Paul Harris: Unconditional Teaching

THE PIANODAO BOOKSHELF
Books For Piano Players, Teachers, Students & Enthusiasts


Many readers will already have benefitted from Paul Harris’s numerous and superb teaching and learning resources, and perhaps also read one or more of his best-sellers written to support teachers. His seminal The Virtuoso Teacher, Improve Your Teaching! and Simultaneous Learning books have established themselves as essential modern classics.

New from Faber Music, and presented in a similar format to those previous books, Harris’s latest publication is called Unconditional Teaching. And it is undoubtedly one of his most provocative and thought-provoking yet…

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Pianodao Music Library: Top Highlights of 2021

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


By my tally, I have reviewed 152 sheet music and educational publications on Pianodao in 2021, including all those appearing individually or in sets. No wonder it’s time to sort out my music cupboard again!

But which were my absolute favourites? And which will I continue using in 2022 and beyond?

Here, without further ado, are my top three choices from each category within the ever-growing Pianodao Music Library.

To read my in-depth evaluations of each publication selected, simply click on the titles to open the full reviews.

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Carl Davis: The Piano Collection

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


One of the most distinguished composers alive today, Carl Davis (b.1936) has scored almost 400 TV shows and films, winning several BAFTAs and Ivor Novello Awards. Davis has established himself as the number one choice to score silent films, and famously collaborated with Sir Paul McCartney in the creation of the Liverpool Oratorio.

In celebration of Davis’s 85th birthday on 28th October, his publishers Faber Music have brought out a beautifully presented, limited edition folio of his most cherished works, selected and reworked for solo piano by the composer himself.

Let’s have a look at The Piano Collection

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The Christmas 2021 Shortlist: Advanced Piano Music

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


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, including a couple of new releases alongside several established hits.

The 2021 Pianodao shortlist concludes with collections suitable for more ADVANCED players (UK Grade 6 and above).

You can find the Pianodao 2021 Christmas Shortlists for other levels here:


And as ever, remember that Pianodao Tea Room members will receive a 20% discount from Musicroom for any of the publications included below…

Continue reading The Christmas 2021 Shortlist: Advanced Piano Music

The Christmas 2021 Shortlist: Intermediate Piano Music

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


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, including a mix of new releases and classic favourites!

The 2021 Pianodao shortlist continues with music collections aimed at INTERMEDIATE players (around UK Grade 3-5)…

You will find the Pianodao 2021 Christmas Shortlists for other levels here:


And as ever, remember that Pianodao Tea Room members will receive a 20% discount from Musicroom for any of the publications included below.

Continue reading The Christmas 2021 Shortlist: Intermediate Piano Music

Musicians Who Teach

THE PIANODAO BOOKSHELF
Books For Piano Players, Teachers, Students & Enthusiasts


Faber Music’s latest publication is a slim book called The Essential Handbook for Musicians Who Teach.

Written by singing teacher, researcher and lecturer Dr. Kerry Boyle and Diane Widdison, formerly National Organiser for Education and Training at the MU, the book is aimed at any musician teaching in the UK, whatever the context, and offers a wealth of generic advice covering the many practical aspects of earning money from instrumental/singing teaching.

I’ll look at the content in detail, and let’s find out whether this new handbook is indeed “essential”….

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The Rusty Pianist

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


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.

Appearing after a year in which many former players who previously gave up playing have returned to their hobby with renewed enthusiasm, this handsomely presented 40-page book offers an opportunity for them to, as the publishers put it,

“Rediscover the piano with this exciting collection of easy-to-learn piano solos.”

So let’s investigate further …

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People Get Ready!

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


People Get Ready is a new collection of 13 solo piano arrangements of popular songs by Black musicians, suitable for late intermediate to early advanced players.

Brought to us by Faber Music, the publication presents itself as a “celebration of black songwriters”, offering a selection of iconic works that certainly fulfil that aim, while also tapping into the zeitgeist of the present moment.

People Get Ready is in my view an important and excellent publication, so in this review I will consider each of the 13 songs, include YouTube clips of the originals, as well as adding insights about these new piano arrangements, which have been produced by Faber regular Oliver Weeks.

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Improve Your Scales!

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES • review by ANDREW EALES
Supporting Your Teaching • PATHWAYS FOR TEACHING


Since the ABRSM exam board significantly reduced their piano scales requirements last year (read a full analysis here), many have agreed that their requirements alone no longer provide the solid framework players need for the development of technique, an awareness of keys and assimilation of archetype fingering patterns.

Of the respected educators who have subsequently sought to fill the void with superior learning resources, I have already reviewed Catherine McMillan’s gorgeously presented Piano Scales Mnemonics (read the review here) and Karen Marshall superb Piano Trainer Scales Workbook (and that review is here), both of which are knockout publications.

Joining these excellent resources, Paul Harris has now completely rewritten his popular Improve Your Scales! series, and like McMillan and Marshall has eschewed the limitations of ABRSM to embrace a more comprehensive and educative approach.

As Harris announces a the start of each of the six books in his new series, which cover the Initial to Grade Five requirements for all major exam boards,

“Scales, arpeggios and broken chords are important. And if taught and learned imaginatively, they can be fun!”

This is another of those moments where a disclaimer is required; Paul invited my feedback on his ideas while developing his vision for the new series, and as a good friend welcomed my help with the proof reading.

The genius in these books is all his though, so let’s see how he’s done things differently from others, and establish why these books stand out as another teaching studio essential…

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The Faber Music Contemporary Piano Anthology

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


Faber Music’s growing series of Piano Anthology books are a continuing source of joy, and have been enthusiastically received by several of my regular adult students.

I have reviewed the previous collections here:

Spoilers: in all cases I have been impressed both with the intelligence and value of the music selections and the quality of the publications themselves.

So it great to be welcoming a new addition to the family with the delivery of The Faber Music Contemporary Piano Anthology, which offers 52 “beautiful neoclassical pieces for solo piano”.

Let’s find out whether it lives up to the high standards set by the series…

Continue reading The Faber Music Contemporary Piano Anthology