Film Themes: The Piano Collection

Sheet Music Review

Compare weekly cinema attendance with the numbers who go to classical concerts (or any other sort, come to think of it!) and you will be left with no doubt as to why music composed for films works its magic in the hearts and minds of listeners more than any other genre.

And it is no wonder that those who take up an instrument are so quick to ask teachers if they can learn their favourite film themes.

In the case of the most popular composers and successful scores, there’s very often a tie-in publication so that fans can buy the sheet music, as was the case with the excellent La La Land score which I recently reviewed here.

But for those after an anthology of their favourite pieces, the choice is not so easy. Some publications of this kind provide poor transcriptions, while others aren’t sympathetically arranged for piano, taking account of the player’s level.

It is with real pleasure that I can therefore warmly recommend the latest piano book from Faber Music, a collection simply entitled Film Themes: The Piano Collection.

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Pedal your way to Perfection!

Sheet Music Review

Over the last couple of decades I have enjoyed the privilege of teaching many teenage beginners, but have often found it difficult selecting the best material for them. These days we have become somewhat spoilt for choice when it comes to child-friendly beginner material, but music and method for the teenager remains a bit more thin on the ground.

Composer and teacher Marcel Zidani believes his new publication Hey Presto! Pedal your way to Piano Perfection offers a solution to the problem of older beginners losing interest due to musically dull method books. Describing the book as a “Fast-track Piano Method for ages 11 to Adult” which will help the beginner “sound like a pro in minutes”, he writes:

“You will find that this method is a modern approach to learning the piano and is designed to help beginner pianists create a professional sound very quickly. With the use of the sustain pedal, a good piano teacher and the creative writing of this composer, you will be inspired to complete the course.”

From the outset, it is clear that the unique selling point of Hey Presto! is the immediate use of the sustain pedal. But just how does this work in practice?

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Easy Concert Pieces

Sheet Music review

Easy Concert Pieces is a brand new series of three piano collections edited by Monika Twelsiek and Rainer Mohrs, and published worldwide by Schott Music. The first book came out last year, while Book 2 has just been published. I will look at both, and let’s see how the series is shaping up!

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My Journey towards the End of Time

I am delighted to host this wonderfully reflective post by the brilliant young pianist Iyad Sughayer, which touches on the nature of musical engagement:

Guest post by Iyad Sughayer

Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time is perhaps one of his most celebrated works. Written during his time as a war prisoner at the Nazi Stalag VIII-A camp after the German invasion of France, it is the most intense religiously inspired work I have ever come across.

Despite coming from a Muslim background, having grown up in Jordan, I was still able to understand the strong Catholic Liturgy behind the work. Indeed Messiaen’s Catholic beliefs are clearly and beautifully portrayed throughout the work.

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SHINE Because of Music!

I’ve just heard about a FREE event taking part in London on 7th July 2017, which looks fantastic!

“Shine!” is a celebratory event hosted by ABRSM in partnership with the Barbican and Classic FM with a great line up of speakers, performers and awards to celebrate music education.

Confirmed to be appearing are the London Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Jess Gillam, Sir Simon Rattle and Classic FM presenter Myleene Klass.

Whatever your interest in music – whether a player, teacher, student or parent – this looks like a fantastic programme that offers something for everyone.

So without further ado, here is the full press release from ABRSM, and the link to reserve your FREE tickets:

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EPTA Piano Teachers’ Course

I am delighted to tell readers that I have accepted an invitation to join the Principal Tutor team for the European Piano Teachers’ Association (EPTA) UK Piano Teachers’ Course.

I will be joining the esteemed colleagues that I am pictured with above (photo by Jennie Parke Matheson) – from the left, Ilga Pitkevica, Sally Cathcart, me, Lucinda Mackworth-Young, Graham Fitch and Heli Ignatius-Fleet.

The PTC is a part-time course, designed to suit those with other commitments, running with the academic year from October through to June. It consists of four residential weekends, two single Sundays and independent study and assignments spread throughout the year.

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