The Christmas 2021 Shortlist: Elementary Piano Music

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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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…

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FREE! More Festive Gifts

FREE SHEET MUSIC DOWNLOAD
Courtesy of COLLINS MUSIC


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

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FREE! David Blackwell: Christmas Crackers

FREE SHEET MUSIC DOWNLOAD
Courtesy of COLLINS MUSIC


Here is a brand new composition by David Blackwell for Christmas 2021, published Pianodao as an exclusive preview and with the generous support of Collins Music!

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FREE! Away in a Manger

FREE SHEET MUSIC DOWNLOAD
Courtesy of COLLINS MUSIC


Away in a Manger has long been a special favourite, both in the US version of the melody and this one, more familiar here in the UK.

Wherever you and your piano live, enjoy this beautiful elementary piano arrangement by Karen Marshall and David Blackwell, which comes with a lovely optional duet part and a colouring activity…

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FREE! Good King Wenceslas

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Courtesy of COLLINS MUSIC


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.

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Get Set for Christmas!

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.

Continue reading Get Set for Christmas!

Jason Sifford’s KEYBOP

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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New from the Willis Music Company, Jason Sifford’s two books of Keybop each offer “11 jazzy solos for the young pianist”.

Not another set of jazzy books for young pianists, I hear you say. But stay with me, because these ones are really worth a look…

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Herbert Howells: Piano Works

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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Last year, pianist Matthew Schellhorn treated us to a splendid recording of the “lost” solo piano music of the celebrated twentieth century English composer Herbert Howells.

It was my Recording of the Month, and you can read my review here.

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.

Herbert Howells Piano Works Novello

Let’s take a look…

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Folk Songs of the Far East

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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Flushed with enthusiasm for Hal Leonard’s just-published African American Folk Songs Collection (reviewed here) I wanted to waste no time looking back at previous publications in this superb and growing series.

In this review I will focus on four collections of intermediate piano arrangements of traditional songs from the Far East:

  • Chinese Folk Songs Collection (arr. Joseph Johnson, 2009)
  • Korean Folk Songs Collection (arr. Lawrence Lee, 2010)
  • Japanese Folk Songs Collection (arr. Mika Goto, 2013)
  • Malay Folk Songs Collection (arr. Charmaine Siagian, 2019)
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African American Folk Songs

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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Here in the UK we celebrate Black History Month each October, and with perfect timing Hal Leonard have recently launched a wonderful new sheet music collection. The African American Folk Songs Collection contains intermediate piano arrangements by Artina McCain of 24 traditional songs.


Dr. McCain, who comes from Arlington, Texas and is now based in Memphis, Tennessee, has won multiple Global Music Awards for her recordings of works by composers of African descent.

In her introduction to this new piano collection she tells us,

“African Americans created a rich history of song and dance. I am proud to say that I am the great-great-great-granddaughter of these strong and resilient enslaved Americans and can trace my origins in America back almost 200 years. In the late 18th century our musical history began with the African American Spiritual (or Negro Spiritual) and is the largest and most significant form of American folk song. There are over 6,000 or these anonymous masterpieces! Through oral tradition, they were passed down from generation to generation and brilliantly blended the rich musical culture of Africa with text describing hardships that they were experiencing in America.”

From this extraordinary treasury of song, McCain has selected her 24 classics for inclusion here, making original, wonderfully pianistic and pedagogically valuable arrangements.

I’m happy to tell you right away that this book is really outstanding, but let’s take a closer look…

Continue reading African American Folk Songs