Early Elementary piano students love to play good music, and music that gets them playing the full range of the piano: low, middle and high. Beginners like music that sounds groovy and jivy and rhythmic, and yet sometimes they want pieces that are beautiful and sensitive.
Just because their reading range is limited, it doesn’t mean beginners want their music ‘dumbed down.’ Very musical children envision themselves making real music at the piano from the beginning, and I believe they should play high quality, tuneful music from the outset.
Rock the Boat is an irresistible collection for beginners. Here are the features you and your students will love:
1) The music
I have filled this book to the brim with music students will love. They’ll get to play the blues, walking bass jazz, boogie patterns, beautiful, sensitive melodies, and catchy, energetic themes that are fun to sing along with. Go to the Rock the Boat page to hear sound samples of the student parts with duets and to print sample PDFs of the music. Click here to BUY NOW.
2) Notes to be read
The notation is clear and easy to follow for early readers. Most of the notes are the familiar ones in the middle of the staff. Three ‘note’ pieces near the back of the book go beyond: lower, down to space C in the LH, and higher, above sign post G.
3) Learning by rote
The rote sections, notes and passages expand the playing experience. In Baby Bird Blues, mother bird (LH) is teaching baby bird (RH) how to sing the blues. The student part is learned by rote on high sets of two black keys.
4) Sing-along lyrics
Seven of the pieces have charming sing-along lyrics. Some of the songs are silly and fun and others are sensitive and express age-appropriate emotions that children feel. The Smallest Piece is about getting the smallest piece of pie. It’s about my own childhood growing up the youngest child.
5) Well-crafted hands together
Hands-together playing gives the music simple harmonies, with stepping mirrored finger numbers. Beginners are able to coordinate hands together in contrary motion, same finger numbers together. This is taught by rote as students are not expected to read two notes at a time at this level.
The LH plays some fifths to add to the sound and harmony, and these are sometimes played hands together with the right hand.
The duet Baby Bird Blues is learned by rote on black keys and has a middle section where students can improvise the blues on black keys. No worries! Every note sounds right! Even if you (as the teacher) have never improvised before, you will be able to teach this. Click here to BUY NOW.
7) Solo music
Ten of the eleven pieces stand on their own and can be played as solos. In Pussycat Waltz, the LH carries the tune from sign post F, stepping down, and in the held notes, the RH plays the waltz rhythm.
8) Teacher duets
Each piece has a teacher duet that enhances the student part and encourages ensemble playing skills. Each duet is matched stylistically to the student part and no two duets sound the same. It is the variety of style that will inspire your students to want to learn the whole book.
9) Variety of sound
Do students get tired of Middle C and C Major? Yes. Do you? Yes. Here’s a book that will give you a break. It offers a wide choice of key centre while keeping the music all on white keys (or all on black keys). The music is cleverly composed to give the earliest beginners the satisfaction of breaking away from the sound of C while carefully avoiding accidentals.
There are modes and keys on: G Mixolydian, F Major, D Dorian, A minor, E Phrygian, B minor blues, and an all-black-key rote piece in E-flat blues. Do students need to understand these keys and modes? Nope! The music is just automatically written with notes they know and rote sections they can copy, and they’ll just play.
This might become your new favourite! Order it today! Click here to BUY NOW!
Do you like this post and want more? In the side menu click “follow” to get notification of my posts each week in your inbox.
I appreciate shares, comments and likes. Happy teaching!
When you have all 3 books in your rock trilogy, how about a Juno winning best children’s album of the year called “Bopping with Becky?” It will contain 31 (I think) songs in various genres.
Chloe, thanks for believing in me! It keeps me going! 🙂