Sheet Music Review
Reviewing Paul Harris’s A Piece A Week grade 1 and 2 books last year, I concluded:
“While not all players will have need of these books, a great many will benefit from using them, and A Piece A Week admirably fills a gap in the market for outstanding “quick study” material.
A Piece A Week lives up to the excellent standards Paul Harris and Faber Music have previously set, and for which they are so well known. I would say that the series is a genuine “must have” for all piano teachers.”
In the months since that review, I have started to use the books with students, and can confirm from experience that they succeed in all the respects that I previously hoped and noted. The books really are very good!
Indeed, the quick study format of A Piece a Week is establishing itself as one of my preferred ways of helping students develop their reading ability, which I find nicely complements my generally holistic, multi-sensory approach.
So before reading on, it would be a good idea to recap my previous review of the first two books, which gives a better idea of what the series is all about – you can read it here.
A Special Preview
I have known for some time that a third book was in the works. So I was delighted when Paul offered, after a meal out one evening, to play through the new collection, inviting my comments. I mention this story because Paul has graciously given me a credit in the inside cover, and you may be wondering what my involvement was.
Adopting my best “piano teacher pose” next to his piano, I listened with care as the pieces unfolded, hoping to be able to offer one or two intelligent and helpful comments along the way!
Uppermost in my mind was, of course, an enthusiasm to see whether the Grade 3 book would live up to the standards of the previous two publications. But I came away wondering whether Paul had actually over-achieved…
Put simply, the quick study works that make up A Piece A Week: Grade 3 are in my opinion far more musically interesting than many of the pieces published elsewhere as standard repertoire.
This is testament to the fact that Paul not only has one of the best minds in the music teaching world, but is also a composer of music which is attractive and accessible, and not simply educational fodder.
In short, I very much doubt pupils will want to stop playing each piece after just a week – these are works that I believe many of my students will cherish as Active Repertoire, performing in concerts and to friends.
Continue reading A Piece a Week: Grade 3