Town Fair

20140517_105303A month or so ago I received a kind email from the chamber of commerce of a neighboring town asking for some of my students to perform on stage at the annual town fair. Of course I agreed! I am always excited for my students to have opportunities to perform in the community. It’s a great way to serve others and spread joy.

I asked my tech guy (my husband ūüôā ) to help coordinate the equipment we¬†would need. We had to transport my digital keyboard and keyboard amplifier and all the necessary cords. It was definitely a workout loading all of the equipment into the back of our minivan, carrying it from our parking spot to the stage, and vice versa at the end of the performance!

Photo May 17, 10 21 56 AMThe performance was fun. We had a 30 minute time slot, so I couldn’t ask all of my students to participate. I chose students who were confident and who also had a catchy piece to play. This was the line up (more information on these pieces can be found on this¬†previous blog post):

Prelude #1 in C Major by Robert Vandall

Mystical Tarantella by Robert Vandall

20140517_100258Monkey Blues by Ruth Perdew
Viva La Vida by Coldplay20140517_100528Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin
20140517_100734 Celebration by Anne Crosby Gaudet20140517_100935 Arabesque by Burgmuller20140517_101020Let It Go from Frozen
20140517_101201 The Aerialists from The Circus by Turina

C.S.Theme and Variations by Randall Compton20140517_10173320140517_095419It was lots of fun! Pianists don’t often get the chance to perform outside, so it was a neat experience. I hope we get the chance to play again next year.


Favorite Repertoire Spring 2014

my_favoritesI don’t know about you, but I LOVE getting repertoire ideas from other piano teachers. I love getting recommendations for¬†pieces that pack a punch when it comes to motivating students and boosting musical growth.

In choosing my favorite repertoire, I look for pieces that can be learned somewhat easily. Usually these pieces have repeating patterns or positions that fit easily under the hands. They all have to sparkle. Students want to shine at the recital, or for their Guild auditions, or playing the piano for Grandma at the family gathering. And I want to help them shine.

So here are a few picks for this year:

Anne Crosby Gaudet has lately become one of my favorite composers for elementary and intermediate repertoire. Some of the selections I used this year:
Ocean Spray (from Fuzzy Beluga, published by Frederick Harris)
Celebration (from In My Dreams, published by Frederick Harris)
Busy Beavers (from Freddie the Frog, published by Frederick Harris)
Boogie Woogie Blues (also from Freddie the Frog)
The Waterfall (also from In My Dreams)

Musical MiniaturesI was delighted to find my old copy of Musical Miniatures by Margaret Goldston while going through my music library earlier this year. I had used it several years ago and enjoyed it, then forgot about it when we moved across country a few years ago. Two of the pieces that I taught this year were:

Monkey Blues by Ruth Perdew (published by Alfred) has been a student favorite for a few years now. The jazzy melody is a real draw for younger pianists.

Sliding by Faina Lushtak (from Kaleidoscope, part of the Pianovations series from Willis Music) is a great piece for teaching sixteenth note values and finger independence.

The Busy Machine by Dubliansky is found in the FJH Piano Literature Book 1 (part of the Developing Pianists series). It is easy to learn and memorize, with some nice expressive elements included. You don’t always see¬†accelerando¬†in a beginning level piece – it’s fun for students to be given approval to speed up!

I can’t let a “favorites” list go by without including some Robert Vandall selections. His pieces are the epitome of repeating patterns and positions that lay well under the five fingers. The pieces I used the most this year were:
That’s Cool¬†(from¬†Celebrated Virtuosic Solos Book 2)
Scherzo (also CVS2)
Triad Toccatina (from Celebrated Virtuosic Solos Book 3)
Mystical Tarantella (also from CVS3)
High Point Toccata (from Celebrated Virtuosic Solos Book 4)
Prelude #1 in CM (from Preludes Book 1)
Prelude #2 in DM (from Preludes Book 1)
Prelude #4 in FM (from Preludes Book 1)

I use the Faber Piano Adventure series with my students.Some of their pieces are perennial favorites and deserve a spot in the 2014 Favorites:
Pumpkin Boogie (from Lesson 2B)
Night of the Tarantella (from Lesson 3A)
Snowfall (from Lesson 3B)
Highland Jig (from Lesson 3B)

Let It Go (from Frozen). I know some teachers and parents are tired of hearing this song, but I gotta say, if it gets students excited about playing, I will teach it to them. With enthusiasm. ūüôā

Maple Leaf Rag by Joplin. I started a transfer student in January and this is the piece she requested to learn. It has taken months to learn and perfect, but both of us are excited that she is going to play it for the spring recital.

Some surprising inclusions:
Viva La Vida by Coldplay. One of the boys in my studio requested this one. I simplified and rearranged it for him, and it sounds really great. This is going to make a great recital piece as well.
DJ by Usher. Same boy requested this one as well. Again, I simplified and rewrote. He really sounds great playing this. I love that these songs can be so motivating to boys – probably because of the Minecraft parodies. ūüôā

Hope this list is helpful! Feel free to add great pieces you have loved to teach this year.