As Reviewed By You – The Phillip Keveren Series

Louise Gill

Star Wars (Piano Duet) – Late Intermediate/Early Advanced
When I was growing up, playing duets was a highlight of playing piano. This book is filled with favourite tunes like “The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)”, “Princess Leia’s Theme”, and “Cantina Band”. Each piece has an equal difficulty for the bass and treble parts, and each player will have a turn at playing the melody. This book is a favourite among my students already.

Star Wars (Big-Note Piano) – Elementary
When I saw this book, I was worried some of the tricky rhythms would change to create an easier tune for young beginners to digest. However, I was surprised with lovely arrangements which can serve as both an exercise in practising rhythmic styles, and learning musicality through well-known pieces. While in one or two pieces, the rhythms have been adjusted for playability for young beginners, the arrangements are a joy to learn and children will be proud to perform them. Favourites are “Princess Leia’s Theme”, “Rey’s Theme”, and “Across the Stars”.

Pop Standards for Easy Classical Piano (Easy Piano) – Intermediate
I enjoyed playing through this book and it has been well received by my adult students. One of the challenges I find when teaching adults is finding music that sounds good, and isn’t too hard to play. I have adult clients come to me all the time saying they’re sick of learning pieces like “Mary Had a Little Lamb” etc. This book is a relief, because it’s easy, sounds good, and gives students the opportunity to learn pieces while enjoying the music! My favourites from the book were “Man in the Mirror” and “Time After Time”.

Disney Recital Suites (Piano Solo) – Advanced
Disney Recital Suites is also great for intermediate to advanced students. The best thing about a Disney book, is that anyone of any age can fall in love with the pieces. As with The Beatles: Recital Suites, these arrangements would really “wow” audiences at concerts. The pieces offer a great feeling of accomplishment for students who have never played something of this length, and they give students an avenue to show off the skills they have worked so hard for. My favourite suites from this book are Aladdin, and The Lion King.

Tin Pan Alley (Piano Solo) – Intermediate
This book is a bunch of fun! Anyone can get a thrill out of playing bouncy pieces like “Give My Regards to Broadway”, “Carolina in the Morning”, or “Toot, Toot, Tootsie! (Good-bye!)”. The arrangements are easy to read, and will appeal to people of any age; they would be great recital pieces for intermediate to advanced students. This book would be an exciting and challenging addition to anyone’s repertoire.

Golden Scores (Piano Solo Plus) – Late Intermediate
The Piano Solo Plus book comprises piano solo pieces, two piano and voice arrangements, and medleys similar to those in the Recital Suites books. Golden Scores is great for someone who wants to work through a whole book, plus it gives piano students a chance to experience what accompanying a singer might be like (or accompany themselves singing!). The medleys give students the opportunity to learn a longer piece with beautifully arranged, well-known songs e.g. from The Wizard of Oz. The standout solos for me were “Singin’ in the Rain”, and “Don’t Rain on My Parade”.

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