Weekend Competition; the winners…

A big thank you to those who took part in my weekend competition, which offered a chance to win one of two tickets to the Holistic Piano Day, being held at Schott Music (London) with Genia Chudinovich and myself on July 16th.

Congratulations to AmyPianist and Sarah Martin! We look forward to welcoming you both. If you would like to find out more about the event, the schedule and where to book, please click here.


Play it again: PIANO Book 1

The piano is an intoxicating instrument. Those who have played in their youth often harbour a desire to return to it later in life. Piano ‘returners’ make up an increasingly large cohort of amateur pianists. Whether younger or older, it’s usually fairly easy to pick up again and  progress can be swift, proffering the opportunity to fall in love with this majestic instrument (and its colossal repertoire) all over again.

My new two book piano course, Play it again: PIANO has been written with the ‘returner’ in mind. Book 1 was published just last month (and Book 2 will be available from the beginning of July). The first book takes pianists almost back to the beginning (but not quite; this isn’t a piano tutor or method book).

The course consists of 49 piano pieces, the majority of which are drawn from standard repertoire (with emphasis on pedagogical works), starting at elementary level (Grade 1) through to advanced (Grade 8). Each book has an extensive ‘technique’ section at the beginning, with plenty of technical reminders and practice recommendations, and a ‘theory’ section at the end. Each piece contains at least two pages of practice ideas and tips, as well as many musical examples, diagrams and photographs. As this is a progressive course, it’s possible to ‘return’ to a level to suit your current standard; some may want to start at the beginning (which is what I suggest, as this can be beneficial, even your playing is at a much higher level), whilst others may prefer to ‘drop in’ at Book 2 or a later stage.

In Book 1, the technique section focuses on flexibility, posture, and keeping relaxed during practice sessions, with a few warm-up exercises, posture suggestions, and scales, arpeggios, and sight-reading practice tips. The theory section offers note reading reminders and exercises, how to keep time, time signatures, and all the information needed to understand the music within the book.

Each book is divided into four parts, and Book 1 looks like this: Elementary, Late Elementary, Early Intermediate and Intermediate. Although this course is not necessarily exam based, it’s helpful to know the approximate grades for each level; Elementary is roughly Grades 1 – 2 level (ABRSM exam standard), Late Elementary, Grades 2 – 3, Early Intermediate, Grade 3 – 4, and Intermediate, Grades 4 – 5.

Each level contains seven pieces (therefore 28 in Book 1); a technical study, an arrangement and a selection of standard repertoire. My brief was to include a wide variety of styles and genres, so there’s plenty for those who enjoy rock, latin, jazz, blues and even a piece for those who want to try their hand at improvisation. I’ve endeavoured to add a number of favourite original works throughout both volumes, and have balanced these with some terrific lesser-known gems.

The Elementary section includes works by Purcell, Petzold, Bertini, Tchaikovsky, Elgar (an arrangement of Salut d’Amour), a latin number by John Kember and Elena Cobb’s improvisation piece, Super Duck. Whilst the Late Elementary portion features Clarke, W.A. Mozart, Schumann, Gurlitt,  a study by Schytte, a Scott Jopin arrangement and a rock piece by Tim Richards. In the Early Intermediate section you can expect to find works by J.S. Bach, Gounod, Chopin, a study by Lemoine, The Sailor’s Hornpipe (an arrangement), a ragtime piece by John Kember, and a blues number by Mike Readdy. And the final collection, Intermediate, offers Clementi, Burgmuller, Satie, a study by Czerny, an arrangement of Mozart’s A Little Night Music, a rock piece by Jurgen Moser and a minimalist inspired Contemporary piece (Karma from Digressions) by myself.

I’ve included the scale and arpeggio of each key (where appropriate), and warm-up exercises, tailored to certain pieces. There are a myriad of practice ideas, and different methods of breaking pieces down, resembling them with ease and with greater understanding. Each piece contains fingering, dynamic suggestions and (where necessary) some pedalling. Although you may choose to ignore this and add your own.

All the information provided for every piece is transferable to an infinite number of piano works, therefore building solid practical methods for tackling different styles and genres.

This book could be used by a plethora of students; adults returning to this pursuit (it could be useful for study on your own or whilst learning with a teacher), teenagers (or anyone of any age!) who fancy a progressive course with a variety of music (it could be used alongside piano exam preparation too), and piano teachers may find it a beneficial selection of repertoire to use with adult students in particular (several piano teaching friends have already started using Book 1 for this purpose).

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The pages are well laid out (see above) and are designed with ‘Tips’ and ‘technique’ box-outs (the books are published by one of the world’s leading music publishing houses, Schott), and I hope it’s an easy to use course, inspiring pianists to rekindle their love for the piano.

You can find out more here, watch my taster videos by clicking on the links below, and order your copy from many outlets worldwide, including:

For those in the UK: Schott Music or Amazon (there are many other online shops also selling the book).

For those in Europe: Schott Music

For those in the US: Amazon

For those in Canada: Amazon

For those in Japan: Amazon





 

Weekend Competition: Easy Concert Pieces

Today’s competition features two new publications from Schott Music; Easy Concert Pieces Books 1 & 2. These volumes consist of elementary pieces, which are in a progressive order. Great for recitals, concerts, competitions and exams, they offer a broad selection of styles and genres from Baroque through to Contemporary. Both books come with a useful audio CD.

Two lucky winners will receive one book each, so please leave your name and comment in the comment box at the end of this blog post to be in with a chance of winning. As always, I will announce the winner on Sunday night (British time). Good luck!

You can find out more and purchase Volume 1 here and Volume 2 here.

Weekend Competition: Piano Junior

Today’s competition features the recently published piano method, Piano Junior (Schott Music). Written by German composer and pedagogue Hans Günter-Heumann, it is designed as ‘A creative and interactive piano course’ for children from the age of 6, which progresses in small, manageable steps.

The course encourages creativity through regular, integrated ‘corners’, such as composing, improvising, playing, technique, ear training, memory, sight-reading and music quizzes. Introduced by the main ‘character’, PJ the robot, this beautifully illustrated method features a whole series of books, as well as a plethora of other materials including videos, audio demos and play-alongs for all the pieces, as well as a range of extra fun resources to download.  The series offers a lesson, theory, duet and performance book in, at present, Level 1 & 2 (Level 3 & 4 will be available soon).

I have a Level 1 Theory, Duet and Performance book (for one winner (3 books)), and a Level 2 Theory, Duet and Performance book (for a second winner (3 further books)), in this week’s lucky draw. You can explore the books here.

Please leave your comments in the comment box at the end of this post, I will announce the two winners on Monday evening (British time). Good luck!

You can find out much more about the Piano Junior method from the comprehensive website here.


Weekend Competition winners…

ed_13860-turner_648_Many thanks to all who took part in my weekend competition. The prizes consist of one copy of My First Chopin and one of The Piano Playlist, both published by German music publisher, Schott Music.

Without further ado, the winners are…

David Barton wins My First Chopin

and Helen Miller wins The Piano Playlist

CONGRATULATIONS! ed_22459_1-ohmen_648_

Please send your address via the contact page on this blog, and your book will be on its way.

You can find out more about these publications on Schott’s website here.

There will be more competitions coming soon!


 

Weekend Competition: The Piano Playlist & My First Chopin

Today’s weekend competition features two volumes, both new publications from Schott Music.

ed_13860-turner_648_The Piano Playlist is a collection of 50 arrangements by Barrie Carson Turner, featuring many popular favourites from opera arias (Habanera from Carmen by Bizet, Nessun Dorma from Turandot, and O Mio Babbino Caro from Gianni Schicchi both by Puccini), to ballet numbers, famous gems from orchestral works (Ode to Joy (Beethoven), The Swan (Saint-Saëns), Adagietto (Mahler’s 4th Symphony)), to piano concertos, instrumental music and  arrangements of piano pieces. Great for intermediate to advanced players.

ed_22459_1-ohmen_648_

My First Chopin has been  compiled by German pianist and pedagogue, Wilhelm Ohman. This collection of 20 pieces lies well within the capabilities of the advanced player, and contains some of Chopin’s best-loved works including a group of Preludes, Waltzes, Mazurkas and Nocturnes. These works are particularly popular amongst students, and this book features Raindrop Prelude Op. 28 No. 15, Prelude in B minor Op. 28 No. 6, Waltz in B minor Op. posth. 69 No. 2, Mazurka in B flat major Op. 7 No. 1, Nocturne in C sharp minor No. 20 Op. posth., Funeral March (from Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor Op. 35), to name a few favourites. An excellent addition to any library.

I have one copy of each to give away for two lucky winners, Please leave your comment in the comment box at the end of this blog post to be in with a chance of winning. I will announce the winners on Sunday evening (British time).

To find out more or purchase these books click here and here.


Weekend Competition: Three prizes!

getattachmentthumbnailToday’s competition features three Schott publications;

Russian Folk tunes comprises a set of traditional tunes arranged and played by bandoneonist, composer and arranger Julian Rowlands. There are 23 pieces in the volume, intended for approximately intermediate to advanced players. Find out more here.

Piano Piccolo which contains 111 easy original piano pieces compiled by German composer, teacher and arranger Hans-Günter Heumann. Great for elementary students who desire a broader repertoire. Find out more here.

Blues, Boogie and Gospel Collection by British composer and jazz pianist Tim Richards. This book contains 13 original pieces plus two arrangements as well as copious practice and performance notes. Find out more here.

As always, for a chance to win one of these publications, please leave your comments in the comment box at the end of this post, and I will announce the three winners on Sunday evening (British time), here on the blog. Good luck!


 

Jazz Piano Tutorials by Tim Richards

Tim Richards

I don’t usually feature jazz, rock or pop piano music here on this blog, but occasionally it’s fun to ring the changes. Acclaimed jazz pianist and educator Tim Richards has recently released five excellent tutorial videos to accompany his successful books Exploring Jazz Piano (Volume 1), published by Schott Music. These informative and engaging clips cover a range of jazz improvisation techniques, from chords, sequences and scale patterns to vertical and horizontal improvisation.

Exploring Jazz Piano, Tim’s  popular  two-volume  method,  has  helped  to demystify  jazz  for  many pianists.  The  new  videos  are  a  great  supporting  resource, bringing the book to life with practical advice and demonstrations direct from the author.

I’ve dipped into this book as part of a project I’ve undertaken this year, and it certainly shed light on aspects of improvisation and chord sequences for me (I know little about jazz or blues). For the classical pianist, jazz can appear an enigma, particularly improvisation. Instrumental teachers are often expected to provide knowledge and instruction on all styles of music, so with this in mind, volumes such as these accompanied by YouTube tutorials can be immensely valuable.

The following video links to a playlist of all five tutorials. I hope you find them useful and of interest. Tim has also published a volume entitled, Improvising Blues Piano, which has a similar series of related videos; you can find out more here.