New and Reviewed – July Edition

Margaret Chalmers plays through two exciting new releases on the sheet music market and shares her thoughts.
Margaret Chalmers plays through two exciting new releases on the sheet music market and shares her thoughts.

Favorite Songs in Easy Keys

I was visiting my mum for a few days, put this book on her piano, and did my first play through and stopped at the midway staple.  Time for a break. The TV and piano are in the same room, but Mum was enjoying listening, and let me know there was time later if I wanted to play more of the book before the News. That’s a fair recommendation!

The arrangements are simple but effective. They convey most of the important musical information with Grand staff, lyrics and chords.  I prefer lyrics to be written under the notes, rather than massed at the end of the song. This was the case, with just a couple of songs like The Rainbow Connection and Baby Love having the third verse of lyrics added after the score. 

The songs are printed in alphabetical order of titles for easy locating in the book. There’s lots of music between Africa and Yesterday! As a teacher, I see these books being especially attractive to adult students and teens with an ear for the popular music of “last century”.  The limit to key signatures of Never more than One Sharp or Flat is useful in building confidence and fluent reading.

Piano Ballads in Easy Keys

These easy arrangements are musically satisfying, and build musical literacy in popular repertoire. My teen and adult students realise they know these iconic ballads, and they are keen to play them. Songs are presented in alphabetical order from Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful, to Elton John’s Your Song, and in between, the pianist encounters Simon & Garfunkel, Ed Sheeran, Carole King, Sam Smith and others. 

The arrangements on Grand staff, lyrics and chords allow pianists to innovate and build their own arrangements. 

As a learning experience, the pianist finds usual score rehearsal marks of repeats, Da Capo, Coda signs etc. Aurally, I encourage my students to compare the score with the released version and adapt. The vocal line, for example in Your Song is very basic, and some additional notes could be added by the keen player. With the No more than One Sharp or Flat, these keys can be reinforced, along with suitable chord awareness. The arrangements encourage fluent reading. 

Margaret Chalmers

Margaret Chalmers has an established, vibrant piano studio in Mackay, Queensland.  PianoPets have become an engaging feature, and the studio thrives with an approach of Musical Excellence with kindness and creativity.  Find out more on Facebook at

Tags from the story
0 replies on “New and Reviewed – July Edition”