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“For 30 years I have had the pleasure of helping students of all ages and abilities take their next steps at the piano. I would love to support your journey at the piano too, and very much look forward to hearing from you – do please get in touch.
The Christmas season is accompanied by a uniquely popular and significant body of music spanning multiple genres, and it’s no wonder that there are so many varied piano collections to choose from, whatever your level.
Once again this year, here is the updated and expanded Pianodao shortlist of the best seasonal piano sheet music. And as ever, remember that Pianodao Tea Room members will receive a 20% discount from Musicroom for any of the publications included in the review
The 2021 Pianodao shortlist begins with music collections aimed at beginner to elementary players (around UK Grade 2), including a mix of new titles for 2021 alongside classic favourites…
The pianist Andor Földes (1913-1992) was one of the great child ‘prodigies’ of the early twentieth century, making his public debut performing a Mozart concerto with the Budapest Philharmonic in 1921 when he was just 8 years old, and entering the Liszt Academy (where he studied with the great Ernst von Dohnányi and Béla Bartók) before he was even a teenager.
Földes went on to enjoy a hugely successful concert and recording career, as well as writing several books, including the seminal Keys to the Keyboard (1950, sadly no longer in print, but an exceptionally wise and notably humane book).
When Collins Music published Karen Marshall and David Blackwell’s excellent Get Set! Piano Christmas Crackers collection in 2018, they also brought out a few extra arrangements as downloads only, supporting the book.
I have picked my favourite three and with the permission of Collins Music, I am pleased to present them here with exclusive introductions by David Blackwell…
This arrangement by Karen Marshall of the ever-popular festive favourite is the first piece from the best-selling Get Set! Piano Christmas Crackers book, published by Collins Music and shared exclusively online here on Pianodao with their generous permission.
The arrangement is suitable for players who have only just started lessons, while also including a musically engaging optional teacher/parent duet part.
October is typically the month when musicians and teachers turn their attention to the imminent arrival of the festive Christmas season. It’s that time where we line up our resources, stock up on seasonal sheet music, and begin practising and teaching music with a holiday flair!
As ever, Pianodao will offer plenty of support. Over the next few days, I am thrilled to be able to share an exclusive collection of seasonal downloads courtesy of Karen Marshall, David Blackwell and Collins Music.
Now I am delighted to tell you about a recently released sheet music publication which includes all of these rediscovered and reissued works, together with a few other newly resurrected miniatures.
Edited by Jonathan Clinch, and brought to us by Novello Music, Herbert Howells Piano Works is an absolute treat for all lovers of this music, and a very welcome addition to the repertoire of advanced players.
With a single Tweet, the exam board ABRSM have in the last week provoked what they have themselves described as a “passionate debate”.
Defending their stance, ABRSM have subsequently confirmed that these are the words of their Chief Examiner, John Holmes, quoted from his presentation at this year’s Music Education EXPO event in London:
In the context of his talk, Holmes will no doubt have made many other points, adding balance and nuance to his position. That said, his view of a “virtuous circle of motivation” was surely not made up on the spot. We must accept this as his well-rehearsed position on the nature of and relationship between musical achievement, assessment and intrinsic motivation.
Discussion of these important concepts must be welcomed. As teachers it is our basic responsibility to question ideas, absorb good material, develop subject knowledge and promote better understanding. I should add that we also have a duty to confront that which might genuinely harm our students.
These issues are of course also of interest and importance to the parents of any child learning to sing or play a musical instrument. In contributing this response, I hope my thoughts might be considered both by teachers and by parents who are rightly keen to understand their childrens’ progress.
Together, let’s begin to unpack some of the many positive ways that we can all celebrate our childrens’ and our own adult achievements.