Milton Keynes Piano Teacher Lessons

Early Intermediate • Grades 3-4

The Pianodao Music Library brings together all of the piano repertoire which has been reviewed, shared or otherwise featured on Pianodao. As such it is a varied, extensive, inclusive, and ever expanding body of carefully curated music.

The music in the Intermediate category is suitable for developing players at around UK Grades 3-4 level or equivalent.

Studio Choice

STUDIO CHOICE showcases the publications which my regular students have enjoyed and which I most frequently recommend. This includes Library Essentials, offering a core programme of music, and a regularly updated list of fresh, Current Favourites.

Library Essentials

Graded Gillock • Three Essential Collections

William Gillock’ music continues to inspire piano students around the world with its catchy tunes and imaginative content. These three collections deliver 41 of his very best pieces, sorted by level.

Naoko Ikeda Graded Collection

For this publication I have selected and edited 24 of Naoko Ikeda’s best solo works, presenting her pieces in approximate order of difficulty, grouped from Grade 2 to Grade 5 level.

ABRSM’s Encore Series

The “Encore” publications are a brilliant addition to any piano student’s music collection, and can only help raise the quality and level of music making wherever they are used.

Phillip Keveren’s Circles

The 24 pieces that make up Phillip Keveren’s Circles are a delight to play, and offer very significant pedagogic “wins”.

For adult learners who want a fast track to a full understanding, for transfer students who haven’t adequately learnt their keys… quite frankly, for any intermediate player who wants to learn properly, Circles jumps straight to the top of the shopping list.

Discovering Burgmüller

Burgmüller’s three collections of piano etudes, Op.100, Op.105 and Op.109 have been cornerstones of the piano pedagogy literature for over a century and a half, and remain as popular today as ever…

Bartók: For Children

Two new versions of this milestone have appeared in recent months: a single-volume complete edition from Boosey & Hawkes, and a brand new urtext edition from Henle Verlag in partnership with Editio Musica Budapest …

Current Favourites

ABRSM: Pop Performer!

The inclusion of excellent pop song arrangements within the traditional graded piano syllabus has arrived in style!

Find out all about ABSRSM’s Pop Performer books in the full Pianodao review here:

Piano Grades Are Go! Grades 2-3

Victoria Proudler has done it again! This second collection in her series is packed with melodic music in a variety of exciting contemporary styles, all carefully graded to support and enthuse developing players.

My Quirky & Lyrical Notebooks

Angeline Bell has certainly burst onto the scene with music that has the same explosive energy as the flora and fauna erupting from the pianos on her book covers. On the strength of these, her debut publications, she can be greeted as a major talent…

Mike Springer: Lyrical Landscapes

Lyrical Landscapes is Mike Springer’s latest series, appearing as three collections of solo piano music aimed at intermediate players.

The Rusty Pianist

Pam Wedgwood has an uncanny knack for spotting a niche; time and again, with publications such as the best-selling Jazzin’ About, After Hours, It’s Never Too Late and Up-Grade series, Wedgwood has delivered neatly-positioned and engagingly crafted material that has exactly met the need of the hour.

And with The Rusty Pianist she’s undoubtedly done it again…

Explore the Library

I have reviewed an abundance of wonderful music suitable for this level, crossing styles, genres, and the history of the keyboard. There’s truly something here for every player, so dig deep and enjoy exploring the full archive, which is presented here with the most recent additions first…

Notebook for Johann Christian Bach

I have waxed lyrical about the previous volumes in this series, and have no less praise for this third book. Completing Christoph Wolff’s survey of the Bach family Notebooks, this is unquestionably an important publication, as well as a genuinely glorious one!

Gradebusters 3 and 4

Simply put, Gradebusters offers a hugely inviting and immediate mix of famous songs… this is top stuff!

Amy Beach • Children’s Music

With its outstanding presentation, helpful editing, and valuable musical content, this new edition of Amy Beach’s piano music for children is a collection that deserves to be given a very warm welcome.

The Piano Player: Christmas Time

As a simple book of seasonal fare, this surprise addition to Faber’s “Piano Player” imprint joins a crowded market, but for collectors of the series its appeal will be obvious, while for those wanting a fairly standard book of Christmas music it makes an attractive and affordable choice…

The Pam Wedgwood Christmas Collection

Pam Wedgwood has created some excellent Christmas music over the years, and this well-priced anthology offers a progressively arranged and nicely balanced selection of some of her very best seasonal music for elementary and intermediate players.

Piano Music of Black Composers

New from Hal Leonard, Leah Claiborne’s two collections ‘Expanding the Repertoire: Piano Music of Black Composers’ offer an indispensable addition to the piano pedagogic literature.

Find out more here…

Calming Piano Solos

These books are for all intermediate pianists with an open mind and a desire to discover fresh musical treasures. And if the music here promotes a sense of calm, that will I am sure be a very welcome bonus!

Sam Wedgwood’s Project

“Sam Wedgwood’s Project” comprises two collections of inspiring contemporary pieces in pop and jazz styles, composed specially for players at around Grade 3-4 level.

Piano Music by Women Composers

Immanuela Gruenberg’s two new collections of ‘Piano Music by Women Composers’ are quite simply outstanding, an essential milestone which every intermediate or advanced pianist should rush to welcome…

The Jazzin’ About Anthology

‘The Jazzin’ About Piano Anthology’ brings together 41 of Pam Wedgwood’s favourite pieces from across the series, presented progressively in one volume from early elementary to intermediate level (UK Initial to Grade 5)…

Kassern • Candy Music Box

PWM Edition continue to revive outstanding pedagogic piano music from their rich archives, most recently bringing us a colourful new edition of Kassern’s wonderful Słodki Kramik, or Candy Music Box. This is music of genuine quality and pedagogic value…

Petits Morceaux pour piano

For those looking to expand their knowledge of piano repertoire, and indeed of didactic traditions, these collections from Durand Edition offer a feast of genuinely rewarding material…

Journey Through the Classics

My Journey Through the Classics in the company of this series proved to be a joyful one, accompanied by enjoyable scenery, familiar friends and occasional new discoveries…

Grade 3 Piano Playalong

Faber Music’s recently published ‘Graded Playalong’ book for Grade 3 pianists is among the most appealing and potentially successful initiatives of its kind. Here’s the Pianodao review…

My First Schubert: Easiest Pieces

I cannot think of a directly competing collection of Schubert miniatures that matches this new volume’s mix of accessible presentation and perfectly curated musical appeal…. superb!

Christmas Around the World

Jennifer Linn’s “Christmas Around the World” might not be the first publication to curate seasonal music from a wider range of traditions than is typical, but I think it is probably the most musically engaging and successful attempt I have yet seen…

Easy Christmas Piano Books

Here is my BUMPER SELECTION of favourite collections for beginners, elementary and early intermediate players…

Grooves for Piano Dudes

Heather Hammond’s ‘Grooves for Piano Dudes’ is another triumph: a series for intermediate players that sets a high bar in terms of consistent musical quality and enjoyment.

Blues, Boogie, Jazz & more…

Paul Birchall’s “Blues, Boogie, Jazz & More” does not disappoint. There are many resources available for learning to play popular music styles these days, but as is their custom EVC Music have released a winner here..

Thanos Fotiadis: Welcome to Earth

Thanos Fotiadis is certainly a new name to me, but this is a composer I would be happy to hear more from. These pieces are brimming with character, pedagogic and musical interest, and are sure to bring pleasure to players everywhere…

Nancy Litten’s Piano Postcards

Nancy Litten’s ‘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…

Nikki Iles & Friends: Easy to Intermediate

Somewhat sneaking under the radar, a third book has now been added to this popular ABRSM series: “Nikki Iles & Friends: Easy to Intermediate” will, I am certain, have huge appeal to players who are less advanced…

South African Folk Songs

Last October, I welcomed Artina McCain’s African American Folk Songs Collection, reviewed here, and took as sideways look at several other titles from Hal Leonard’s uniformly excellent series of intermediate piano solo arrangements of music from around the world.

Now I am delighted to introduce the latest title to this superb series. The South African Folk Songs Collection contains 24 traditional folk songs arranged by James Wilding and Nkululeko Zungu…

The Mosaic Series

Mosaic is a superb series, and I am incredibly proud to be associated with it. This is not just educational music at its most creative, but creative composing at its most educational!

The Rusty Pianist: Playable Pieces

As they so often do, I think that Faber Music have once again perfectly “read the room” with this sequel to Pam Wedgwood’s phenomenal “Rusty Pianist” book, and it will undoubtedly be a well-deserved and hugely popular success.

Here’s my review:

Women Composers: A Graded Anthology

With the arrival of a third book to complete Melanie Spanswick’s groundbreaking ‘Women Composers: A Graded Anthology’ series, I am republishing my earlier review, fully expanded and updated to include a comprehensive overview of the whole series…

Mirosław Gąsieniec: Album for Children

I first became aware of Gąsieniec’s educational piano music while visiting Poland as a guest of PWM Edition to film piano tutorial videos…

Simply, I think these publications, and especially the stunningly presented Album for Children, are superb.

The New, Improved Microjazz

As we congratulate Christopher Norton on his 40-year achievement with the Microjazz series, he shows no sign of slowing down, even though he has surely already given us several lifetimes of music to enjoy, an absolute treasure trove!

Here’s the latest:

Notebook for Wilhelm Friedemann Bach

This new edition of the Wilhelm Friedemann Bach notebook can be described as a “landmark treasure”, bringing together impeccable scholarship, gorgeous presentation, and of course the life-enriching music of one of the greatest composers of Western music history.

Adventures & Accolades

Composer James Welburn continues to impress with his latest publication. Written “for the aspiring virtuoso”, it’s alliteratively titled Adventures & Accolades.

On balance, I like this the best of Welburn’s scores to date, and it’s the one I can most easily see myself sending students off to purchase…

Christmas Songs for Kids

This recent publication offers a range of songs that have appeared in favourite Christmas films from Home Alone to White Christmas, TV shows (perennial favourite A Charlie Brown Christmas) and classic hits from Bing Crosby, The Jackson 5, Andy Williams, Michael Bublé and more….

Folk Songs of the Far East

Flushed with enthusiasm for Hal Leonard’s just-published ‘African American Folk Songs Collection’, I wanted to waste no time looking back at previous publications in this growing series.

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

African American Folk Songs

Here in the UK we celebrate Black History Month each October, and with perfect timing Hal Leonard have recently launched a wonderful new music collection.

The African American Folk Songs Collection contains intermediate piano arrangements by Artina McCain of 24 traditional songs.

Here’s the PIanodao review…

Accent on William Gillock

There’s little doubt in my mind that William Gillock 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.

I’ve recommended some great publications of late, but this one is quite simply a studio essential, destined to become a favourite if it hasn’t already!

Sound Stories, Riddles, Puzzles and Plays

Borislava Taneva’s music is strikingly creative, and the seam of pedagogy running though it is not simply good: it’s truly inspiring.

Here’s the Pianodao review of her recent publications…

Rediscovering Anna Magdalena Bach’s Notebooks

Rediscovering Anna Magdalena Bach’s Notebooks: a new critical edition by leading Bach-scholar Christopher Wolff sets a whole new standard and elevates our appreciation of this treasured music.

Don’t miss the Pianodao Review here:

Beethoven’s Revised Für Elise

“It’s Für Elise, Jim, but not as we know it!”

Bärenreiter’s new urtext edition of Beethoven’s beloved Bagatelle is one of the most unexpectedly fascinating publications to arrive in a while, offering as it does a radically different version of the piece alongside the one we know so well…

Rybicki: Young Modernist

The piano educational music of Feliks Rybicki is one of the great treasures of the pedagogic repertoire, and deserves to be known by teachers and students everywhere.

This latest edition is another delight from PWM, which further enhances the impression that Rybicki is one of the most important composers of pedagogic piano music, and is a thoroughly worthwhile purchase!

Anna Robinson: Notes on a Neighbourhood

“Notes on a Neighbourhood” delivers seven enjoyable pieces that are ready to play in any home or piano teaching studio, while also introducing us to a fresh composing talent who, I hope, we will be hearing more from…

Janina Garścia: Ikebana

Ikebana, which literally means “making flowers alive”, is the Japanese art of flower arranging; in addition to being one of the piece-titles included here, it makes a beautiful name for this highly intriguing (and newly reissued) piano collection…

Exploring Janina Garścia’s Educational Music

Janina Garścia left the world enriched with an extraordinary range of pedagogic music which deserves “classic” status, but which beyond the interests of the connoisseurs remains one of Poland’s best-kept secrets. It’s surely time for that to change!

Here’s an exploration (with recordings and video tutorials) of three of her best collections:

Sam Wedgwood’s ‘Next Level’

Sam is the latest member of the Wedgwood clan to be making a big name for himself as a composer of well-crafted and catchy piano pieces suitable for intermediate students.

Following the popularity of the two Sam Wedgwood’s Project books from EVC Music, the publisher’s latest release is his new collection of solo and duet pieces, Next Level.

Here’s the Pianodao review…

Sonny Chua’s ‘Cool Keys’

These two books from Faber Music, suitable for elementary and intermediate players, offer a superb testament to the talent and imagination of Sonny Chua, who died earlier this year: one which will undoubtedly be welcomed warmly by all who knew him, while introducing his brilliant educational music to a far wider global audience.

Packed with personality, consistently engaging from cover to cover, and bringing a real sense of fun to the piano curriculum, here are 22 pieces which live up to the epithet “irresistible”, and will surely delight younger learners in particular.

Wojciech Kilar: Film Music for Piano

Wojciech Kilar is perhaps the best known and most respected Polish film music composer, his music not only enriching the films of renowned Polish and international directors but in many cases also finding a second life in the concert hall.

To celebrate this popular music, PWM have produced two books of accessible piano transcriptions arranged by Michał Jakub Papara…

Juliusz Łuciuk: Children’s Improvisations

Of the many excellent educational books in the PWM Edition “cat” range for young learners, Julius Łuciuk’s Children’s Improvisations for Piano is one of the most striking in every sense, from the stunning cover to the extraordinary music within.

In this article I will introduce the book, as well as including the PWM tutorial video featuring my French colleague and friend Ernestine Bluteau (with English subtitles).

Bob Chilcott: A Little Jazz Piano

From the brilliant Bob Chilcott, these three pieces offer a delightful little diversion for any piano player in the early intermediate phase who wishes to explore jazzy styles, but without becoming more fully immersed just yet…

Gareth Malone: Music for Healing

At any time, I would be happy to hail Music for Healing as a triumph, a tasteful collection of solo piano pieces gorgeously presented.

In 2020, given the traumas of these times, there is surely an added poignancy, and greater urgency than usual to focus on the positive, and to allow the healing power of sound and music to do its work in our minds, bodies and souls.

Piano Calm Christmas

While the music in this collection has the Christmas stamp on it throughout, I am happy to report that the piano writing and style of arrangement is in a similar vein to the previous ‘Piano Calm’ book, making this a perfect fusion of seasonal cheer and relaxed piano vibe.

Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora

Oxford University Press published Piano Music of Africa and the Afrian Diaspora in five volumes, compiled and edited by William H. Chapman Nyaho, between 2007-8. Between them, the books offer 60 pieces by 36 composers of African descent, organised by difficulty level…

Igudesman’s ‘Insectopedia’

Aleksey Igudesman is perhaps best known as one half of inventive and irreverent clas­si­cal duo Igudes­man and Joo, who have taken the world by storm with their unique and hilar­i­ous the­atri­cal shows, com­bining com­edy with clas­si­cal music and pop­u­lar cul­ture.

Igudesman and Joo’s YouTube clips have to date gath­ered over 35 mil­lion hits, and the duo has appeared live and on tele­vi­sion in numer­ous coun­tries.

Insectopedia is one of Igudesman’s latest projects, a collection of ten insect-inspired solo piano pieces for the intermediate pianist which aim to be as educational as they are entertaining…

Faber’s Easy Piano Anthology

Faber Music’s growing series of high-quality Piano Anthologies have been establishing a reputation for offering generous and well-presented collections compiled for intermediate to advanced players.

Faber now bring us their Easy Piano Anthology, a new book in the series that is aimed at less advanced players, including an enticing selection of arrangements suitable for the elementary to early intermediate player (around Grades 1-4).

Here’s the Pianodao review…

Piano Tales for Peter Pan

Nikki Iles has done it again! Piano Tales for Peter Pan delivers another delicious mix of her trademark wit, imagination, and jazz-tinged brilliance.

Schott Music’s Mini Maestros

Those looking for good anthologies of easy piano music are fairly spoilt for choice these days.

Latest to arrive (on the same day as ABRSM’s rather disappointing Core Classics series), a set of three new books from Schott Music, compiled by the ever-prolific Hans-Günter Heumann, and collectively titled: Mini Maestro.

With each of the three books containing 50 solo pieces and 3 bonus duets, Mini Maestro certainly offers great value and plenty to dig into, so let’s take a look…

ABRSM’s Core Classics

ABRSM’s “Core Classics” series offers a useful and often attractive mix of music that is well-suited to the board’s exam requirements, and can equally be dipped into by other players for its varied selection of benchmarked repertoire, much of it not easily accessible elsewhere.

Phillip Keveren’s ‘Piano Calm’

For his latest publication, “Piano Calm”, ace arranger Phillip Keveren has turned his hand to composing 15 original pieces, suitable for intermediate players, which he describes as ‘reflective solos’.

And I think they are excellent…

My First Tchaikovsky

Wilhelm Ohmen’s My First Composers collections from Schott Music are proving to be a series which keeps on giving…

It only seems yesterday that I reviewed My First Haydn, having previously taken a look at My First Schumann and My First Beethoven. The series also includes collections of music by J.S. Bach, Mozart and Chopin.

The latest collection to join the series is My First Tchaikovsky, the subject of this new review…

My First Haydn

I think that this collection is the best introduction to Haydn’s music that I’ve yet come across…

Blues in Two and more…

When I saw the title of this new collection, my first thought was that it would be a retrospective Greatest Hits collection. In fact, this is a set of 11 brand new compositions…

Bartók: Easy Pieces and Dances

As a growing (but already quite comprehensive) series, Bärenreiter’s Easy Piano Pieces and Dances surely belongs on the shelf of every piano teacher and intermediate to early advanced pianist. And this newly added Bartók book is a welcome and brilliant addition…

Easy Piano Series: Classical

This is an easy book to review, because it does exactly what it claims, and the results are excellent. The attraction here is that the concise selection really hits the nail on the head, is beautifully presented, and the arrangements are great.

How to Play Jazz Piano

In succeeding to make jazz playing accessible to that far wider audience of broadly literate musicians, How to Play Jazz Piano is a game-changer and a genuine triumph.

Solo Xtreme Books 4-6

Barely were the pixels dry on my review of Solo Xtreme Books 1 – 3 – when Books 4 – 6 landed on my door mat…

Mystery Piano

Did you love “Fantasy Piano”? Well here’s a review of the follow-up, “Mystery Piano”…

The Graded Piano Player

Two pieces from The Graded Piano Player have been selected as ABRSM 2019/20 alternatives – but what are the collections like as a whole?

Piano Sketches & Duets

With so many great new educational piano music publications on the market, it is becoming easy to miss or overlook some genuinely top-drawer material…

The Piano Playlist

The Piano Playlist – which I reviewed a while ago and am now returning to in more detail – is excellent value and a firm recommendation…

Easy Piano Series: “Film” and “Shows”

There is always room on the music shelf for easy piano arrangements of well-known and popular songs – players of all ages naturally find it encouraging and enjoyable to tackle tunes that are familiar to them, their family and friends.

Which Mikrokosmos?

In this review I will be looking at classic edition from Boosey & Hawkes, and comparing the more recent Urtext editions from Henle Verlag and Wiener Urtext Edition.

Graham Lynch’s Sound Sketches

Graham Lynch’s “Sound Sketches” have been a hit with my students, and it’s great to see them newly available from EVC Music …

Indian Raags for Piano made easy

“In short, I think this book is an essential purchase for any player, at any level, who as an interest in discovering the heritage of Indian classical music.”

Jazzin’ Americana

Review of Jazzin’ Americana – a great new series of four sheet music books by Wynn-Anne Rossi.

A Schumann Rediscovery

A newly rediscovered piano solo by Robert Schumann, with original recording by Andrew Eales, and review of the new Wiener Urtext edition.

Alison Mathews: Treasure Trove

Among the most recent releases from Editions Musica Ferrum, “Treasure Trove” by Alison Mathews is a standout collection for intermediate players, which is already finding popularity with my students…

Ultimate Easy Piano Songlist

Here’s a book that I suspect many will rush to buy – a bumper collection of easy piano arrangements of great popular tunes, from the contemporary to the classic. With (according to the cover) over 90,000 units sold, the hits that make up this “Ultimate Songlist” plunder the charts across many decades, from Cilla Black to One Direction, from Nat King Cole to Elbow, and from Wham! to Radiohead. Movies are well represented too, with The Hanging Tree (from The Hunger Games series) and Let it Go! (from Frozen) standing out as welcome highlights. In theory there should be something here for everyone, and in…

Faber Music Piano Anthology

This beautifully produced gift book makes the perfect present for the enthusiastic amateur pianist of intermediate to advanced level.

Bartók • Definitive Collections?

I can’t help feeling that the ongoing preservation of our culture (both folk and art) rests at least in part on the success of publications such as these in inspiring a new generation of musicians to carry the flame onward.

June Armstrong: Stars

In an increasingly crowded field of good piano music, “Stars” stands out as a hugely worthwhile and imaginative addition to the intermediate pianist’s repertoire. Suitable for Grades 4-5.

My First Schumann

Schott Music, the revered German publishers founded back in 1770, are maintaining an impressive commitment to new piano music publishing projects, including a wide range of resources and publications for players of all levels. Of particular interest to intermediate players (and their teachers) will be there ongoing “My First …” series. The first two issues (Bach and Mozart – see below) have recently been joined by “My First Schumann”, which I am delighted to review here. Little pieces by great composers Explaining the series concept, Schott say: “Many famous composers have written pieces for beginners and amateur musicians. These easy…

ABRSM’s ‘Piano Mix’

ABRSM’s Piano Mix series brings together fresh piano solo arrangements of popular classical and other pieces, in three graded books…

Grade by Grade Piano

This innovative new series of books from Boosey & Hawkes makes the bold claim to be “the complete resource for the grade ‘x’ pianist”. But does it live up to its aims? Here’s the Pianodao review… What is the series all about? The last year has seen an influx of book series written to help pianists expand their musical learning between taking grade examinations. These range from the didactic (such as Lang Lang’s “Mastering the Piano” series) to those which simply offer supplementary graded repertoire (such as ABRSM’s recent Encore Series). Boosey & Hawkes have pitched their latest offering, Grade…

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