New and Reviewed – June Edition

Standout Solos for Recitals – 10 Dramatic Pieces for Piano

My studio holds many Melody Bober books, so I was very excited to play through this collection and it didn’t disappoint.

There are many engaging pieces in a wide variety of styles, ranging from the fast and furious, The Chase, to the more subdued and flowing, Prelude in A Minor. This repertoire will engage and excite your intermediate students.  There is the technical challenge of extended broken chords, octaves, and full coverage of the keyboard along with a good ledger-line reading workout.

The typesetting is very clear with a slightly larger than usual font for this level. The pieces are 2 or 3 pages long and would be suitable for a Grade 5-6 student. 

Uplifting Piano Solos

This is a very eclectic collection of arrangements ranging from nostalgic pop songs (Are You Lonesome Tonight), to folk songs (Scarborough Fair) and culminating in a showstopper fantasy version of the Ukrainian Bell Carol.

The pieces are of a late intermediate to early advanced level. They are certainly a good technical workout and demand a good harmonic understanding. Most of the pieces undergo one or more key modulations.

The layout is clear and easy to read with well-conceived directions throughout.

I enjoyed playing through these very familiar pieces and thought they would be well suited to a teacher performance at a student recital or perhaps for an advanced adult student.

Piano Music by Women Composers – Book 1

What a treasure trove here compiled by Immanuela Gruenberg!  This is a collection of delightful, often whimsical pieces by a variety of female composers. 

The collection is around Grade 4-5 level with short 2–3-page pieces which are clear, easy to read and thoughtfully edited. There are 40 pieces in this book from 9 composers born in the 19th century. There is a comprehensive list of composer biographies which is helpful as some of them are not well known.I particularly enjoyed playing the pieces from Children’s Carnival by Amy Beach and Cecile Chaminade’s Children’s Album. This album is something I know I will reach for again and again; both for student repertoire and for my own enjoyment.

Piano Music by Women Composers – Book 2

The joy continues with Book 2.  In this collection there are 30 intermediate to upper intermediate level pieces by 20 female composers.

Once again, the book begins with composer biographies and has been carefully edited with extremely helpful performance suggestions by Immanuela Gruenberg.

The pieces in this collection require greater technical prowess and are longer than those in Book 1.  The delightful, It’s Raining by Melanie Bonis is 8 pages long, so there is plenty for your more advanced students to get stuck into. 

There is so much to love in these collections.  I think they would be a welcome addition to any studio, but particularly for your advanced teen students who love Romantic music.

Cathy runs a busy studio in Perth Western Australia and has been teaching for 32 years. She is yet to teach a 2nd generation, but it can’t be far off! Cathy loves to see her students grow and evolve into musicians and she really enjoys the connections and relationships that exist in her studio.

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