Naoko Ikeda • The Graded Collection

Products featured here are selected for review by ANDREW EALES

Following the success of my series of three Graded Gillock collections published by Willis Music last year, I was delighted to be asked to compile a companion collection showcasing the wonderful music of Japanese composer Naoko Ikeda. The collection, now available from Willis Music, can be purchased from the Musicroom website here.

Naoko Ikeda: The Graded Collection includes 24 of Ikeda’s best solo piano pieces, organised in approximate order of difficulty and appropriately grouped according to the UK Grade system from Grade 2 to Grade 5 level.

These stunning pieces would make wonderful selections as “own choices” in Performance Grades, and with six pieces for each of the four grades covered, they provide a rich feast to enhance the player’s development throughout their intermediate playing years.

The pieces have been chosen to offer a flavour of the musical range of this fine composer, ranging from jazz and pop ballads to emotive pieces infused with the musical language and imagery of Japanese culture.

In the introduction that follows I will offer background to the collection in greater depth, as well as including my own piano recordings of 8 of the 24 pieces, which give a varied, representative preview of the collection.

You will also hear from Naoko Ikeda herself, as she shares about her creative journey in her own words…

Continue reading Naoko Ikeda • The Graded Collection

Podcast with Chris Woods

Supporting Educators • Promoting Learning

Readers may be aware of the Music Education Podcast hosted by Chris Woods of The Chris Woods Groove Orchestra and brought to us by the Soundstorm Music Education Agency.

I was honoured to recently be invited to take part. Below, you can listen to a newly released Podcast in which the genial Chris talks to me about my recently published How to Practise Music, as well as having a more general chat about the important place of practice in our musical journeys…

Continue reading Podcast with Chris Woods

Graded Gillock • Three Essential Collections

Products featured here are selected for review by ANDREW EALES

I have long been an admirer of the brilliant piano music of William Lawson Gillock (1917-1993), so it is with huge pleasure and a sense of pride that I can announce that, in conjunction with the Willis Music Company, I have selected and edited a new series of ‘graded’ collections showcasing a varied range of his best pieces.

Graded Gillock appears in three volumes, now available:

There’s little doubt in my mind that Gillock was one of the most significant educational piano composers of the twentieth century, as adept at turning out distinctively memorable and colourful piano pieces in an accessible style as he was at engaging the imaginations and enthusiasm of young learners, in doing so paving the way for today’s educational composers.

Gillock is perhaps best known here in the UK for his evocatively bluesy New Orleans Nightfall, stomping Swinging Beat and Latin-infused Carnival in Rio, all of which have been popular graded exam pieces in recent years. But what of his other music?

For this new series, I have used these favourites as a starting point, working with the composer’s long-term publisher Willis Music to explore and select Gillock’s most enjoyable and pedagogically useful music.

Michael McMillan, Pianist magazine 128, October 2022

Continue reading Graded Gillock • Three Essential Collections

How to Practise Music

The book is described by the publishers in these words, and is available in both UK and US versions (Practice/Practise):

“The essential, pocket-sized companion for every musician. Accessible and authoritative, How to Practise Music is an ideal guide for anyone learning to play music. Suitable for instrumentalists and vocalists of any genre, this comprehensive handbook will give you a better idea of how to practise music, good reasons for doing so, and the confidence to succeed. “

Continue reading How to Practise Music