Overall, Pianodao has had more than 100,000 hits this year – so firstly a HUGE and heart-felt THANK YOU to all who have supported the site, shared posts and helped it to gain some recognition.
A particular word of thanks too, to the Guest Authors who have contributed articles and insights over the year!
As December draws on, I can now announce the top ten posts of 2016, based on their popularity according to WordPress stats.
Continue reading Top Ten Posts 2016
“Mindfulness” has become one of the buzzwords of the decade. We’ve no doubt all seen the regular articles about it in the popular press, exploring the possible benefits of mindfulness practice for our physical and mental health, productivity, learning, and general happiness.
But what of piano players – how can we benefit from mindfulness practice?
It’s a question for which we might hope to find answers in highly respected teacher, composer and pianist Mark Tanner’s hotly anticipated book and much lauded The Mindful Pianist, published by Faber Music this autumn.
Continue reading Mark Tanner’s ‘The Mindful Pianist’
Improvisation in Action – A Video!
In this series, I have written many words and imparted knowledge from my experience. But merely in print form.
I have mentioned a few times though, that you need to dip your foot in the pool and go for it yourself. That got me thinking about videoing myself noodling around until I “found” something that constituted a tune.
I’ve never done this before, so it was quite interesting for me as well. I put my phone on a shoe box and started taping in my music room. I only did one take and had never consciously heard this tune before.
Continue reading Simon Reich on Improvisation: Part 3
Sheet Music Review
Here’s a book that I suspect many will rush to buy – a bumper collection of easy piano arrangements of great popular tunes, from the contemporary to the classic.
With (according to the cover) over 90,000 units sold, the hits that make up this “Ultimate Songlist” plunder the charts across many decades, from Cilla Black to One Direction, from Nat King Cole to Elbow, and from Wham! to Radiohead. Movies are well represented too, with The Hanging Tree (from The Hunger Games series) and Let it Go! (from Frozen) standing out as welcome highlights.
In theory there should be something here for everyone, and in practice … there probably is!
Continue reading Ultimate Easy Piano Songlist
Sheet Music Review
Tim Richards will be known to many readers as the best-selling author of the seminal Improvising Blues Piano, which set a new standard in jazz education publishing upon its first release back in 1997.
His follow up books Exploring Jazz Piano volumes 1 and 2, and Exploring Latin Piano (co-written with John Crawford de Cominges) have consolidated his place as a leading authority in the field of blues and jazz piano playing and teaching. Before proceeding, let me say that if you don’t already own Tim’s previous books, you owe it to yourself to buy copies right away.
Tim’s latest publication (once again brought to us by the forward-thinking Schott Music) is called Tim Richards Blues, Boogie and Gospel Collection – hereafter BBGC for short.
Continue reading Blues, Boogie & Gospel Collection
Sheet Music Review
Hot off the press from Editions Musica Ferrum, Capturing the Spirit of Christmas features 12 Carols arranged for piano, six by Barbara Arens and six by Alison Mathews. Several of Barbara’s books have been featured here before, and Alison will be known to many readers as the composer of Piano Planets, a collection of original pieces previously published by EVC Music Publications.
As with all Editions Musica Ferrum publications, the book has a high quality presentation with a traditional vibe. I’m a fan of this approach, and rather feel the score is a work of art in its own right! But what of the content?
Continue reading Capturing the Spirit of Christmas