Stanisław Prószyński: Easy Pieces for Piano

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES

MUSIC FROM CHOPIN’S LAND
In 2020, I was commissioned by PWM Edition to record five films showcasing Polish piano music. I was captivated by new musical discoveries, asked to see a wider selection, and have subsequently continued to independently review and introduce this repertoire to Pianodao readers…


Stanisław Prószyński’s name will be new to many readers, as it was to me when I found a copy of his Easy Pieces for piano on the shelf at the PWM headquarters during my visit to the publisher in Kraków in 2020.

Then freshly reprinted with a lovely new cover design by Joanna Rusinek, the book includes 15 pieces suitable for elementary players (UK Grades 1-2), and I brought a copy home (along with the many other books which I have been introducing here over the months).

Let’s find out a little more about the composer and these pieces…

Continue reading Stanisław Prószyński: Easy Pieces for Piano

Piano Grades Are Go!

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Compared to the large quantity of music reviewed here for intermediate and advanced players, relatively few publications for elementary players make an appearance. This is perhaps in part because so much of the music written for beginning players is swallowed whole into lucrative method book series and exam resources. But there’s also no denying that it’s particularly difficult to write standout, imaginative music at this level.

Pianodao features reviews for relatively few of the publications received, in the hope of offering the clearest, well-informed and most helpful recommendations, thus saving readers time. Nothing makes it onto the site unless I would very happily use in my own teaching studio.

How wonderful, then, to introduce a brand new collection of “20 Characterful Solos” by Victoria Proudler. Piano Grades Are Go! has just appeared from EVC Music and is that rarest of beasts: a genuinely stunning music book for elementary players. I will be adopting it with my students, and believe other teachers should consider doing so too. Let’s find out why…

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Really Easy Chart Hits of 2021

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Hal Leonard’s large and growing range of “really easy piano” books hardly needs introduction, having established a firm foothold and superbly filled its niche in the market.

The latest addition to the series is a collection of “20 Smash Hits” from 2021. Let’s see what is included and how it measures up to the high standards Hal Leonard have previously set…

Continue reading Really Easy Chart Hits of 2021

The New, Improved Microjazz

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


It has been four decades since Christopher Norton’s remarkable Microjazz series practically reinvented piano education in this country and beyond with its infectious cocktail of classical technique and popular contemporary stylings.

Microjazz quickly won recognition the world over as a landmark series, sold over a million copies, and spawned a plethora of spin offs that included More Microjazz, Microstyles, Improvise Microjazz, Microjazz Duets and collections for a wider range of instruments.

The repackaging of the piano solo materials as the Microjazz Collections in 1997 simplified the brand, and made the progression through levels more obvious. Those Collections were again rebranded in 2011, and are receiving another facelift from this year. This time, the Microjazz Collections are also joined by two wholly new, more advanced music books.

In this review I will introduce these new stars in the Microjazz galaxy, and consider the latest updates to the existing books.

But first, let’s celebrate this incredible publishing phenomenon by recapping its extraordinary history…

Continue reading The New, Improved Microjazz

Christmas Songs for Kids

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Too late for inclusion in this year’s Christmas Shortlist: Elementary round up, but as delightful as it is fresh, Hal Leonard’s Christmas Songs for Kids delivers,

“25 Holiday Favourites arranged for Easy Piano, with practice tips for learning each song.”

This tastefully presented collection is definitely worth a look, and will no doubt appear in next years Shortlist, but for now here’s a quick look at what’s inside…

Continue reading Christmas Songs for Kids

The Christmas 2021 Shortlist: Elementary Piano Music

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


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, including a mix of new releases and established favourites.

The 2021 Pianodao shortlist begins with collections for BEGINNER to ELEMENTARY players (around UK Grade 2).

You will find the Pianodao 2021 Christmas Shortlists for other levels here:


And as ever, remember that Pianodao Tea Room members will receive a 20% discount from Musicroom for any of the publications included below.

Continue reading The Christmas 2021 Shortlist: Elementary Piano Music

Jason Sifford’s KEYBOP

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


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…

Continue reading Jason Sifford’s KEYBOP

Folk Songs of the Far East

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


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)
Continue reading Folk Songs of the Far East

African American Folk Songs

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


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

Gradebusters 2

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Of the various books to have appeared in the last few years offering easy arrangements of favourite popular songs for elementary players, Hal Leonard’s Gradebusters Grade 1 quickly became a favourite here, and a runaway success with my students.

When I reviewed the book here, I loved everything about it, and hoped that a promised Grade 2 book would quickly peek its head around the corner. It’s taken a while for the second book to arrive but I’m very happy to report it’s been well worth the wait, and is a sequel to celebrate!

Continue reading Gradebusters 2

Accent on William Gillock

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


There’s little doubt in my mind that William Gillock (1917-1993) was one of the most significant educational piano composers of the twentieth century, and it’s a delight to be reviewing The Willis Music Company‘s new complete edition of the Accent on Gillock series. All of the original eight volumes (still available separately) also now appear in one newly edited and engraved volume.

Let’s therefore take a moment to consider Gillock’s seminal importance before reviewing this essential new compendium…

Continue reading Accent on William Gillock

Borislava Taneva: Sound Stories, Riddles, Puzzles and Plays

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


The brilliantly inventive music of Bulgarian pianist and composer Borislava Taneva has steadily become one of the jewels of the Editions Musica Ferrum catalogue.

Taneva’s music appears in all three Mosaic books (which I have featured here and will revisit as the series continues to grow), and she has three titles of her own: Sound Stories (2016), and two volumes entitled Riddles, Puzzles and Plays.

Taneva’s music is strikingly creative, and the seam of pedagogy running though it is not simply good: it’s truly inspiring. So read on for a full review and overview…

Continue reading Borislava Taneva: Sound Stories, Riddles, Puzzles and Plays

The “Really Easy Piano” Beatles Collection

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Keen to learn your favourite Beatles song on the piano, but sensing that it’s going to be a long and winding road?

Well, after a hard day’s night, the paperback writers from Hal Leonard have dropped the latest addition to their “Really Easy Piano” library, and it’s only The Beatles Collection

Continue reading The “Really Easy Piano” Beatles Collection

Rediscovering Anna Magdalena Bach’s Notebooks

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


It is more than 60 years since the last complete critical edition was produced of the famous music notebooks that J.S.Bach compiled for his second wife, Anna Magdalena.

Keenly aware of the need to revisit both collections of 1722 and 1725, and in mind of the tremendous leaps made in Bach scholarship in recent years, leading expert Christoph Wolff’s new critical urtext has recently been published by Edition Peters.

This landmark treasure appears in two separate forms: the Premium Scholarly Edition is a hardback clothbound complete version, while the less expensive Practical Student Edition delivers the shorter pieces from the collections as a more conventional score suitable for learners.

For more information, read on for my full review of both versions…

Continue reading Rediscovering Anna Magdalena Bach’s Notebooks

June Armstrong: Take Ten

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


June Armstrong is not only one of the UK’s most creative composers, but one of the most prolific. Having only reviewed her Dreams and Dragons last December, she’s already now back with her next publication, Take Ten.

Capitalising on the immense popularity of her piece Dusty Blue, recently a Grade 2 favourite here, Armstrong’s new book delivers 14 brand new ‘Jazz Miniatures for piano solo, suitable for elementary players.


With so many competing publications in this territory, and the prevalence of jazzy pastiche, it’s inevitable that Take Ten is a less musically distinctive collection than some Armstrong publications.

But I have no doubt that it will be a best-seller, and deservedly so, because it’s excellent and has some cool twists…

So read on for my detailed review…

Continue reading June Armstrong: Take Ten