New and Reviewed – October Edition

Christmas Movie Magic
arr. Phillip Keveren

This is a book full of sensitive and simple arrangements, ranging from ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little  Christmas’ from 1943, and songs from Irving Berlin’s White Christmas of 1952, to the current  favourite ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman?’ from Frozen, with many in between. Styles vary from  the heart wrenching ‘Glasgow Love Theme’ from Love Actually to the fun of ‘You’re a Mean One, Mr  Grinch’ from Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  

The book seems around AMEB Preliminary with its easily readable pages, but may extend to grade 1 due to some interesting harmony and changing hand positions. There are lots of known songs, and some unknown to me as well, but this simply provides an opportunity for exploration and the  adding of new repertoire to the Christmas collection – I could imagine looking up movie clips on  YouTube and having lots of fun. 

I’m looking forward to using this book with students!

Christmas Sentiments
arr. Phillip Keveren

This is a lovely book containing 19 pretty and lyrical arrangements of sentimental Christmas  themed songs. They range from sacred favourites such as ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ and ‘Who Would  Imagine a King’, to songs from movies such as ‘White Christmas’, ‘Polar Express’, and even ‘Home  Alone’, as well as stand alone songs in between. As with the above book, while not all songs are known, they are all beautifully arranged and worth learning: they are all unique and have different moods and points of value. I particularly appreciated the chord symbols as an excellent teaching point, and many of the songs include some colourful jazz harmony which not only sounds lovely but also provides more teaching and a counter balance to the more traditional harmonies.  

It’s also easily readable with good sized typesetting and I’d put it at AMEB Grade 1 – 2. 

Christmas Classics
Jazz Piano Solos no. 61

This book was so much fun to play through! It may well be more for teachers than students though,  unless there is a real jazz focus in your studio, as the pieces are really quite lush and complex.  

There is a great deal of learning included for all as it features a range of styles including: swing,  lyrical, blues and Latin grooves. There are also a range of moods from somber and tender to bright  and joyous. As someone who is attempting to teach her classical brain how to understand and play  jazz I really appreciate the chord symbols so that I can connect theory to sound. 

I’m planning on playing ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman’ at my end of year concert and am  having a great time learning it!

Christmas Carols Music Activity Book

This book is an absolute goldmine! It manages to give a clear introduction to piano from notes on  the staff, the keyboard, and note values, through to time signatures. It contains 27 Christmas Carols, most of which will be well known to Australian audiences, in alpha note lead sheet style with chord symbols which will be very accessible for many different levels to play.  

On top of all of this it contains many activities and games such as colouring in, word searches, a  crossword, and mazes. 

It’s an awesome resource and supplement for Christmas time, and would be a great book to send  home over the Christmas holidays.

Kate Spyker

Kate is located in South Australia. She is a wife, and mother of 3 angels (!!) who are 21, 18, and 13. She also has a  5 yr old Kelpie x Staffy who guards the house by jumping on the trampoline and barking at people on the other side of the fence!  

She’s grown to love teaching piano – it has its challenges as does every profession  – but it is the relationships with students and their families that she loves. That and seeing lights switch on as students learn. Music has been such a gift to Kate and she loves to be able to share it.

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