to look at changes for emergency situations. Some teachers are happy to do swaps or catch-up lessons, others have lesson swap lists they coordinate for their students. This is the most asked question when I speak with teachers. I thought it best just to share my studio written policy with you so you can take from it what you wish: While we do not have a firm and inflexible policy, you will appreciate that when enrolling in a private course, you are in fact reserving a place for the term — a place that we are obliged to keep for you. In the event of a student missing a lesson, the lesson is forfeited. If the teacher is unable to attend, the lesson will be credited or refunded.

To this you could add any particular pedagogical approach you use, lesson length, or special inclusions in your service.

Similarly, if you require your students to practice a certain amount, then say it. Or make a recommendation for students to practice a suggested amount of time in order to make progress. Unless we are clear with how we would like to run our studio, it is unlikely that students and parents will be aware of how we do things. Just as each of our studios’ is unique, so too are our policies. Make them fit your studio, keep it concise (no one likes reading long policies) and most importantly, stick to it! If you have an established studio, distributing the new policy to students at the beginning of a new term or academic year is the easiest way to implement it. For new students, just email them your studio policy prior to enrolment and you will all be on the same page and have more time to focus on making music!

Turn the page to fill out your own studio policy planner! Australian Piano Adventures ambassador Carly McDonald with mentor Randall Faber at the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference in Melbourne earlier this year.

In your studio policy it is important to outline the way you will conduct business. Sit down and work out what your ‘rules’ are in regards to service offering, enrolment and cancellation, tuition fees and payment, missed lessons, performance opportunities, books and materials, instrument, and practice. 16 The Piano Teacher

It is wise to include any expectations you have for students in regards to participation in performances in your studio policy. State what performances you offer and how often/much they are required to participate.

17 Issue Eight

November 2015

The Piano Teacher


Where can I find out more? www.creativepianoprofessional.com www.composecreate.com www.diannehidy.com www.davegoodman.com.au/studio-policy humanresources.about.com/od/ policiesandsamples1/a/how_to_policy.htm

Studio Policy Planner

The Pirate Challenge!

Service offering:

– by Thembi Shears

Other considerations: Enrolement:

Each year in my studio, I come up with a new whole studio challenge for all of my students to get involved in. This year I wanted a scavenger hunt type activity, where students had to complete different tasks in different categories, so I decided upon Pirate Island as the perfect setting.

Books and Materials

Tuition Fees and Payment:

Instrument Requirements

Missed Lessons:

Practice

Cancellation:

Recital Participation

Why do I do this?

3. Fostering collaboration

1. Motivation Let’s face it, for some children the pure joy of learning to play an instrument is not quite enough motivation for that weekly practice. Some children need more incentives than others — whether that might be the excitement of doing different activities each week, the lure of the prize box, or a little competition with their friends.

Learning and practicing the piano can be an isolating activity. Most average primary school children don’t have the chance to play in a band or orchestra, and piano practice is something they do by themselves at home. There is a whole section of my challenge devoted to collaborative activities and it’s an ongoing theme in my studio to create a sense of community and a tribe of ‘piano friends’ to transform the typical experience of piano lessons.

2. Creating different learning opportunities

4. A well-rounded curriculum

We don’t all learn the same way, and children must be given multiple different opportunities to learn and to express their knowledge and understanding.

During the year I am always inventing or reading about new activities, but there never seems to be time to fit them all in, and some of them just get forgotten. I wanted to make sure that all of my students had a well-rounded curriculum this year — and that certain areas didn’t get left behind. The challenge sheets serve as a checklist for me that each student is covering all areas, and getting a little dose of everything in their piano lessons.

18 The Piano Teacher

19 Issue Eight

November 2015

The Piano Teacher


Now it’s time to explain how this actually works. I have a map of ‘Pirate Island’ up on the studio wall with the special areas listed below, and the students have challenge sheets with multiple tasks under each area. I have two sets of challenge tasks, the first to suit roughly Beginner — Grade 1/2 and the second Grade 2/3+ so I will list examples from both below. Some are the same on both sets, and others are only on one set, and these are just a selection of what I have on the challenge sheets. I am flexible with a few tasks that won’t quite work for a student and I definitely take age into account so all older beginners get the harder challenge which can then be modified.

This map was created by Melbourne Piano Teacher, Sharon Dixon.

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Memory Jungle

Performance Cove

• Get 20 flashcards correct

• Transpose a piece into a new position

• Learn 5 Italian tempo words

• Perform at a piano party

• Learn 10 Italian mood words

• Attend a live music concert

• Memorise 3 short pieces • Memorise 1 long piece

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• Make a program and put on a concert for your friends/family 298028

• Perform at your school

• Memorise all of your scales or 3 technique exercises

• Perform at a Christmas Concert for your piano friends

I use the Hal Leonard Student Piano Library flashcards, and Samantha Coates’ How to Blitz General Knowledge. I let the older students select their own 10 words to learn (we do mood and tempo) and they often do it in pairs in the overlap between lessons. We make posters of Italian terms on my annual piano camps and those are up in the studio for reference. The 3 technique exercises are chosen from the Piano Adventures Technique books that my pre-exam students use.

I hold piano parties for my students to get together and play games, and play piano for each other. It serves as a very informal performance opportunity, and allows the students to get to know each other and develop a group of ‘piano friends’. Concert and exam experiences are always more fun after that as they get to catch up with their friends and it’s much more social.

A grizzly end for The Brave Knight 142734

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Rhythm Volcano

Imagination Treehouse

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Double Trouble Island

Composer’s Treasure

• Play the rhythm of your pieces using body percussion

• Make up a story that goes with your piece

• Here we are all about collaboration! Task examples include:

• Learn 3 pieces by Australian composers

• Complete Rhythm Cups level __ (depends on task set)

• Write words for a piece that doesn’t have any

• Play 3 duets

• Learn pieces by composers from 5 different countries

• Create your own rhythm cups pattern and write it down

• Draw a character and create a musical motif for them

• Play a music game with a piano friend

• Research the composers of 3 of your pieces and tell me about them

• Turn a rhythm card into a hand clap rhythm with a friend

• Make up a special introduction to one of your pieces

• Create a rhythm for your favourite poem

• Make up a special ending to one of your pieces

• Learn a piece where the time signature has a 5 or 7 in it

• Choose a book character and compose a short piece about them

I absolutely love Wendy Stevens’ Rhythm Cups, available from www.composecreate.com. They provide such a fun way to read and practise rhythms and work really well for group lessons or camps too. Students love them!

• Compose a piece, give it a title, and record or perform it for me

• Learn to play Happy Birthday and play it for someone on their special day

• Choose a famous composer and make a poster about them

• Teach a friend or sibling an easy song

• Interview your family: who are their favourite composers and bands?

• Play a pop song arrangement with a friend

For the interview task, one of my 7 year olds came to her lesson last week with an iMovie created of her family interviews — including advertisements! She loves making movies so this was a great way for her to use that skill in relation to piano lessons.

• Play a piece with a friend who plays a different instrument

20 The Piano Teacher

I have had some wonderful responses to these! The younger students have been extending their pieces non-stop and a few have even performed their own compositions at our concerts. The ‘special’ introduction and ending tasks help to scaffold students who are overwhelmed with the idea of composition. 21

Issue Eight

November 2015

The Piano Teacher


Listening Lagoon • Tell the difference between 3/4 and 4/4 time • Clap back rhythms • Identify changes to pitch in a piece • Identify changes to rhythm in a piece • Sing back a simple melody • Describe the dynamics of a piece 1001628771

• Listen to 3 different recordings of a piece and make notes • Identify perfect and imperfect cadences • Identify all perfect and major intervals Listening Lagoon was my way of including more comprehensive aural skills in my lessons, as it’s something I’m guilty of neglecting with certain students. These are just a few examples of what the students have on their task sheets; they are mostly based on the Trinity aural test requirements with a few other things thrown in. If you only teach AMEB I recommend getting a copy of the Trinity Aural Skills books to try out as I personally think they are much more musically sensible. You don’t have to be doing the exams to find the books useful!

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To celebrate the completion of each section students are allowed to choose from the prize box, and sign their pirate name up on that section of the map for all students to see. Some students are exceptionally motivated to be the first to complete and sign a new section! If anyone completes all seven sections they will receive a trophy and special recognition at our end of year concert. It will be quite a big feat to do so; I am interested to see who manages it!

Beginning Improvisation

— A Brief Look at Two Magical Scales

– by Eric Baumgartner

Improvisation can be a richly rewarding pursuit and help lead to exciting new avenues of musical discovery and expression. And one needn’t necessarily have ambitious performance goals to benefit from its study. For even a modest exploration of improvisation can sharpen aural skills and help strengthen understanding of theory, harmony, and composition. In fact one of my greatest professional joys has been to see such benefits realised with the many dozens of students and teachers I’ve worked with over the years. Of course improvisation is quite a broad topic and to provide a comprehensive introduction here would not be practical. So for the sake of brevity I’ve chosen to focus on melodic content, specifically two versatile (and ubiquitous) scales — the pentatonic and blues scales. These scales have been the melodic building blocks for countless improvisations, in virtually every contemporary style (jazz, pop, rock, country, reggae, R&B, etc, etc). Now, of course, musicians are never restricted to use just a single series of notes for their solos and many songs contain harmonic shifts that require melodic adjustment. But for simpler pieces that employ more basic chord progressions, a single scale can do wonders. So let us now take a look at our first magical scale, the pentatonic.

Ex. 1

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C Pentatonic Scale

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Ex. 1 — C Pentatonic Scale The pentatonic scale (Ex. 1) is surely the most universal (and universally applicable!) scale in all of music. It dates back thousands of years and may be found the whole world over. It consists of just five pitches and can easily be constructed by simply omitting the 4th and 7th tones from any major scale. The 23

November 2015

The Piano Teacher


It’s All Relative

pentatonic scale is a fantastic place to start when improvising. For not only does it contain a fewer number of pitches than the major or minor scale but, as stated above, it is also exceedingly popular.

Good news — we don’t have to learn a new scale when improvising in a minor key! We can simply use the same relative major / relative minor relationship that we already employ in traditional studies. So, if I want to improvise in the key of A minor (the relative minor of C major) I can use the same pentatonic scale that I used when in C major!

Play the scale and get to know the notes, including moving up and down to neighbouring octaves. Explore changing direction at various points and repeating notes. Moving stepwise (rather than skipping or leaping scale tones) may give you the most pleasing (and musical) results. Already you might have happened upon a few familiar melodies. Not surprising, since the pentatonic scale can be found everywhere!

Ex. 3

C

G

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V V V V

V V V V

The Piano Teacher

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4 &4 V V V V

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V V V V

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Compare Ex. 5 to Ex. 6. Notice, as with the two relative pentatonic scales, that the two relative blues scales contain identical pitches! We just shift the tonal centre to a new tonic. You might guess what’s next. That’s right, return to Ex. 4 and try that progression with the new scale.

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And it’s never too soon to play along to some of your favourite recordings! You may already have dozens (hundreds!) of songs in your collection that use only diatonic progressions (chords built exclusively from the tonic key). It’s great fun to improvise to those recordings once you (a) recognize the key and (b) learn its pentatonic scale. No need to worry about left hand, the recording will supply the harmonic foundation — just have fun! Create different melodic ideas and don’t be afraid to absorb, imitate, and expand upon the various rhythms you hear from the vocals or instrumental solos.

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V V V V

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C Major Blues Scale

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Let’s finish by exploring some additional applications for the blues scales. Now it’s a somewhat tricky business attempting to put these scales and techniques into neat little boxes, but it would not be a stretch to view the material above as fitting best into the worlds of pop, rock, and country whereas the material below (while certainly applicable to those aforementioned styles) are most closely associated with jazz and blues. Okay, so what’s different? That would be our harmonies. We’ll move beyond the triad to use the dominant 7th chord, built from the I, IV, and V (Ex 7). We’ll then sequence those chords into a common 12-bar blues progression (Ex. 8). Feel free to use any left hand voicings you wish but if you’re looking for a solid starting point please use the ones suggested in Ex. 7.

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Ex. 5 — C Major Blues Scale Take a good look at Ex. 5 and compare it to Ex. 1. Notice the scales are identical except that the scale in Ex. 5 contains an additional pitch. This addition magically transforms the pentatonic scale into the major blues scale. Ta da! And this new pitch is a cool one. In fact you can think of it as the ultimate blues note — the lowered third. Play around with this scale and get to know it. The added ‘bite’ of the new blues note will be a fun addition to your melodic ideas. When ready return to Ex. 2 and improvise to that progression using the new scale.

L.H. Voicings (C Blues)

Ex. 7

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F7

G7

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Ex. 7 — L.H. Voicings (C Blues)

Okay, so if we can produce a new pentatonic scale by shifting to its relative minor, can we do the same thing for the blues scale? Yes indeed. The only hitch is semantic. When referring to the new reconfigured scale it’s customary to just call it simply the ‘blues scale’ (as opposed to ‘minor blues scale’). We’ll soon see that its applications go beyond just minor keys. But first things first. Ex. 6 (below) presents the A blues scale.

24

V V V V

I Got the Blues

By shifting the tonic we were able to produce a new scale (with new applications) without altering any pitches. So take comfort that our next scale will retain these notes but with one nifty addition…

Ex. 5

G

V V V V

Ex. 4 — A Minor Progression

Challenging, isn’t it? Yes indeed. It takes time to build confidence and to play with authority. You may also feel that you’re quickly running out of ideas. Well the most effective way to expand one’s quiver of ideas is to listen to the professionals and you can start with those in your personal music collection. As you listen to a recording pick out a short vocal or instrumental passage that you enjoy. Break it down further by selecting a small phase — 2 to 4 beats is plenty. Rather than analysing the specific notes focus only on the rhythm. Once you free that rhythm from the melody you have a strong pattern for your own exploration. Now try improvising some melodic ideas using this new rhythm. Good improvisation is built upon strong rhythmic phrasing. So it’s important to keep your ears open and strive to continuously absorb and explore new rhythms.

Books by Eric! 114465

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A Minor Progression

Ex. 4

Rhythm is the Key

Start with a slow to moderate tempo. Feel free to use a metronome for rhythmic stability. Or better yet, try using a sequenced percussion pattern like those available on many keyboards, computers, smart phones, etc. This can be great fun since there are usually dozens of different styles and grooves to choose from. Keep your right hand ideas short and concise. Don’t be afraid to use space (rests) between phrases! Do you find that some notes clash with certain chords? We should be sensitive to this and strive to minimise unwanted dissonance. For instance if a C is overly emphasised while playing a G chord it can sound harsh, but the same note will work fine when resolved up or down as a passing tone.

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A Blues Scale

Compare Ex. 3 to Ex. 1. Notice that they utilise the same five pitches. The difference is that our tonic (tonal centre) has shifted from C to A. Ex. 4 (below) features a short progression in the key of A minor. Improvise to this new progression using the A minor pentatonic scale. Follow the guidelines as provided above remembering that our tonic note has now shifted to A.

Ex. 2 — C Major Progression

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Ex. 6

Ex. 3 — A Minor Pentatonic Scale

C Major Progression

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Okay, let’s have some fun. Ex. 2 features a 4-measure progression in C major. We’re now going to improvise some melodic phrases using only the notes from the C pentatonic scale. Strive to begin and end your ideas, at first, with the tonic note (C). This reinforces the tonal centre and can help produce clearer and more concise phrases. Notice there is one chord symbol per measure. Your left hand may provide any accompaniment you wish but I strongly suggest starting by striking the chord on beat one and then holding it for the full measure. (Melodic improv is challenging enough! We don’t need to muddy the waters at this stage with an overactive left hand.)

Ex. 2

Ex. 6 — A Blues Scale

I invite you now to return to the C major blues scale (Ex. 5) while playing through the classic blues progression found in Ex. 8. You may want to shift to bluesy swing rhythms at this point (if you haven’t already!) playing the quavers in lazy ‘long-short’ pairs. And, of course, feel free to move your right hand ideas higher so as not to bump into the left hand. 25

Issue Eight

November 2015

The Piano Teacher


12-Bar Blues in C

Ex. 8

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Ex. 8 — 12-Bar Blues in C

Finally let’s shift to the relative once again. First revisit the A blues scale from Ex. 6. Now here’s where things get interesting! In previous examples we’ve switched tonality from major to minor for the accompaniment. But this time, even though we’re shifting our tonal centre from C to A, we’re going to retain the same progression and just transpose it. Ex. 9 contains suggested left hand voicings and Ex. 10 presents the 12-bar progression in the new key.

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Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief foray into these popular scales and that it will inspire you to explore and experiment further with improvisation. And as you do you’ll become more and more attuned to their sounds and soon be spotting these scale passages everywhere! I sure do. And yet I continue to be surprised and impressed by clever new variations. It seems that musicians are nowhere near exhausting the possibilities.

L.H. Voicings (A Blues) A7

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Do you find that the notes of the blues scale have more ‘bite’ in this setting when compared to the notes of the major blues scale? To fully explore the differences try improvising to the 12-bar blues progression alternating between the blues and major blues scales. Ah, but first you’ll need to make sure you can perform both scales on the same tonic! This would require transposing the blues scale (Ex. 6) to C or if you prefer to play the blues in A you can transpose the major blues scale (Ex. 5) to A. I leave it to you…

Again, you may notice some notes clashing with certain chords. Although this is not always an undesirable effect you should be careful with certain combinations (such as E-natural with the F7 chord — ouch!). Listen, adjust, adapt.

Ex. 9

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World-famous for Microjazz, Christopher Norton’s awardwinning publications also include Concert Collections, Connections for Piano, and American Popular Piano. He has most recently created the Micromusicals series – short curriculum-friendly thematic musicals for children aged 5-11 for use in schools.

Ex. 9 — L.H. Voicings (A Blues)

12-Bar Blues in A

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In 2015 the Preludes series is augmented with The Christopher Norton Eastern Preludes Collection – a superb selection of highly distinctive arrangements of native themes from the east (including Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, The Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam) for the intermediate to advanced pianist.

Whilst many teachers are aware of Christopher’s composition work, some may not be aware of his work as an arranger of existing melodies – both for audio production and printed music. His earliest published work was Carol Jazz (Universal Edition) which contained seven characteristic takes on familiar Christmas tunes. This was soon followed by Yankee Doodles

26 The Piano Teacher

M060130830

(American tunes), Lavender’s Kind of Blue (Nursery Rhymes), and Swing a Carol which were later combined to form The Concert Collection. Due to its success, a second volume – The Concert Collection 2 (containing arrangements of Spirituals, classical tunes and English folk melodies) – was also published.

His Preludes publications for piano - Rock Preludes, Latin Preludes, Country Preludes and Jazz Preludes (Boosey & Hawkes) – are designed for intermediate to advanced level players. Many of these original compositions have become popular choices for festivals and competitions, as well as being ever-popular choices for examination candidates.

A7

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& V

V

The Christopher Norton Eastern Preludes Collection

27 Issue Eight

November 2015

The Piano Teacher


Samalindang is a traditional dance that is originally said to have been performed at the palace of the Sultan of Brunei. It is still frequently performed by singers, musicians and dancers at weddings:

Arirang is a traditional Korean folk song that has been sung for over six hundred years and has become an unofficial national anthem both north and south of the border. Here is the original tune:

The Christopher Norton version takes the key of the melody and creates a dramatic, declamatory piano style in D (natural) minor:

In his new arrangement, Norton creates a lyrical left hand accompaniment with jazz-inflected harmony, pre-empting a richly-textured entrance of the main theme:

The collection contains a wide range of styles - from beautiful ballads (Arirang from Korea and Bahay Kubo from The Philippines) and toccata-like pieces (Loy Krathong from Thailand and Ya, Ya, Maya, Ya from India), to a straight-ahead heavy rock piece (Hongor Mori from Mongolia) and a set of variations on a theme from Singapore encompassing rockâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;nâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;roll, jazz and a habanera (Chan Mali Chan). The book is packaged with an accompanying CD that puts each Prelude on the map with stylish demonstration performances by Iain Farrington.

M060130830

28 The Piano Teacher

M060116261

M060116384

M060117497

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29 Issue Eight

November 2015

The Piano Teacher


Parent: “Would you mind coming to look at some pianos with us on Saturday?”

Teacher: “Ummm...”

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Best of all, whether it be individuals looking for one piano or schools/studios/education facilities looking for multiple, Piano Select is absolutely free to customers (piano stores pay them a commission on sale price). Ultimately, Piano Select was designed to support stores and quality manufacturers as well as purchasers — rewarding the country’s best operators with resource-efficient sales. Piano Select also handles piano rentals, piano tuning/maintenance, piano moving/storage, and musical instrument insurance with the same ethos. Furthermore, they offer a piano teacher/student match-making service free of charge for qualifying teachers (minimum qualifications, experience, and working with children checks apply). For students, an innovative series of online piano competitions will launch in 2016 — register at their website.

Enter Piano Select, an innovative way to purchase a quality piano that is designed to eliminate the uncertainties of piano buying, ensuring the highest quality instrument is secured across a range of price-points — both new and used. Piano Select is the brainchild of piano educators and performers — not salespeople — and it isn’t a store. In fact, Piano Select actually monitors the stock quality of selected piano stores around the country, focusing on an ever-evolving shortlist of tried and tested models and brands; ensuring buyers receive the best quality instrument for their budget. Stores are required to stand by a stringent quality control process (which includes random spotchecks by Piano Select technicians), a minimum comprehensive guarantee, together with a statement of anticipated maintenance

Now you and your students’ families can reclaim hours of trudging from store to store, knowing there’s a better way: All it takes is a few clicks or a phone call — welcome to the 21st century! Piano Select: www.pianoselect.com.au 1300 PIANOS (1300 742667) 31 November 2015

The Piano Teacher


It’s All in the Rhythm

No 8

Desafinado Out of tune

A series of professional development workshops for piano teachers held across Victoria by the AMEB

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Armed with an array of percussion instruments, I am now travelling to regional Victoria and centres in metropolitan Melbourne, involving the teachers and their students in getting the feel for the rhythms that underlie these works, with a particular focus on the pieces in the AMEB publications in Series Two and Three of Piano for Leisure. While Series One is still deservedly popular, I thought that it has been well understood by this stage. Often I say to students ‘Play as if there is a drummer playing with you.’ And no, the metronome alone is not enough. Ensemble instrument players learn quite early that the music goes on in time — if they miss a note or think they need more time to prepare, that can only be done in solo practice. Pianists are often alone for so much of their learning that the continuity of the music doesn’t always develop for a student. This need not be, ensemble experience can be part of piano lessons too. A few percussion instruments in the studio, a second keyboard, a few shared minutes with another student, or playing with the teacher’s accompaniment and so much of the style and feel can be developed in the student’s performance. This is not for the metronomic effect alone, but as a contributor to an understanding of style. The idea that all music is based either on song or dance has been an evergreen starting point for discussion. I think I first heard Bernstein make that

pronouncement. Dance rhythms are abundant in the classical piano syllabus too, but as those pieces are all original works composed for piano, the rhythms are frequently somewhat stylised. To a dancer though, for example, a minuet played at a different tempo from the one danced is simply not a minuet — regardless of the composer’s intention for the composition. Piano for Leisure of course contains a rich variety of arrangements of music from many genres, and we might expect a great aural familiarity with the original source materials. The pieces are driven by implied dance styles and so these rhythms are frequently more explicit in presentation in these works. There can be challenges in representing these on the piano. There are many subtleties of touch to be engaged for these pieces to be satisfactory in performance, and for the students’ full enjoyment. With this thought in mind I sought to organise the dance styles in the Piano for Leisure repertoire into families of style. From the boogie and blues through bounce, swing, shuffle, and rock to the Latin groupings — samba, bossa nova, rumba, and tango groupings. Then there are the pop songs where the influences of these styles come through in the accompaniments. The next task I set for myself was to check the editorial and composers’ given tempo on each piece. I played all of the Series Two and Three pieces faster, slower, and at the given tempo, sometimes back and forth for six or seven performances for some pieces. I noted the tempi as I went. I came to the conclusion that for almost all of the pieces, the given tempo really is the optimum for a stylish performance. In the case of some of the boogie and blues pieces, especially at the lower levels, there was considerable leeway in the tempi

before the styles were compromised, but in the main the printed tempo was spot on. One piece that might appear somewhat compromised is Billy Joel’s Root Beer Rag — an enjoyable marathon of running semiquavers at a suggested 130–136 bpm in the Piano for Leisure Series 3 Grade 7 book. I clocked Joel’s performance at 168 bpm, but it’s still possible to have a lively performance at the more achievable tempo suggested for a grade seven student. The fact is that the tempi of many of the pieces exceeds the level of technique that would be acquired if the student only practiced the set technical work for each level up to the minimum speeds. This of course is a point that I make in teaching the classical syllabus too — if a student aspires to certain repertoire, then the technical work needs to be adjusted to slightly exceed the demands of those pieces. In reviewing the works I did find myself in conflict with some pedaling in a few of the jazz pieces. I’d be inclined to reduce it greatly, and in some cases have no pedaling at all. To many jazz pianists, the only time to pedal at all is during a ballad. I also looked at articulations, and there again are both composer/arranger and editorial suggestions. There are detailed dots, dashes, accents, and slurs — regard the example above, an excerpt from Frank Booth’s arrangement of AC

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Many of the jazz pieces demand a non- 5 legato touch. In this, these works have It would be possible to follow those much more in common with baroque instructions carefully, but not achieve than with a stylish performance. This is of course 5 classical or5 1articulation 5 12 romantic piano music. We deal with the nature of all music notation, not a the question of ‘just how staccato is fault of the example at all, but exactly that note to be?’ Again, this was much how to touch and articulate becomes easier to demonstrate with our teachers’ immediately apparent to the player when percussion ensemble setting the style. surrounded by the percussion that sets There are also the perennial questions of the style. 1 4 5 or not, 2how 5 whether to swing the quavers At the workshops,3both teachers and much to swing, and why in some music students have learned to play rhythm we swing the semiquavers instead! © Copyright Essex Music patterns on various percussion Used by permission of Universal Music Publishing Australia We listened to Stéphane Grappelli to instruments as a path to appreciating these subtleties of style. They played them demonstrate how to be lyrical, yet 32 AMEB rhythmically precise against a swing as ensembles for pieces of a range of the backing, we heard Sarah Vaughan’s above mentioned styles selected from swing treatment of Shearing’s Lullaby the Piano for Leisure books. It was such of Birdland. We listened to Ute Lemper’s a delight to hear a student at a recent extremely personal and at times wild seminar adjust the degree of articulation interpretation of Monk’s Round Midnight, in response to the aural cues from the listening to where on the recap she percussion patterns I had taught the

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imitated inflections from the saxophone 2 how 4 it related to solo, and mused on ornamentation in a da capo aria. We also noted how sometimes a guitarist, pianist, or bass player in these arrangements would substitute a chord — sometimes more than occasionally. All of this is marvelous for sharpening the aural skills, 1 as well as 4stimulating5 the imagination.

group of teachers at a recent workshop. We had listened to the original 1963 Getz/ Gilberto recording, learned the rhythm patterns, and created an ensemble that then stimulated the student’s excellent listening skill to produce a very stylish performance. The ensemble taught the articulation. 3

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32 The Piano Teacher

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– by Peter Hurley When I was first approached about these workshops, I put a question on a Facebook page for Australasian piano teachers — ‘If the AMEB were to run workshops on Piano for Leisure, what would you want to cover?’ The answers came in from teachers: how to deal with the rhythms in the popular and jazz repertoire.

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Teachers and students participating together to create music, enhance its enjoyment, and increase the depth of 4 5 understanding of style. This3 has been the product of the AMEB’s It’s all in the Rhythm workshops.

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On reflection, I realise in my career as a performer and teacher I owe a huge debt to many mentors, but for this project two come5 to mind. Two people who 1 influenced my teaching, 5 and whose ideas underlie what has been presented at these seminars. The late and wonderful Nehama Patkin, who taught me to look for the dance rhythms in the music and make them explicit, and Lois Singer, who always exhorted us to limit the use of discussion in teaching, and ‘use music to teach music.’

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33 Issue Eight

November 2015

The Piano Teacher


New Releases

New Releases

Movie Music

2016 Diaries

Disney

The Music Diary 2016

Disney’s My First Songbook - Volume 5

Pitch Perfect 2

Jurassic World

Inside Out

Cinderella - Easy Piano

The Barden Bellas are back with a baker’s dozen of piano/ vocal/guitar arrangements of the a cappella songs presented in this sequel to Pitch Perfect. Includes: Any Way You Want It, Back to Basics, Convention Performance, Flashlight, Jump, Lollipop, Kennedy Center Performance, Riff Off, We Belong, Winter Wonderland/ Here Comes Santa Claus, World Championship Finale (1 and 2), and more. 148761

13 songs from the soundtrack penned by Michael Giacchino to this 2015 summer blockbuster hit. Includes: The Family That Strays Together, Welcome to Jurassic World, As the Jurassic World Turns, Owen You Nothing, Indominus Wrecks, Gyrosphere of Influence, Pavana for a Dead Apatosaurus, Chasing the Dragons, Nine to Survival Job, The Park Is Closed, It’s a Small Jurassic World, The Hammond Lab Overture, The Brockway Monorail. 149294

Eight songs from the 2015 Disney Pixar movie hit where we see the various emotions of a young girl develop through the trials of childhood. This includes piano solo arrangements of the soundtrack by Michael Giacchino: Bundle of Joy, Dream Productions, First Day of School, The Forgetters, Imagination Land, Memory Lanes, Nomanisone Island/ National Movers, We Can Still Stop Her. Includes full-colour artwork from the film! 148723

13 easy piano selections from the Motion Picture Soundtrack complete with beautiful full-colour photos from this 2015 live-action Disney feature inspired by the classic fairy tale featuring compositions by Patrick Doyle who also penned the music for Disney’s Brave. Includes the single Strong by Sonna Rele plus: BibbidiBobbidi-Boo (The Magic Song), A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes, The First Branch, A Golden Childhood, Rich Beyond Reason, and more. 146948

The 20th Century Series The 20th Century series presents music by some of the greatest composers of the modern era composers who wrote a full range of music for orchestra voices piano and chamber ensembles in the great and large forms. But they also valued music education and composed interesting music to foster a student pianist’s progress. The pieces by these composers lead a student not only to technical proficiency but also to become a more fully formed imaginative musician. When a great talent turns attention to writing a short piece of limited difficulty level for students it is approached with the same aesthetics temperament tastes and creative invention applied when composing a symphony opera or concerto. These exquisite miniatures are complete works of timeless art. Through them a master musician of the past indirectly teaches a progressing musician of the present and the future. Schirmer Performance Editions feature composer biographies historical notes and practice and performance tips.

Elementary Level 33 Piano Pieces by Bartók Kabalevsky and Shostakich. 297094 Upper Elementary Level 30 Piano Pieces by Bartok Bolcom Dello Joio and others. 297095 Early Intermediate Level 27 Piano Pieces by Bartok Kabalevsky Khachaturian and others. 297096 Intermediate Level 25 Pieces by Barber Bartók Kabalevsky Khachaturian and others. 297097 Upper Intermediate Level 23 Pieces by Barber Bartok Kabalevsky Khachaturian and others. 297098

Extra space for weekend appointments and birthdays of hundreds of famous people in the world of music. Listings of important musical events from 100 50 and 25 years ago and forthcoming anniversaries up to 2021 are included alongside an updated mini-directory of concert halls opera houses festivals organisations and recording companies plus a special article on the life and work of Alberto Ginastera. Black M060130427 Blue M060130434 Red M060130441

See You Again Flashlight & More Hot Singles

Blank Space I Really Like You & More Hot Singles

This edition contains: Budapest (George Ezra), Flashlight (Jessie J.), Honey I’m Good (Andy Grammer), See You Again (Wiz Khalifa), Shut Up and Dance (Walk the Moon). 150045

This edition contains: Blank Space (Taylor Swift), Heartbeat Song (Kelly Clarkson), I Really Like You (Carly Rae Jepsen), I’m Not the Only One (Sam Smith), Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran). 146286

34 The Piano Teacher

16 beloved Disney songs from animated classics up through their newest blockbusters such as Monsters Inc. Enchanted Frozen and more! Perfect for beginning students to play and sing the songs include: Belle, Do You Want to Build a Snowman?, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King, If I Didn’t Have You, Let It Go, Love Is a Song, Toyland March, With a Smile and a Song, and more. Every page is beautifully illustrated with full-colour art. 140978

310322

316085

316123

316160

Shawn Mendes – Handwritten

Best of John Legend

Wonders Piano Play Along V131 Book/Online Audio

Includes: Aftertaste, Air, Crazy, I Don’t Even Know Your Name, Kid in Love, Life of the Party, A Little Too Much, Never Be Alone, Something Big, Stitches, Strings, 148445

14 of the best hits so far by this soulful singer in accessible easy piano arrangements including: All of Me, Everybody Knows, Made to Love, Ordinary People, So High, Stay with You, Used to Love U, Who Do We Think We Are, You and I (Nobody in the World), and more. 145344

This amazing pack lets you play along with original backing tracks created and recorded by the Piano Guys! Each book includes a unique code that lets you access the backing tracks online for download or streaming. This book features all 12 songs from the album arranged for piano solo. Includes: Story of My Life, Let It Go, Ants Marching/Ode to Joy, Father’s Eyes, Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends, Summer Jam, Batman Evolution, Don’t You Worry Child, Home, The Mission/How Great Thou Art, Because of You, Pictures at an Exhibition. Don’t miss this opportunity to play along with the Piano Guys today! 141503

35 Issue Eight

November 2015

The Piano Teacher


New Releases

New Releases

Christmas

Joy Song

9 Gifts for Pianists 9 Gifts for Pianist is a groundbreaking manual for piano teachers. It uses iconic figures and anatomical illustrations that effortlessly clarify principles of piano playing. It answers 9 crucial technical and musical questions about piano playing such as ‘how do I release tension?’ and ‘how can I make the piano sing?’. The ultimate goal of this invaluable guide is to cultivate artistic pianists by making teaching and learning an enjoyable process for both teachers and students. Icon stickers included. 145986

Also available

The Twelve Keys of Christmas

Christmas at the Piano

A dozen Yuletide character pieces arranged by Phillip Keveren each one presented in a different major and related minor key. Includes: Joy to the World (C major/A minor), O Come O Come Immanuel (G major/E minor), Good Christian Men Rejoice (D major/B minor), What Child Is This? (A major/F# minor), Angels We Have Heard on High (E major/C# minor), Coventry Carol (B major/G# minor), Still Still Still (G-flat major/E-flat minor), We Three Kings of Orient Are (D-flat major/B-flat minor), Angels from the Realms of Glory (A-flat major/F minor), Ukrainian Bell Carol (E-flat major/C minor), Silent Night (B-flat major/G minor), O Come All Ye Faithful (F major/D minor). 144926

23 seasonal selections are included in this fantastic piano solo collection. Includes: All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth, Blue Christmas, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), Do You Hear What I Hear, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, Mary Did You Know?, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Sleigh Ride, Winter Wonderland, and more. 147023

First 50 Christmas Carols You Should Play on the Piano Simply arranged this mustknow collection includes 50 holiday favourites for beginning pianists to learn including: Away in a Manger, Bring a Torch Jeannette Isabella, Coventry Carol, Deck the Hall, The First Noel, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Jingle Bells, Joy to the World, O Holy Night, Silent Night, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Up on the Housetop, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and more. 147216

120764

New Grade by Grade series Book and CD from Boosey and Hawkes

Grade 1: M060126758 Grade 2: M060126765 Grade 3: M060127670

36 The Piano Teacher

131378

Grade 4: M060127687 Grade 5: M060127694

The Grade By Grade series draws on the rich and varied Boosey & Hawkes catalogue of classical contemporary and educational repertoire highlighting composers including Serge Prokofieff Dmitri Shostakovich Karl Jenkins Carol Barratt and Christopher Norton alongside arrangements of traditional music from around the world by Peter Wastall Vera Gray and others. Carefully selected by Iain Farrington this practical anthology provides the complete repertoire resource for the aspiring Grade 1 pianist and creates the perfect package for teaching exam preparation and performance. Each volume contains: a diverse collection of pieces each complemented by a useful practice and performance tip, grade-appropriate scales and arpeggios linked to the repertoire through bespoke text and exercises, brand new sight-reading, improvisation activities and newly-commissioned aural awareness tasks. Packaged with a CD of full performance demonstrations and grade-appropriate aural awareness resources. 37

Issue Eight

November 2015

The Piano Teacher


New Releases New Composer Showcase

The Best of Carol Klose

Myths and Monsters

Hal Leonard Student Piano Library Composer Showcase 15 original solos are featured in this collection from the pen of accomplished performer teacher clinician composer and arranger Carol Klose. Includes: Ancient Towers, Candlelight Prelude, Castilian Dreamer, Gathering Storm Clouds, Gecko Games, Gypsy Fire, The Healing Garden, Jasmine in the Mist, Maestro There’s a Fly in My Waltz. 146151

Nine originals from Jeremy Siskind perfect for Halloweenthemed fall recitals! Includes: Dracula, Leprechaun, The Mermaid’s Call , My Scaly Alien, T.Rex, Werewolf, The Wily Sphinx, Yeti Blues, The Zombie Song. The songs are arranged at a late elementary to early intermediate level. 148148

Animals Have Feelings Too Jennifer Linn has created a delightful set of eight piano solos designed to encourage expressive playing from beginning students. From cheerful to mad or even worried each animal comes to life when the student learns to express the animals’ feelings (and their own) through the music. Includes: Bear Determination, Cheerful Chihuahua, Cry of the Wolf, A Giraffe Can Laugh, Mad Mad Cat, One Worried Owl, Tired Turtle, Understanding Whale. 147789

New from Schott Music

Witches Fairies and Ghosts 28 Fantastic and Spooky Piano Pieces for Children Thematic books for creative piano lessons with programmatic pieces by Burgmueller Grieg Schumann Gurlitt Gretchaninoff Gubaidulina Chatschaturian Villa-Lobos Szelenyi Schoenmehl and many other composers. ED20321

Where to buy...

Duets

Animals

Musical Jokes

30 Easy Piano Pieces for Children

28 Easy Piano Pieces for Children

This book with its 30 compositions gathers a large variety: tiny ones like the fly and the grasshopper huge ones like the bear and the elephant dangerous ones like the panther and the shark tame ones like the kitten or the dog animals living underground like the mole on trees like the monkey or in the air like the birds the wasp or the butterfly. This book therefore provides a rather colourful and instructive ‘zoology’ for piano lessons. 0101468902

This collection is entirely dedicated to the question of whether there really are jokes and fun in music and if so what it actually is that we laugh about? Sometimes it is the title of the piece that makes us laugh as in Two Funny Aunties Quarrelling (Khatchaturian), Clowns (Heller and Kabalevski) Musette (Mozart). And even musicmaking itself can be fun e.g. the jump-like crossing of the hands in Flohwalzer or playing at breakneck speed. ED20323

State

Store Name

Location

Website

QLD

Alive Music

Bundaberg

www.facebook.com/alivemusicbundaberg

Australian Academy of Music

North Lakes

www.australianacademyofmusic.com

Artie’s Music Superstore

Townsville

www.artiesmusiconline.com.au

The Best Music Shop

Jindalee

www.bestmusicshop.com.au

Grooves for Two

Binary Music

Cleveland

www.binarymusic.com.au

Seven pieces for piano fourhands

Fernandez Music Shop

Cairns

www.fernandezmusic.com.au

The Keyboard Shop

Townsville

www.thekeyboardshop.com.au

Grooves for Two is a collection of seven groovy pieces for piano four-hands written by leading pianist-composers working in jazz and other popular styles. Designed for teacher-pupil duos the pieces provide foot-tapping fun while exploring rhythmic styles often reserved for bands encouraging good ensemble playing and a strong sense of beat. Oxford University Press 20150226

Masson Music

Brisbane

www.massonmusic.com

Morris Brothers Music Store

Stafford

www.morrisbrothersmusicstore.com

Music Express

Upper Mt. Gravatt

www.musicexpress.com.au

The Music Spot

Browns Plains

www.musicspot.com.au

Uptown Music Teaching Studios

Atherton

Vivace Music

Sunnybank Hills

www.vivacemusic.com.au

Crescendo Music

Myaree

www.crescendomusic.com.au

Park Pianos

Victoria Park

www.musicpark.com.au

Tempest Music

Como

www.tempestmusic.com.au

Zenith Music

Claremont

www.zenithmusic.com

Harrison Music

Adelaide

www.harrisonmusic.com.au

Music Corner

Salisbury

www.musiccorner.com.au

Size Music

Parkside

www.size.com.au

Winston Music

Daw park

www.winstonmusic.com.au

TAS

Barratts Music

Launceston

www.barrattsmusic.com.au

Geoff Long Music

North Hobart

www.geofflongmusic.com

NSW

Carlingford Music

Carlingford

www.carlingfordmusic.com.au

Engadine Music

Sydney

www.engadinemusic.com

Hutchings Pianos

Bondi Junction

www.hutchingspianos.com.au

Logans Pianos

Burwood

www.loganspianos.com.au

Music Centre Gosford

Central Coast

www.musiccentre.com.au

Music on the Move

Hurstville

www.motm.com.au

Musos Corner / Foley’s Pianos

Newcastle

www.musoscorner.com.au

Powerpoint Music

Bowral

www.powerpointmusic.com.au

WA

SA

Musical Journey Around the World 34 Easy Piano Pieces for Children A trip around the world, starting from Germany to Austria and Italy. Africa is reached by ship before — back on the European continent — from Spain to the far north via Poland the Czech Republic Hungary to Russia and finally to China America and even the South Sea Islands. This volume with 34 easy piano pieces is livened up by illustrations - and particularly suitable for imaginative piano lessons for children. 0101489002

Zephyr Music

Crows Nest

www.zephyrmusic.com.au

ACT

Better Music

Phillip

www.bettermusic.com.au

VIC

Bernies Music Land

Ringwood

www.musicland.com.au

Cranbourne Music

Cranbourne

www.cranbournemusic.com.au

Fine Music

Hawthorn

www.finemusiconline.com.au

Frets ‘N’ Notes

Kew

fretsnnotes.street-directory.com.au/

Hans Music Spot

Croydon

www.hansmusicspot.com.au

Keyboard Corner

Boronia

www.keyboardcorner.com.au

Learn Music

Kew

www.learnmusic.com.au

Learn to Play Piano

Strathmore

www.learn2play.net.au

Music Junction Blackburn

Blackburn

www.musicjunction.com.au

Music Junction Camberwell

Camberwell

www.musicjunction.com.au

Pat’s Music

Oakleigh South

www.patsmusic.com.au

Prestige Pianos & Organs

Preston

www.prestigepianos.com.au

Music A Plenty

Lower Plenty

38 The Piano Teacher

www.facebook.com/musicaplenty 39

Issue Eight

November 2015

The Piano Teacher


PIANO

www.thepianoteacher.com.au

Contact your favourite music retailer for all titles listed and more!

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Email australianpiano@halleonard.com.au Š2015 Hal Leonard Australia Printed in Australia â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Not for Sale

The Piano Teacher  

Inside this issue Articles by: Jeremy Siskind - The Art of the In-home Concert Angela Turner - The Busy Teachers’ Guide to Repertoire: Solo...