Faber Music’s ‘Easy Piano Series’ has steadily been establishing itself as one of the brightest jewels in the publisher’s sparkling catalogue of educational piano music.
New for 2019, this collection of seasonal favourites sets out to maintain the high standards of the series. Let’s take a quick peek inside…
A Festive Celebration
For an introduction to this series, you might want to check out my reviews of the Films, Shows and Classical titles previously released. In short, each of these books presents arrangements of popular favourites that are suitable for elementary pianists, all in an attractive eye-catching format that will appeal to players of all ages.
The new addition to the series maintains the established house style, and appears with this enticing cover:
Within, the 32-page book is printed on white paper, with clean, well-spaced notation. There is a contents page, and then it’s straight to the scores themselves. Faber Music provide no additional information about the pieces, but do list the arrangers as Oliver Weeks and Pam Wedgwood.
The included titles are:
- The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) (Nat King Cole)
- Frosty The Snowman (Bing Crosby)
- Jingle Bell Rock (Bobby Helms)
- Last Christmas (Wham!)
- Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Dean Martin)
- Little Donkey (Boswell)
- Mary Did You Know (Zara Larsson)
- Mistletoe & Wine (Cliff Richard)
- O Holy Night (Jonny Mathis)
- Winter Wonderland (Trad.)
- Coventry Carol (arr. Wedgwood)
- Ding Dong Merrily on High (arr. Wedgwood)
The Easy Piano Series: Christmas book is billed as being suitable for players of UK Grade 1-2 level; I would suggest that the arrangements mostly sit at the upper end of that range.
One reason for this is that Weeks and Wedgwood have provided as much harmonic foundation as possible, meaning that there is quite a lot of chordal writing in some pieces.
Not only that, but they have not scrimped on including delicious jazz harmonies in pieces such as The Christmas Song; this is a true strength of the collection, even though it will make some pieces more challenging for those with smaller hands.
To help players along, the arrangers have included a generous smattering of fingering suggestions throughout. There are also plenty of dynamic and phrasing indications, and even occasional direct pedalling marks. It’s a commendably detailed score.
As with the previous titles in the series, lyrics are included where appropriate, including multiple verses; chord symbols are also included above the piano part, so that keyboard and guitar players can join in the fun.
For Faber Music to have included so much helpful performance detail without the pages becoming messy is a testament to the quality and care taken at the engraving stage, and deserves special commendation on this occasion.
This is another impressive collection from Faber Music which confirms my growing enthusiasm for this series. The Films and Shows collections have already proved very popular with my own students (young and adult), and I have no doubt that this one will be another success.
What I especially like here is the quality of the arrangements, so sympathetic to the originals while also being accessible to less advanced players. That others can join in, singing and strumming along, is the icing on an already delicious stollen!
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