New and Reviewed – Cool Pop, Five Summer Hits and more…

Kathryn Raats reviews some of the hottest new books on the market!

Cool Pop: 8 Chart Hits for Piano Solo.

Arr. Mona Rejino

It’s safe to say the ‘Cool Pop: 8 Chart Hits for Piano Solos’ will be embraced as one of my most used teaching resources this year. Paying homage to some of the most popular releases of late, these tasteful arrangements are pitched perfectly toward the intermediate student. This well-balanced book provides a platform for pianists to explore a variety of genres, moods and techniques through content that is engaging and catchy from the very first note. There are 8 pieces in total to discover, including ‘Watermelon Sugar’ by Harry Styles, ‘No Time to Die’ by Billie Eilish and ‘Cardigan’ by Taylor Swift.


Five Summer Pieces: Romantic Tone Poems for Piano solo by Chris Tsitsaros

Christos Tsitsaros

The collection of pieces in this book are absolutely captivating. Designed for students who are approaching the later stages of ‘intermediate’ or the early stages of ‘advanced’, Tsitsaros’  summer collection evokes an array of emotions; from gentle haunting melodies through to super-charged moments of passion. The organic approach of each piece strongly encourages the pianist to dig deep in terms of musicality and strength of technique. ‘Evocation’ is a stand-out piece for me (and honestly one of my favourite pieces I’ve discovered this year) with its eight pages of evolving storyline that always leaves me wanting more. 


Impressions of New York: A Jazz Sonatina by Mona Rejino

Mona Rejino

The trio of pieces in ‘Impressions of New York’ are comfortably crafted for the intermediate pianist. What I like most about this book is the encouraging approach to Jazz Piano it offers. It strikes the perfect balance between stretching new skill development and remaining empowering and inspiring. The three movements gracefully compliment and contrast each other. ‘Strolling Through New York’ provides a space to explore a more light-hearted piece, whilst the second movement, “Midnight in Brooklyn” transports you to a dark and moody Jazz club. The final movement, “Grand Central Station” pushes technique development through its fast-paced score, which truly captures the vibe of its namesake. This book is suited to upper-intermediate to early advanced students.


Impresiones de España: 6 Original Piano Solos Inspired by Spain

Mona Rejino

Each of the six pieces in this book have been lovingly inspired by a city or town in Spain. When composing this collection, Rejino wished to capture the people, the sights, the scents, and the sounds of this beautiful country. Each piece is truly a sensory smorgasbord that inspires the most incredible expression by intermediate pianists. The fourth piece, “Procesión de Toledo”, is a real standout piece for me, with its evocative melody and it’s thought-provoking layers.  It would be a good book for intermediate students.


KATHRYN RAATS

Kathryn Raats, 29, is the founding Director of West Coast Music School. She has a profound passion for the holistic benefits of music education, focusing deeply on using music as a tool for enhancing everyday life, and not simply viewing it as another skill to be learned along the way.

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