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