New and Reviewed – April Edition

Peaceful Jazz Piano Solos- A Collection of 30 pieces

Do you have a student who loves the cruisey jazz style but doesn’t have the skills yet to realise jazz lead charts for themselves? We think that Hal Leonard’s, Peaceful Jazz Piano Solos, would be the book for them. Suitable for students from Grade 4-7 level, this is a beautiful collection of 30 pieces, from jazz standards to big band favourites. 

It would make for an interesting study for a student to compare the fully realised score to a lead chart version of one of the classic standards (perhaps even inviting them to add their own improvisations as inspiration strikes them.) There are some great opportunities for technical study in arrangements of the pieces too. In the arrangement of Autumn Leaves, the stride bass accompaniment is a highlight. Whereas, The Nearness of You, features arpeggio left hand accompaniment and would be a good addition for students practising this skill. 

Our biggest highlights of this book is the clear, uncluttered layout (big plus) and most importantly, the arrangements sound great and are very satisfying to play.

Reflections & Relaxations -8 Peaceful Piano Solos by Mona Rejino

Reflections & Relaxations by Mona Rejino is a delightful collection of eight piano pieces, featuring six original compositions, an Irish Folk Song, and a traditional spiritual. Each piece is beautifully crafted and are shorter studies than some of the other “calm” books reviewed. 

There are a variety of techniques utilised in each piece and the pedagogical value is great for use with our students. This collection is aimed at intermediate level students, and our suggestion is that it would be most valuable to students between a Grade 2 and Grade 4 level. The original compositions are a brilliant reflection of Rejino’s ability to write pedagogically rich educational music for students that sounds great too. This is 10/10 going to be a staple on our bookshelf. 

Calming Piano Solos- Piano Solo & Easy Piano Books

Calming Piano Solos – Easy Piano by Hal Leonard is a collection of 19 peaceful and soothing piano solos.The collection of pieces is diverse and would be ideal for a student who was moving on from Grade 1 level playing, all the way to Grade 3 level students. It will serve them well and be a great resource for them over several years. The sheet music is printed in a large, easy-to-read format, making it clear and easy to follow along.

The pieces in this book span various genres, and include easy piano arrangements of pieces by contemporary composers such as Ludovico Einaudi, Alexis Ffrench, David Lanz, Yann Tierson and Joe Hisaishi. Some of our favourites include “Una Mattina” by Einaudi, “A Beautiful Distraction” by Michele McLaughlin, and “Early Morning Range” by George Winston. 

This is the perfect collection for students who love the “River Flows Through You” style and sound, but need a broader range of repertoire to explore different rhythms, techniques and musicianship skills. 

Calming Piano Solos for Piano Solo by Hal Leonard is the next step up in difficulty. It has the same philosophy as the Easy Piano version, but has more complex arrangements. It includes all of the 19 pieces included in the Easy Piano book (but it has the more difficult arrangements) and an additional 16 pieces (32 total). This collection would best suit a student who is in late Grade 3 level up to around Grade 6. Higher level students might just enjoy having the book to play for personal enjoyment, the arrangements are beautiful and sound great. It would be a fabulous collection for playing as background music at events; calm, familiar and entertaining.

Soothing Piano Worship-20 Peaceful Sacred Songs for Piano

The Phillip Keveren Series has released a new book for Piano Solo, Soothing Piano Worship. It is a collection of contemporary Christian worship songs arranged for solo piano. The book is suitable for pianists of an intermediate level, and Keveren’s arrangements are as always accessible, rich and beautiful to play.

The book’s 12 pieces are each unique in feel and emotion. This could be useful to pianists, from Intermediate level (around Grade 3-4 upwards) who enjoy playing contemporary worship music in a solo setting. The pieces would be a great collection for church services, worship environments, or just for personal enjoyment.

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