Grade 3 Piano Playalong

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ABRSM’s excellent Pop Performer! books reviewed here were among the big winners of 2022, and hot on their heels we can welcome a new initiative from Faber Music. However, Faber’s new Graded Playalong Series takes a rather different approach.

Launching at the tail end of 2022 with collections for Grade 3 piano, flute, alto sax, clarinet and drums, the Graded Playalong Series offers fresh arrangements that incorporate the use of backing tracks as a core musical feature. Let’s take a look at the Grade 3 Piano version…

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Einaudi: Underwater Extra

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Ludovico Einaudi’s Underwater proved one of the musical successes of 2022, and my review here equally proved to be one of Pianodao’s most widely read of the last year.

The immensely popular Italian composer’s first solo piano release for several years, Underwater showcased an evolution in his style, the pieces not only exploring the ‘felt piano’ sound but having a more concise compositional structure, less repetition, and a melodic intimacy that added to their wide appeal. I certainly found this music more satisfying to play than Einaudi’s earlier work, and I found that many who hadn’t enjoyed his previous work found these newer miniatures genuinely appealing.

Now, Chester Music bring us Underwater extra edition, a slim folio of three additional pieces, bonus tracks from the album that were previously unavailable.

The unexpected arrival of the publication coincided with my convalescence from eye surgery; having been confined to my bed for more than a week, they were the first three pieces I played once I was finally able to sit at the piano. Did I enjoy them?

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My First Schubert: Easiest Pieces

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Schott Music’s My First Composers collections continue to prove one of the most quirkily enjoyable series of recent years.

With their combination of covers that resemble childrens’ storybooks and content that includes music up to Grade 8 and beyond, they equally suit child prodigies and older players with a self-deprecating sense of fun.

I have previously been very impressed with My First Beethoven (reviewed here), Haydn (here), Schumann (here) and Tchaikovsky (here). Each of these publications delivers a generous mixture of classics and lesser-known pieces, beautifully presented within (and on cream paper) and freshly edited by Wilhelm Ohmen.

The latest addition to the series is devoted to the music of Franz Schubert, delivering 37 solo pieces and 10 duets, and seems to me another immediate winner…

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The Piano Player: Wintertide Collection

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In a busy year for music publishers, Faber Music’s new series The Piano Player has quickly established itself as a distinctive and enjoyable new imprint.

Introducing the first title in the series, a stirring collection of British Classics released in time for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, I wrote,

“Aimed at intermediate players of all ages (and I suspect with a particular eye on the adult market), these look set to be a lovely collection of repertoire books.”

A second title, Classical Favourites, quickly followed (reviewed here), and hot on its heels we now have a third. Ready for the run up to Christmas, Wintertide Collection offers “A seasonal selection of 20 wintry pieces”

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Christmas Around the World

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Earlier this year I introduced Hal Leonard’s Jennifer Linn Series in my review of the excellent Easy Elementary collection Rendezvous At The Zoo.

Just in time for this year’s festivities, Christmas Around the World is a new addition to the series, this time suitable for Intermediate+ players, defined as:

“…advancing pianists who have progressed to the Piano Solo level and enjoy lush accompaniments and stylistic original compositions and arrangements.”

Whether adopted within the world of the Jennifer Linn Series or beyond it, this publication offers a very interesting and worthwhile addition to the seasonal music shelf of any player or teacher, so let’s investigate further…

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The Christmas Shortlist

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The Pianodao Music Library includes a wide range of seasonally-themed piano publications to suit all tastes and levels of playing. Keeping track of it all, especially as new publications appear from one year to the next, isn’t easy. Wouldn’t it be good to have a simple list of it all? Well, here it is…

The Christmas Shortlist opens the door to this wealth of wonderful music, bringing together links to all of this site’s reviews of seasonal repertoire in one place, guided by level.

Best of all, the list automatically updates whenever new titles are added, so you can come back year after year. Remember to bookmark this page for future reference!

And don’t forget that Pianodao Tea Room members receive a 20% discount from Musicroom for these and all sheet music publications.

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Christmas • Peaceful Piano Playlist

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Every year, a flurry of new Christmas piano books arrive before the first snowfall, and this year is proving no exception.

Fresh from Faber, the Peaceful Piano Playlist: Christmas book sets the bar high, both in terms of content and presentation. The publication offers,

“A specially curated relaxing playlist of festive piano solos for the intermediate player”,

…and follows on from the popular Peaceful Piano Playlist publication which I reviewed here back in 2019.

Read on for the list of included pieces, and of course for the full review…

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Easy Christmas Piano Books

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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…

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Grooves for Piano Dudes

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Heather Hammond is well established as one of the best-loved educational composers in the UK today, with more than 100 publications in print (piano and woodwind) from a variety of publishers.

The last time I took a good look at Hammond’s music was in my review of her Ballads Without Words, brought to us by EVC Music.

In this review, I’m considering a contrasting series of her music from the same publisher. Grooves for Piano Dudes currently includes three volumes of which the second and third (with a special Halloween theme) have just recently been released.

The three books are all suitable for intermediate players, and between them offer 37 fresh Hammond compositions in jazz, rock, blues and boogie styles…

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In Memory of Queen Elizabeth II ‘Lilibet’


During this time of sadness and reflection, I am heartened to share a beautiful free score courtesy of Faber Music, which they have kindly made available until the end of September.

Faber Music’s renowned educational composer Pam Wedgwood marks the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with a solo piano piece, based on her adaptation of the National Anthem.

Introducing In Memory of Queen Elizabeth II ‘Lilibet’, Pam says,

“During this time of national mourning I want to help piano teachers and students mark the occasion. This arrangement of our National Anthem will hopefully serve not only as a tribute to The Queen, but also provide you with a little something to enjoy playing in lessons over the next few weeks.”

Pam’s arrangement is suitable for early intermediate pianists and above.

It is available to download for free during the period of mourning via the link:


You can read Faber Music’s official announcement here.

I would like to thank Pam, and all at Faber Music, for this kind gesture of support as we all process our sense of loss.