It’s a new academic year and this means new piano repertoire. Today’s post focuses on educational piano repertoire which you may be interested in acquiring either for yourself or for your students.
Earlier this month a new volume of Christmas music was released by US company Willis Music. I started working with Willis last year, and, in February 2022, we published my two-book piano course, First Repertoire For Little Pianists, which is a progressive series intended for young beginners. The Willis Music Company are renowned for publishing the complete John Thompson Piano Tutor Series, Edna May Burnham’s ever-popular collection A Dozen A Day, and a large catalogue of piano music written by educational composer William Gillock – amongst may other great titles. Do check them out!
This Christmas volume, entitled Christmas Pop Favourites, contains 18 piano arrangements. Yuletide selections range from Blue Christmas and Sleigh Ride to Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Christmas Time Is Here. Intended for intermediate standard pianists or those of approximately Grade 5 – 7 of the British examination board levels, the tunes have been written in a ‘pop’ style and, in my opinion, lie very comfortably under the fingers. The pop favourites have been transformed for piano solo by some of Willis’ highly regarded stable of composers: Glenda Austin, Eric Baumgartner, Melody Bober, Randall Hartsell, Naoko Ikeda, Carolyn Miller, Carolyn Setliff, Jason Sifford, and me! I have arranged two pieces; Blue Christmas and Somewhere In My Memory. Despite being relatively new to arranging, I thoroughly enjoyed working through these lovely little tunes – even though it was mid-April at the time.
This volume would be a great addition to your piano library; it’s useful for those who need a Christmas tune for a student concert or school recital, and it would be perfect for that ‘singalong’ around the piano on Christmas Eve. You can find out much more and purchase a copy, here.
Pianist Magazine have published a series of ‘special editions’ for their readers. They fall into three categories; beginner, intermediate and advanced level. Each book contains a wide selection of pieces, and some have practice tips and suggestions, written in a similar manner to those found in the magazine. I have written the tips for the Beginner volume. Find out more here.
I’d also like to highlight a series of piano pieces which I composed especially for Pianist Magazine. Over the past year, alongside my regular ‘How-To-Play’ article where I offer performance and practice tips on an elementary level piece, I have contributed a composition of comparable difficulty. For those unfamiliar with this magazine, it offers over 40 pages of sheet music in every edition, alongside a recording of all the printed music, which is played by concert pianist Chenyin Li. If you are an elementary pianist (approximately Grade 1 – 3 level), you might consider subscribing; you will find an interesting array of easier pieces to play and study, and will be able to hear them played by a professional.
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.