12 studies in tonal expression
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.
These pieces were written specifically to fulfil the needs of my students - primarily for young people requesting 'something pretty and tinkly' or something deep and mysterious, also to accommodate older students in the early stages of their musial development who want to be able to play something of beauty at their level, which is not always easy to source.
Consequently, the main focus of this collection and much of my teaching music is the creation of beautiful tone. To this end, I consider it vitally important for the teacher to play these pieces - beautifully of course - to the student throughout the learning process, while teaching the technique needed to accomplish an exquisite cantabile, smooth pedalling and sensitive phrasing.
Cantabile, in particular, is a given in all of these pieces, whether marked so or not. 'Celtic Melody' is a good starting point for this, although not for those with small hands.*
In most cases the pedalling is optional. I tend to teach pedalling from very early on so that it quikly becomes a natural part of the student's playing, rather than a complicated technique to be learned at some future stage. I've been fairly conservative here, so feel free to add more pedalling where it seems appropriate.
Sometimes the phrasing is intended to be played very specifically - at other times it is simply to give the overall shape of the phrases. If unsure, just use your own common sense. At all times, smoothness of melody is the intention rather than a strict adherence to slurring technique. Depending on the ability of the pianist, some chords may be connected while for smaller hands and less able students these should simply be re-struck with the simplest possible fingering. Sometimes I have given alternative fingerings, at other times this is left to the teacher.
And finally, these are pieces to enjoy - my students have enjoyed playing them and I hope yours do too!
*Celtic Melody is not suitable for very small hands and care should be taken at all times to rotate the left hand wrist, pivoting on the 2nd finger to keep the wrist loose and fleible.
Grading: Preliminary - 3rd Grade AMEB/ANZCA