New and Reviewed – June Edition

Geoffrey Scarlett gives his thoughts on two very exciting new releases on the sheet music market.

Final Fantasy – Easy Piano

This book lives up to the “easy piano” series name by using large font, simple key-signatures and rarely venturing above or below the stave. Reach requirements do not extend past a 7th, which make this book ideal for some of my younger students or older beginners with smaller hands. 

Final Fantasy’s soundtracks are an excellent draw for achievable video game music for beginners and this selection is proof, with uncomplicated yet beautiful melody lines, limited polyrhythm and easy introduction to concepts such as codas. Pieces like “the Prelude” would make a great substitute or complement to certain dexterity exercises while also serving as a tool to explain the chords used to make up the piece. 

These pieces would be usable as AMEB extra list pieces for the Piano For Leisure Syllabus at around the Grade 3-4 level and I would recommend this edition for any teachers with students interested in the Final Fantasy series.

Disney Peaceful Piano Solos Book 2

Jerry Cleveland’s arrangements are certainly targeted at intermediate to advanced pianists. Flourishing arpeggios, blocky chord passages and sophisticated rhythms will present an excellent challenge to enthusiastic players. The pieces in this volume would equate to around Grade 6-8 AMEB standard. There is a great variety of Disney music spread through that should broaden students’ Disney repertoire regardless of age – it is amazing to see “The Ballad Of Davy Crockett” alongside numbers from ‘Frozen 2’ and the ‘Aladdin’ reboot. 

Achieving the movie magic of Disney requires the use of various ornaments, appoggiaturas and tremolos as well as challenging tempo changes. Being an advanced book it is pleasing to see original keys & rhythms faithful to the composers’ wishes. If anything my only query, from a teacher’s point of view, would be playing play tunes such as “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” or “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” in the ‘peaceful’ manner that their inclusion in this volume suggests! 

All in all, this is an excellent resource that will definitely motivate a few of my more Disney-minded advanced students!

Geoffrey Scarlett

Geoffrey is a piano teacher and accompanist at St Michaels Grammar & Ivanhoe Grammar in Melbourne, moonlighting as a wedding/function keyboardist and amateur theatre repetiteur. He is absolutely mad for movie and game soundtracks and loves arranging & assembling medleys for students of all ages. 
Instagram: @geoffscarlett

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