As we begin a new year of piano lessons, I naturally start thinking about restocking my supply of piano music. I like to have music readily accessible to hand out to students during the lesson as inspiration hits.
The most basic books I keep on hand at all times are the method books. I prefer to use Faber’s Piano Adventures series. I usually will require each elementary student to have the Lesson, Performance, and Theory books in their specific level. Although each elementary student has those three books at any given time, we do not follow the performance and theory books through page by page because I like to supplement with other material that is interesting to the individual student. And, as for theory, I have been using my iPad a lot more lately to reinforce theory concepts during the lesson time.
One of the hardest and most rewarding jobs of a piano teacher is finding music for individual students. One must keep in mind skill level, amount of practice time available and student interest. While one student may love to play any Taylor Swift song out there, another student may roll their eyes at the mere mention of playing a Taylor Swift song. Hence, we are constantly on the search for a wide variety of inspirational pieces which will appeal to a huge range of tastes and skill levels.
Here are some of my favorite recent supplemental pieces:
Celebration by Anne Crosby – Read my blog post about it here. Simply a fantastic piece which can be used by multiple skill levels.
Bubble Blues by Ruth Perdew (Myklas Contest Winners Book 1) has been a huge hit especially with elementary boys. The jazzy style and repetitive sequences made it very enjoyable to hear and to play.
A few Robert Vandall pieces are studio favorites (anything by him is notable!):
Trumpet Fanfare (Myklas Contest Winners Book 1)
That’s Cool, Sprite’s Delight, Spider’s Bite, Tambourine, Scherzo (all found in the book Celebrated Virtuosic Solos Book 2)
Triad Toccatina (Celebrated Virtuosic Solos Book 3)
Whirlwind (Celebrated Virtuosic Solos Book 5)
Recently Fur Elise has made a resurgence in popularity among piano students. This is wonderful because there is so much good teaching material in this piece which translates to other pieces later on.
Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi has required some practice time at the piano, but it is well worth it when the student gets to perform the piece for admiring friends and relatives. This piece puts a smile on everyone’s face!
Other recent additions include:
He’s a Pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean
Misty Mountains from The Hobbit
What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction
I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
Love Story by Taylor Swift
The Popular Praise series contains many books at different levels. It has been motivating for students to be able to play the songs they sing in their churches and hear on the radio.
I’m sure there will be many new additions to the our piano repertoire this year! I am excited to see where students take me on our road to finding great pieces!