Beautiful Pieces to Teach

A few of my favorite beautiful teaching pieces. Enjoy!

Cloud Gazing
Cloud Gazing By Lisa Bastien. For piano. Bastien Piano Solos. Level 3. Music book. Published by Neil A. Kjos Music Company (KJ.WP1106)

Cloud Gazing is in G major, with hand position changing only one note at a time. It’s a great piece to teach partly by rote to a student finishing up Level Three of most methods. Though it uses lots of pedal, it’s quite forgiving of a student whose pedaling skills haven’t quite caught up with their playing abilities. It’s pretty, almost a little “new age” sounding, but not obnoxiously so. It appears on many of my recitals. Late Elementary.

The Bridge to Forever By Diane Hidy. For piano. Piano Town Series. Level 2. Sheet music. Published by Neil A. Kjos Music Company (KJ.MP1011)

Bridge to Forever is an excellent first “pedal piece” for a recital using only the white keys. The left hand plays moving 5ths that sound dramatic, though the materials are simple. I wrote this tender piece as a gift for my student, David, whose father had passed away exactly a year before. He was only 8 years old when I wrote this for him. I wanted to give him a way to express deep emotions. 

Summer Memories
Summer Memories By Jane Smisor Bastien. For piano. Bastien Piano Solos. Level 4. Music book. Published by Neil A. Kjos Music Company (KJ.WP1094)

Summer Memories is pretty, sweet recital piece. More sophisticated and difficult than Cloud Gazing, it is a little bit difficult but worth the work. I taught it to an 11-year-old girl who played it beautifully on last year’s recital. It offers excellent opportunities for teaching how to do basic rubato, but sounds good even if that’s beyond the student.

Preludes, Volume 2
Preludes, Volume 2 (Intermediate to Late Intermediate Original Piano Solos). For solo piano. Piano Collection; Piano Supplemental. Piano Collection. Form: Prelude. Classical and Preludes. Intermediate; Late Intermediate. Collection. Standard notation, fingerings and introductory text (does not include words to the songs). 20 pages. Published by Alfred Music Publishing (AP.88346)

One of my most pleasurable teaching moments comes when a student is ready for the lovely Prelude No. 10 in D flat Major by Robert Vandall. He is probably best known for his zesty, rhythmic pieces, but I think this is one of his best pieces. I usually assign it to a student who’s not quite ready for a Chopin Nocturne or Prelude, but is motivated by beautiful melodies. There are three volumes of these preludes, and I keep all of them on hand. The D flat Prelude is my favorite piece from this set. 

Pepperbox Jazz, Book 2
Pepperbox Jazz – Book 2 (A Vibrant Collection of Original Pieces for Piano). By Elissa Milne. For solo piano. Book; Piano Collection; Piano Supplemental. Faber Edition: Little Peppers. A vibrant collection of original pieces for piano. Instructional, Method and Jazz. Early Advanced; Intermediate; Late Intermediate. Collection. Standard notation and fingerings (does not include words to the songs). 31 pages. Published by Faber Music (AP.12-0571523722)

I’ve only recently discovered the fabulous Elissa Milne. I’ve been teaching lots of pieces from her Little Peppers Books as well as the more sophisticated Pepperbox Jazz books. The beautiful piece I highly recommend from this series is called Dreamtime. It’s a gorgeous piece in A flat major, at the late intermediate level. It includes a few double flats – a great opportunity to teach them in an easy setting. The particular chord with the double flats is the most comfy chord in the entire piece! Brilliant writing! Don’t be put off by the fact that her pieces come in collections. There is LOTS of music in each volume and actually quite a value.

Very Easy Little Peppers
A Vibrant Collection of Compositions Written Especially for the Young Performer. Composed by Elissa Milne. Piano Collection; Piano Supplemental. Faber Edition: Little Peppers. Jazz. Book. Faber Music #12-0571523129. Published by Faber Music (AP.12-0571523129).

I couldn’t teach without all the Little Pepper Books by Elissa Milne. They’re available on Amazon, Sheetmusicplus and BookDepository. I personally guarantee that you will love teaching her music. Highly recommended.