Piano Notes 2017-18


Piano Notes were published  in early 2017, and offer students and teachers a wealth of practical advice for the entire ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music examination board) piano syllabus from Grade 1 through to Grade 8, which started in January 2017 and goes through to Spring 2019. The notes include all alternative pieces as well as those printed in each graded book, so they make for a very beneficial and handy guide, irrespective of your standard or ability (and are great to keep by the piano as a reference).

Published by Rhinegold, the leading music education publishers, who also organise the Music and Drama Education Expo Event held in February 2017 at Olympia in London,  Piano Notes have been written by a team of five writers, all of whom are  experienced teachers; Fiona Lau, Katharine May, Michael Round, Murray McLachlan and myself. We wrote around 200-350 words on each piece (depending on the grade), detailing the most important elements, advocating various practice tips and performance suggestions.

My contribution was to write notes for all list C pieces from Grades 1 – 6. I was pleased to find a fairly widespread selection of works; from masters such as Kabalevsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Bartók, through to vibrant piano arrangements, and many Contemporary composer’s works too. Although for my taste, there is probably too much emphasis on the ‘jazz’ inspired style, and not enough on Contemporary classical music, which I believe should be introduced to students from the beginning.


Melanie Spanswick has written and published a wide range of courses, anthologies, examination syllabuses, and text books, including Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). This best-selling graded, progressive piano course contains a large selection of repertoire featuring a huge array of styles and genres, with copious practice tips and suggestions for every piece.

For more information, please visit the publications page, here.

38 Comments Add yours

  1. ADA says:

    The publication looks very useful for teachers !

  2. Alan Bond says:

    Such a wealth of information. How could one manage without it!

  3. Helen Miller says:

    What a great idea and so useful. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. nabil benhafid says:

    Great intro, I hope I win it😀

  5. Yeong says:

    Thanks Melanie, I’m trying to learn about ABRSM exams for my students as it’s not common where I am. This publication will be a big help!

  6. rogertoye says:

    Gotta start somewhere why not with this book and a cup of coffee ?

  7. Lu says:

    This is such an incredibly useful resource – would love to win a copy this year!

  8. Sarah Martin says:

    I’d love a copy of this-they are so useful when teaching the exam syllabus. A valuable source of inspiration and insights into what are often unknown repertoire.

  9. c Spencer says:

    What a wonderful resource for teachers and pupils to get the best out of their pieces!

  10. Rebekah says:

    I’d love a copy! I’m interested in using ABRSM syllabus with my students and this would be incredibly useful!

  11. Now that something I could really use in my piano studio. My students would really benefit!

  12. Phillip Stallwood says:

    An invaluable tool for both students and teachers. This will help students become more discerning in the development of their own personal music style. Well done Melanie !

  13. Elaine Bell says:

    I would love to win this – I am sure I would find it a very useful aid in preparing my pupils for their ABRSM piano exams. Thank you!

  14. Irma Khouw says:

    This is awesome resource.

  15. Matthew Ellson says:

    Great publication. Would be of benefit to both teachers and students

  16. holora says:

    I have the 2016 version and found it very useful. I would love to win the 2017-2018

  17. Leon Whitesell says:

    Certainly, one of the very best, and such a friendly companion for the piano teacher, student, and lover of all good things! It will be welcomed by all aspiring, in addition to the well- launched pianist and teacher.

  18. I’ve never tried ABRSM, so this would really help out!

  19. maggiejcgeorge says:

    Thanks for the opportunity – looks like a great resource. Would love to win. Thx. 👍

  20. Louise says:

    Hi Melanie, I used to follow your blog but lost the connection when I changed my email address, so I’m enjoying getting back to your blog posts. I’d love a copy of the Abrsm notes. Pick me! Pick me!

  21. Would love to win!!! Thanks for the opportunity!!

  22. Would love to win this!! Thanks for the opportunity!!

  23. anjali pandit says:

    Thank you for the great opportunity to win such a wonderful prize.

  24. Jeanette says:

    This would be great for my sons who are working through their grades.

  25. Pamela Denison says:

    I hav several students working towards ABRSM exams, so this book would be very useful.

  26. Noriko Moffat says:

    Wow! Fantastic book. Would be nice to win. 😍😍

  27. Im going to take a look to the book on the web, thanks!

  28. 540mileshome says:

    The exam notes are fabulous, for inspiration, learning and getting familiar with new pieces and not to mention back up to show a student who might ‘challenge’ a teacher ‘look – the book suggests the same’!
    Love how such breadth of info across all the grades is in one single book.

  29. What an interesting publication!!! Really impressive! 🎶

  30. Yvonne Reddy says:

    This is such a useful resource for teaching pieces.

  31. Kath says:

    Looks very useful publication and it sounds like they are using a variety of fresh contributors …so would enjoy reading those, including Melanie of course!

  32. Natasha Areena says:

    What a great book you giveaway! I would love to have a copy !! Thank you 🙂

  33. Veronika says:

    This would be incredible! Thank you for sharing!

  34. Liz Dewhurst says:

    You do find the most amazing books to give away Mel. This will certainly have fresh, inspired ideas that would be extremely helpful to everyone using the ABRSM syllabus

  35. Jo says:

    Just what I need? I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  36. Amy Stanger says:

    This would be so wonderful!

  37. Julie Cooper says:

    Would love to win this resource book written by experts who have studied the pieces in depth so I can focus on the important points when teaching my pupils and raise their chances of getting higher marks in exams!

  38. Many thanks to all those who took part; this competition is now closed 🙂

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