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In My Room

8 Lyrical Pieces for Intermediate Piano

On the media player below, click on the 'time' listing for each item to open the link to the track page which contains more detail of each track.





This collection was written for my teenage students, to both inspire and fulfil their emotional and spiritual needs.  


The journey through adolescence can be a dark and lonely experience and there is often a tendency for young people to immerse themselves in melancholia.  In writing this music, my aim has been to create a balance between allowing the young person to live fully into their emotional life while also giving them a window of light, hope and joy to aspire to and to enrich their psyche.


In this collection, I’ve also tried to give young people the experience of finding their own voice in the music.  This can be intimidating and often a gentle hand is needed to encourage stepping out beyond one’s comfort zone.  That gentle hand has been extended by making suggestions for dynamics while allowing for and encouraging personal interpretation; by allowing the opportunity for the young person to construct the music in their own way and according to their mood on any particular day; and in providing a step by step walk through rubato – often the most intimidating technique as it requires us to risk so much and put so much of ourselves out there.  As far as possible I’ve tried to avoid putting too much suggestion on the actual music as most teens find their voice best with minimal clutter.  Instead, performance suggestions are prefaced here and briefly at the beginning of each piece.  A supplementary version of ‘Swept Away’ is provided at the back of the book as is a supplementary first page of ‘Awakening Valentine’ so that guidance is possible without overly 

influencing the student’s interpretation.


I’ve kept the pieces in this collection at an intermediate level as my experience has been that most teens are happy playing at this level – whether more advanced and enjoying some light relief or less advanced and willing to work hard for something they really want to play.  The returns or recapitulations of the main themes in some of the pieces will be too difficult for some students and there is the option for these students to return to a previous statement or exposition of the theme.


And finally, these pieces have been thoroughly road tested in my studio and all have been received with joy and shining eyes – even those who tell me they only want sad music want to play these pieces and the reason is in the balance:  the sad is there … but so is hope.




In My Room


Dynamic markings have been given as suggestions only.  The performer should treat each section as having a particular character and bring their own unique interpretation accordingly.  


For example, the F minor sections beginning at bars 10, 26 and 44 may be treated more ‘dolce’ ie:  more gently and sweetly while perhaps the F major sections beginning at bars 32 and 50 may be a little more animated …. or maybe they could be even more thoughtful or pensive.   And the return of the main D minor sections may be quite strong and assertive ….   Feel free to try out different possibilities.


Duration:  Approx. 2 minutes

Grading:  Approx. 3rd – 4th Grade




Random Thoughts


Each section is self-contained and may be regarded as a starting point, a finishing point or anything in between.  Suggestions have been given of to where each section can proceed.  The performer should experiment with different adaptations – the way you like it to sound today may be quite different to the way you would like it to sound tomorrow!  


Duration:  Limitless!

Grading:  Approx. 3rd – 4th Grade




Return to Eden


Dynamic markings have been given as suggestions only.  Each performer will feel the music differently and should play it accordingly.

Duration:  A little under 2 minutes

Grading:  Approx. 3rd Grade




Breaking Through


Left hand notes should ‘sing’ pretty much throughout, however there are a few places where the right hand notes can give an effective sound if given more emphasis, such as the first RH notes of bars 2, 4, 6 and their similar returns in bars 13, 15, 17.  Aside from these suggestions, any dynamic markings have been given as suggestions only and the performer should feel free to bring their own interpretation to the music.


Duration:  A little over 2 minutes Grading:  Approx. 3rd – 4th Grade




Swept Away


I’ve tried in this piece to walk the performer through the application of rubato.  At the very least, the suggested tempo changes will give an idea of how the music can be ‘tightened’ to create a sense of excitement or urgency, or ‘stretched’ to create a sense of expectation or release.  The suggestions are simply a learning aid, intended to provide guidance and once the technique has been understood, the performer should apply their own interpretation.  So as not to permanently influence this, the version with suggested tempo changes is included in a supplementary section at the end of the book, leaving a relatively unmarked version in the main body of the album.


Duration:  2 and a half – 3 minutes 

Grading:  Approx. 3rd – 4th Grade




Awakening Valentine


As always, the dynamics given are only suggestions, with the performer free to explore other options, including the use of rubato to create a sense of poignancy, dreaminess or ‘awakening’.  Try some of the suggestions made in the supplementary version, which can be found at the back of this book.   Instead of quickening the tempo as in 

‘Swept Away’ I’ve suggested bringing the tempo back to normal - the idea being to pull the speed back a little at the end of each bar as a preparation to a return to the regular tempo in the next bar.  This will work more effectively in some places than others so don’t be too rigid – sometimes an ‘accel’ may work better than ‘a tempo’… sometimes it may feel better to keep the tempo stable – just try out some different combinations and see what feels right. 


Duration:  A little under 3 minutes 

Grading:  Approx. 4th – 5th Grade




Turning the Tide


Here again, I’ve tried to encourage the performer to explore the use of rubato without being too prescriptive.  As this piece has a different mood, there is less of the ‘rushing or abating wind’ feel that characterises ‘Swept Away’ and more of the subtle ‘pause for thought’ as has guided my suggestions in ‘Awakening Valentine.’  Again, these are only suggestions to encourage exploration and experimentation and each performer may feel this piece very differently.  Clearly there are two distinct characters or moods portrayed in the different sections of this piece and these should be considered when deciding on what kind of ‘light and shade’ to apply.


Duration:  2 and a half – 3 minutes 

Grading:  Approx. 4th – 5th Grade




Close to Home


Very few dynamic markings are given here, leaving the performer open to interpret the piece as she or he chooses.  It’s a ‘feel good’ piece and a fitting conclusion, I feel, for this collection.  I hope you enjoy it!!


Duration:  A little under 3 minutes 

Grading:  Approx.  5th Grade


Grading: Approx 3rd - 5th Grade AMEB/ANZCA



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