The Piano Player: Classical Favourites

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Less than three months after Faber Music launched ‘The Piano Player’ (a plush new series of intermediate piano solo collections) with British Classics (reviewed here) they are back with the second instalment.

The Piano Player: Classical Favourites features “20 of the most popular pieces of classical music”, some originals but mostly arrangements. And in line with the signature style of this new series, the publication is beautifully presented sporting the lush artwork of Edward Bawden (1905-1989)…

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The Serial Starter

Guest Post by Joanna García

Joanna originally shared these thoughts on her Facebook studio page. I am delighted that she has allowed me to reproduce them here for the encouragement of Pianodao readers…

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Essential Piano Teaching Resources 2022

Supporting teachers, promoting piano education.
Written by Andrew Eales

It can be overwhelming keeping track of all the latest and best resources for piano teaching. As we enter another academic year, I am therefore sharing this list of some of the most essential educational resources and piano music publications of the last couple of years or so.

To read my in-depth evaluations of each publication shared below, and to get a better understanding of whether it will suit your and your students’ particular needs, simply click on the titles to open the full reviews. Better still, right-click to open in a new tab.

Please bookmark this page so that you can refer back here as need arises.

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Recordings of the Month: August 2022

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August is often the calm before the storm of top pianists releasing new recordings in the Autumn, and this year has proved no exception. But what better time to make an impact?

All four of this month’s selected recordings is uniquely wonderful, and any of them could easily be regarded as my Recording of the Month, or even of the year, so please read on with that in mind! In fact, these four releases are each so remarkable that you would be forgiven for thinking I am bluffing, so please be sure to check them all out for yourself on the streaming platform of your choice. You won’t be disappointed!..

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Paul Birchall’s Blues, Boogie, Jazz & more…

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Paul Birchall is a veteran keyboard and piano player with a career in commercial music spanning four decades of touring the world with the likes of M People, Jim Diamond, Snake Davis and Wang Chung. Now based in Manchester, he composes for TV, film, theatre, and for his own record label.

Some readers may know of Birchall’s Daily Expressions, previously published by the enterprising EVC Music. Now he’s back with a brand new publication. Blues, Boogie, Jazz & More (again from EVC Music) offers a superb mix of nine pieces in contemporary popular styles with full backing tracks, suitable for intermediate piano players…

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Thanos Fotiadis: Welcome to Earth

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Editions Musica Ferrum continue to deliver creative new music suitable for players of all ages and levels, showcasing interesting composers from around the world, the latest of whom is Thanos Fotiadis, a pianist, teacher and composer based in the Netherlands.

According to the publisher,

“Welcome to Earth is a collection of diverse solo piano pieces that capture the imagination of the piano player in multiple ways. Featuring a total of 10 short pieces, plus a bonus one in the end, each piece holds the interest of the pianist, or piano student, by moving from style to style with great ease, but always offering the personal touch of the composer.”

Let’s go exploring…

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Thoughts on the Art of Practice

Guest Post written by Philip Fowke

I am delighted to include this incredibly helpful post from the internationally acclaimed concert pianist, recording artist and teacher Philip Fowke.

I had the pleasure of working alongside Philip on the faculty of the Thinking Pianist course, where he shared this very wise advice, and am delighted that he has agreed to make it public via the Pianodao website. There is so much here to take in, and of such lasting value.

Before Philip’s article, let’s remind ourselves of his stunning musicianship, recorded here at the BBC Proms performing that beloved masterpiece, Warsaw Concerto by Richard Addinsell:


And now read on for Philip Fowke’s advice on practice…

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Nancy Litten’s Piano Postcards

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Nancy Litten has made her mark as a leading educational composer here in the UK, with string, vocal and electronic keyboard publications from Alfred Music, and enjoyable contributions to ABRSM publications such as Keyboards Together, Piano Mix and Piano Star.

Litten has recently joined the roster of composers whose music is published by EVC Music, and her debut piano solo publication has now arrived…

Piano Postcards offers 12 Recital Piano Works Inspired by Travel, suitable for intermediate players at around UK Grade 3-4 level. Let’s take a look…

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Jazz Piano Solos: Classical Jazz

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In the last year I have reviewed a couple of titles from Hal Leonard’s popular Jazz Piano Solos series, featuring arrangements suitable for advanced players from the pen of the indefatigable Brent Edstrom:

Proving you can’t keep a good arranger down, the unstoppable Edstrom is back with Jazz Piano Solos Vol. 63, and this time he brings a classical spin to the party…

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The Gamification of Musical Learning

Supporting teachers, promoting piano education.
Written by Andrew Eales

The rise and rise of electronic video, console and computer games over the last two decades has been spectacular. From Pokémon to Grand Theft Auto, and from Minecraft to Wii Sports, games have become hugely popular and lucrative, and some academics even suggest that they are now the dominant cultural form of the 21st century.

In his much-discussed paper Manifesto for a Ludic Century (available here), Eric Zimmerman suggests that while the twentieth century was the age of information and of moving pictures, the twenty-first is the ludic (play-centric) century. He enthuses,

“Increasingly, the ways that people spend their leisure time and consume art, design, and entertainment will be games, or experiences very much like games.”

We certainly see growing evidence of gamification in music education. In this article I consider the transformative impact this may be having, for better or worse…

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