The Christmas 2021 Shortlist: Elementary Piano Music

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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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.

Once again this year, here is the updated and expanded Pianodao shortlist of the best seasonal piano sheet music. And as ever, remember that Pianodao Tea Room members will receive a 20% discount from Musicroom for any of the publications included in the review

The 2021 Pianodao shortlist begins with music collections aimed at beginner to elementary players (around UK Grade 2), including a mix of new titles for 2021 alongside classic favourites…

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FREE! More Festive Gifts

FREE SHEET MUSIC DOWNLOAD
Courtesy of COLLINS MUSIC


When Collins Music published Karen Marshall and David Blackwell’s excellent Get Set! Piano Christmas Crackers collection in 2018, they also brought out a few extra arrangements as downloads only, supporting the book.

I have picked my favourite three and with the permission of Collins Music, I am pleased to present them here with exclusive introductions by David Blackwell

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FREE! David Blackwell: Christmas Crackers

FREE SHEET MUSIC DOWNLOAD
Courtesy of COLLINS MUSIC


Here is a brand new composition by David Blackwell for Christmas 2021, published Pianodao as an exclusive preview and with the generous support of Collins Music!

Continue reading FREE! David Blackwell: Christmas Crackers

Get Set for Christmas!

October is typically the month when musicians and teachers turn their attention to the imminent arrival of the festive Christmas season. It’s that time where we line up our resources, stock up on seasonal sheet music, and begin practising and teaching music with a holiday flair!

As ever, Pianodao will offer plenty of support. Over the next few days, I am thrilled to be able to share an exclusive collection of seasonal downloads courtesy of Karen Marshall, David Blackwell and Collins Music.

Continue reading Get Set for Christmas!

ABRSM: ‘Piano Star’ Duets

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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ABRSM’s popular Piano Star series, which originally aimed at bridging the gap between the pupil’s first tutor book and ABRSM Grade 1 piano, continues to grow.

The seventh and latest book in the series, Piano Star Duets offers 26 newly composed or arranged piano duets for ‘early beginners to Grade 2 level’, compiled and edited by David Blackwell and Karen Marshall.

With five of these pieces also selected as duet alternatives in the 2021-2 ABRSM Piano Syllabus, which I recently reviewed here, the book is likely to tempt teachers and students looking for a one-stop collection of duets that they can dip into over a couple of years of lessons.

That the pieces have been commissioned from some of our leading pedagogic composers further adds to the attraction.

Before taking a look, full disclosure. I contributed a single piece each to four previous titles in the series. However, I receive no ongoing royalty income from those, have absolutely no vested interest in the series, and chose not to contribute to the Piano Star Duets collection. I write here with full independence.

So, with that out of the way, let’s jump in with all four feet…

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Get Set! Piano Christmas Crackers

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
For help playing this • BOOK A CONSULTATION
For feedback on your playing • SHARE YOUR VIDEO


Seasonal music has long-held a special place in peoples’ lives, enriching festivities, underpinning our devotion (both religious and to one another), and fostering community. So it’s no surprise that most piano method series add a Christmas book to their range sooner rather than later.

If Get Set! Piano Christmas Crackers has taken longer to arrive than might have been expected, it is because the authors have taken their time to create more than just another Christmas songbook. Christmas Crackers has ambitious pedagogic aims.

Flicking through the pages of Christmas Crackers, it is immediately apparent that this is a Christmas book with a real difference, including so much more than just the same seasonal classics.

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The Foundation Pianist

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES • review by ANDREW EALES
Supporting your teaching • PATHWAYS FOR TEACHING


Around this time last year, Faber Music unleashed The Intermediate Pianist series, co-authored by Karen Marshall and Heather Hammond. It was a solid success, warmly received by teachers and students alike, and in my Pianodao review I wrote:

“The Intermediate Pianist books get right to the heart of what learning music is really all about. This truly could prove a milestone publication – don’t miss it!”

As many readers will know, The Intermediate Pianist deservedly went on to win Best Print Resource at the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2018.

This Autumn, it’s a joy to welcome the arrival of The Foundation Pianist, two companion books in Faber’s growing Piano Trainer seriesThis time, Karen is joined by new co-author David Blackwell.

Let’s see what’s included, and consider how these books might fit into a rounded curriculum for young pianists…

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