Safari (AMEB Preliminary, Piano for Leisure)

Quite a few visits to my blog are made by (who I can only assume are) students and teachers who want more information about specific pieces of mine included in examination syllabuses. So I’m setting myself the goal of writing a post about each of these pieces – it might take a while to get there, but one by one I’m determined to work my way through them! Safari comes from Very Easy Little Peppers, and is a piece written entirely on black notes. There’s a lovely tradition of black-note-only pieces written for students in the first years of study and when writing this piece I deliberately set out to add to that oeuvre. Many of the most popular piano methods (in 2011, maybe not when you took piano lessons!) start students playing on the black notes (the antithesis to the March of the Middle C Thumbs approach). I have thoroughly enjoyed incorporating into my teaching a wonderful black-note-only improvisation activity for students

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P Plate Piano website is live!

One of the most exciting aspects of creating the P Plate Piano series with the Australian Music Examination Board has been their corporate commitment to the project.  So many times in business (let alone the print music business) lateral thinking is simply not part of the equation, so it has been a joy to be involved in a project that really is designed for the 21st century. So this is the first examination board-produced repertoire series ever to have its very own website, and that website has just gone ‘live’ at http://www.pplatepiano.com.au Still not live are the online student journal, the teachers forum and some other bells and whistles, but this website does have some nice features already, including some short videos we made at the end of last year.  And I’ll be reporting on when new features are added as the year goes on. I’m still very much involved with the project, with launch events still running til the

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Younger Beginners & Piano Exams (in Australia)

I’ve just completed a tour of the four of the major centres in Australia (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide) and three of the smaller ones (Coffs Harbour, Launceston and Geelong) with the Australian Music Examination Board launching the P Plate Piano publications and assessments to groups of piano teachers. More of these launch events will take place in the first few months of 2010, but the eleven events we’ve already done gave a good insight into the issues piano teachers grapple with getting students ready for their first (Preliminary) AMEB exam. In my seminar I talk about the four pressures Australian piano teachers are feeling in regard to their beginners in 2009: The AMEB Preliminary examination has been getting steadily and substantially more difficult (comparing the syllabus repertoire in the mid-90s with that in 2009). Piano students are starting lessons younger. Whereas most beginners were 7 or 8 years of age twenty years ago, in 2009 beginners are often 5

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P Plate Piano Book 2: Composers

Today marks the first day P Plate Piano is available for sale in Australia, and I’ve been too sick to drag myself out of bed, let alone get into a shop to see how they might have this beautiful looking series displayed.  [If you want to see the cover design it’s currently up as the splash page for the still-under-construction website http://www.pplatepiano.com.au%5D But I think I might have enough energy (having been asleep most of the day, and having Tom at his grandparents’ place), to write up a quick piece about the composers who are included in P Plate Piano Book 2. Of course, I’ve used many of the composers whose work featured in P Plate Piano Book 1, so I won’t detail these composers, except to list them: Anita Milne (yes, my mum, who now has her pieces in 4 publications), Jane Sebba (pieces from her fabulous Piano Magic method books), Daniel Gottlob Türk (composer from the Classical period who

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