Over the years ABRSM have produced a steady flow of graded piano repertoire books to supplement their exam resources, with series such as “A Keyboard Anthology” and “Short Romantic Pieces” becoming standard items in the teacher’s library. However, one could have been forgiven for wondering whether some of these selections were made up of the most obscure pieces set in previous syllabi rather than the most widely enjoyed. So when Faber Music brought out their “Best of Grade…” books a few years ago, those looking for a one-stop collection of consistently appealing and varied pieces breathed a collective sigh of relief.
This summer ABRSM have responded with the publication of “Encore”, a set of four books which, based on their own data, include the most popular pieces featured in graded exams over the last decade or so. Happily these collections include some great in-house pieces and arrangements now unavailable elsewhere. So, might these books play a central role in students learning over the next few years? Let’s take a closer look.
Lucinda Mackworth-Young’s new book “Piano by Ear” fills a massive gap in the market. Here’s my review :
Quite simply this is the book that I, and no doubt many other thousands of pianists and teachers, have been waiting for. For years!
I even considered writing something like it myself at one point, back at the time my own Keyquest books for electronic keyboard were just out. But thank goodness – Lucinda Mackworth-Young has saved us all the effort, and has certainly done a great job of it!
I have always thought that to be a well-regarded teacher in a particular area, you need to know the subject inside and out and be a proficient exponent of the subject and Mark Polishook is definitely one of those.
Concert pianist and writer Charles Rosen (1927-2012) offers some interesting advice in his book “Piano Notes“
Do you agree with his conclusions?
“… any dogmatic system of teaching technique is pernicious. Most pianists, in fact, have to work to some extent in late adolescence to undo the effects of their early instruction and find an idiosyncratic method that suits them personally.
Not only the individual shape of the hand counts but even the whole corporal shape. That is why there is no optimum position for sitting at the piano, in spite of what many pedagogues think.”
Piano Notes – The Hidden World of the Pianist (2002)