ABRSM Piano Grade 1

Andrew Eales: Fresh Air

Products featured here are selected for review by ANDREW EALES

I am delighted to announce that my composition Fresh Air has been selected and licensed by ABRSM for inclusion in their 2023-24 Grade 1 Piano Exam Pieces book.

The piece was originally composed for and published in the 2018 Editions Musica Ferrum collection Mosaic 1.

The composition is a gentle tune which I wrote in my head while walking in the local park with my dog Bella one lovely spring morning. The chords I’ve used mostly lack their bass note, giving a sense of weightlessness, as if floating in calm blue skies.

Here’s my recording of the piece, followed by my practice tips…

Practice Tips

  • Focus on developing a legato, singing tone with the right hand, using all five fingers with both evenness and expressive control.
  • At the start, project the first melody note clearly with the little finger, playing with firmness and presenting the tune with confidence.
  • Consider which notes in each phrase need the most emphasis.
  • Be careful to make sure that the semibreves/whole notes are held for their full length where written.
  • With the left hand, aim for a smooth connection moving from one chord to the next.
  • Try putting hands together initially in four-bar phrases and then longer ‘chunks’.
  • Consider the overall shape of the piece: where is the climax? how much should you slow down at the end?
  • Is it possible to reach and use the pedal at the end? (check this before starting, and if necessary sit forward on the stool).
  • Use my recording as a guide, but also feel free to interpret the piece in your own personal way.

For tips on how to learn other pieces, and advice on developing an enjoyable practice routine, check out my book How to Practise Music, published worldwide by Hal Leonard. Find out more here

The Pianodao review of the ABRSM 2023-24 Piano Syllabus and publications is available to read here.

Fresh Air comes from the first book in the innovative series Mosaic published by Editions Musica Ferrum. You can find out more here:

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Published by

Andrew Eales

Andrew Eales is a widely respected piano educator, writer and composer based on Milton Keynes UK. His book HOW TO PRACTISE MUSIC is published by Hal Leonard.