New And Reviewed – November Edition

AYA – 10 Introspective Pieces for Piano Solo
Naoko Ikeda

Japanese composer Naoko Ikeda has created this repertoire collection of original works with the intention of stirring your imagination and evoking colours, scenes and emotions as you play through her compositions.

Although the pieces are diverse, a Japanese essence is evident throughout the book. An elegant flow is inherent in Naoko’s composition style, from the sorrowful and melancholy ‘Elegy’, to ‘Yujo (Friendship)’ which has the feel of a musical show tune number with its faster paced syncopated rhythms. I found many of the endings to the pieces to be unusual and very original.

These Intermediate level pieces are perfect for the teenage student who likes modern, dreamy sounding music, although smaller hands may struggle with some of the chords.

Piano Zen – The art of playing peaceful, relaxing music
Mark Harrison

Mark has specialised in teaching contemporary music styles for decades and has become one of the most in demand music educators in Southern California. He has written over 30 music instruction books as well as various Master Class articles.

‘Piano Zen’ refers to piano music described as “Calm Piano”, a meditative piano style that has its origins in the New Age genre, which has recently had a resurgence in popularity with artists such as Yiruma, Ludovic Einaudi and Paul Cardall at the forefront. This book explores the styles of artists such as this and gives you the tools to develop and improvise your own ‘calm’ piano pieces.

This step-by-step instructional book has audio examples available using the Hal Leonard online library. It starts by teaching simple chord progressions then introduces various broken chord patterns. As the book continues it covers techniques for creating melodies, various syncopated rhythms, progressively becoming more complex. It finishes with five complete pieces in the style of noted Calm Piano artists using the techniques taught in the book.

This book would be great to introduce students to creating this style of composition and if this sort of music appeals to them, would be something that would inspire them to work through it at home.

Peaceful Classical Piano Solos- A collection of 30 pieces

Peaceful Classical Piano Solos is part of a repertoire series compiled by Hal Leonard. Each book contains 30 pieces of peaceful piano solos (including Easy, Soundtracks and Christmas)

This particular book is designed for advanced students combining well known piano classics such as Adagio Sostenuto from Moonlight Sonata, Gymnopedie No 1 and Clair De Lune with arrangements of famous tranquil and emotive orchestral pieces that have been cleverly reduced to piano scores.

I’ve often heard asked what would be a great parting gift for a long-term piano student and this book would be perfect. The pieces are well known and are sure to provide many soothing and serene moments for them when they want to sit down in the future and play classic repertoire.

Felicity Moran

Felicity is a piano/instrumental teacher and band conductor from Northern NSW who is passionate about making quality music education experiences accessible at school. Being a single mum keeps her very busy outside of work, but she still finds time to arrange music for her students and administer many facebook groups.

As the founder of the ‘Piano and Instrumental Teachers with Coronovirus Concerns’ group she was at the forefront of supporting music teachers across the globe face the pandemic, and transition to online teaching last year.

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