RCM Playlists: YouTube videos for Lists and Studies [Teacher Intro]

Listening to recordings is a key part of the learning process when selecting and learning piano repertoire.

YouTube can be a wonderful resource for piano teachers and students! If you’re teaching the RCM Celebration Series Sixth Edition, this platform offers a wide choice of videos of the piano repertoire and etudes printed in the series.

But as you search in YouTube, how can you be sure which video to click on? Once you start listening, you’ll find wide variances in tempo and interpretation (including ornaments). Sometimes it takes a lot of time to track down a suitable video that will offer your students a good example of the music.

1. Quality YouTube Playlists that save time

To save you time during lessons, I’ve taken the time to listen to the various performances. For each piece, I’ve chosen the video I feel best captures the spirit of the music. I’ve used my adjudicator’s ear and curated the choices to create playlists that you can trust.

Quality videos based on:

  • The expressiveness of the performance.
  • The technical skill of the performer. I looked for tension-free playing and good development of the fingers, hand-shape and flow between hand, wrist, arm and complete body. Your students will benefit from seeing good technical skill at the piano.
  • The quality of the sound recording (you may need to adjust the volume between videos because YouTubers use different recording devices with differing levels).
  • Video quality (camera). I favour landscape videos over portrait-framed videos, as they give a closer and more complete view of the performances. Also, I feel it is important to see the performer if possible, not just the hands.

2. Introducing the performers

There are some performers I’ve returned to many times:

Lisa Tahara — Born in Japan and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Dr. Lisa Tahara is a classical pianist and professor of piano at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. Her performances demonstrate a refined level of artistry. Her videos are recorded in concert view (her right arm is towards the audience), and her audio equipment captures every nuance in her playing.

Piano with Beth — A very popular YouTuber from Australia who has been recording piano repertoire for many years, Beth has fearlessly recorded the RCM catalogue with interpretations you can count on. You can be sure she’s checked the tempo and can depend on her faithful rendition of the articulation. Beth’s videos are recorded above her right shoulder, giving an angled view of the hands and keys. Her videos are a solid choice and reference.

Clark Bryan Piano — Born in Ontario, Canada, Mr. Bryan was educated at the University of Western Ontario and graduated with Bachelor and Masters degrees in piano. He has performed in North and Central America and Europe, and recorded 11 albums. I found his videos in popular idioms especially good, and was drawn to his lively, punchy performances that sparkle with the energy one wants from pop music. His videos are recorded with an overhead view, looking straight down on hands and keys.

Composers — If there is a recording by the composer, I’ve usually included it unless the tempo of the composer differs with the one printed in the RCM edition. While I do sometimes prefer the interpretations of the performers mentioned above, I feel there’s value in watching and hearing the composers play their own music. There were some composers I didn’t include because their videos included talking and were a bit long for a playlist series of this nature.

3. YouTube Playlists for Teacher’s Choice

If you’re interested in Teacher’s Choice selections (which are often student’s choice), there’s also a link to the RCM webinar “Teacher’s Choice and Popular Selection Substitutions.”

Besides the RCM playlists, I’ve included a Teacher’s Choice playlist of my own piano music for each level. Please feel free to browse these videos for your own teaching and students.

One key reason I’ve done this is to allow my own students to opt in or out of playing pieces composed by me. You can imagine that I compose a lot, and so I want to leave it up to my students to choose my pieces (or not) in a way that puts no pressure on them whatsoever. Listening to a playlist on their own time is the best way.

However, I’d be thrilled if you or your students included my music in your own playing or exams!

4. Listen through or one at a time

Listening through the entire playlist is possible on the blog pages. The videos in the playlists play in the order that the music is printed in the books. All you need to do is press play and turn the pages of the book.

This is the ideal way to listen when selecting repertoire. You may even send your student the link to the blog post and ask them to listen through a playlist as part of their week of practicing at home.

Students may rate the pieces and write their thoughts right beside the titles on the Table of Contents: “A” for Awesome, “B” for But (I like it, But…), and “C” for “Can’t picture myself playing that.” This is only optional, but would help you get to know your students and their musical preferences. It may also be possible for teachers to influence growth in musical tastes beyond what the student might choose upon their first hearing.

Listening one video at a time is possible in YouTube, itself. These curated playlists are on my channel and that’s where you can see the videos in order of printed appearance. Simply click on the video you need to save time playing through the whole list.

Links to Levelled Pages

Prep A

Preparatory A consists of one volume. The Piano Repertoire book is a collection of delightful pieces from all over the globe and several centuries. From Early Elementary to Elementary, this book is useful as students make the transition from beginner piano books into repertoire that will expand their scope and imaginations. This blog post features trusted YouTube video performances of music from the book. Keep Reading >>

Prep B

Preparatory B consists of one volume. The Piano Repertoire book is a collection of irresistible pieces that represent composers from all over the globe and several centuries. This Elementary book guides students through repertoire that builds confidence with technical development, physical coordination, reading on the grand staff, rote playing and storytelling through music. This blog post features trusted YouTube video performances of music from the book. Keep Reading >>

Level 1

Level 1 consists of two volumes. The Piano Repertoire book has three lists: List A has Baroque and Classical Repertoire; List B has Romantic, 20th-, and 21st-century Repertoire; and List C, two-part Inventions. The Etudes book contains 19 pieces (many of them one page) that encourage technical development in a fun way, for this Late Elementary level. This blog post features trusted YouTube video performances of music from the books. Keep Reading >>

Level 2

Level 2 consists of two volumes. The Piano Repertoire book has three lists: List A has Baroque and Classical Repertoire; List B has Romantic, 20th-, and 21st-century Repertoire; and List C, two-part Inventions. The Etudes book contains 18 pieces (many of them one page) that address technical development in a fun way for this Late Elementary level. This blog post features trusted YouTube video performances of music from the books. Keep Reading >>

Level 3

Level 3 consists of two volumes. The Piano Repertoire book has three lists: List A has Baroque Repertoire; List B has Classical and Classical-style Repertoire; and List C, Romantic, 20th-, and 21st-century Repertoire. The Etudes book contains 18 pieces (many of them one page) that address technical development in a fun way for this Early Intermediate level. This blog post features trusted YouTube video performances of music from the books. Keep Reading >>

Level 4

Level 4 consists of two volumes. The Piano Repertoire book has three lists: List A has Baroque Repertoire; List B has Classical and Classical-style Repertoire; and List C, Romantic, 20th-, and 21st-century Repertoire. The Etudes book contains 16 pieces (one or two pages) that address technical development in a fun way for this Intermediate level. This blog post features trusted YouTube video performances of music from the books. Keep Reading >>

Level 5

Level 5 consists of two volumes. [Coming soon!]

Level 6

Level 6 consists of two volumes. [Coming soon!]

Feedback

This blog series has been a joy and a lot of work! I’m hoping you and your students will benefit from this collection of performance examples as you choose and learn repertoire.

Because I’m using content developed by others, occasionally it will get deleted by the original creator. It will be impossible for me to keep track of it all, so if you notice that a piece has suddenly gone missing from a playlist, please contact me! I’ll find a replacement lickety-split!

Also, if you like this format and want me to expand the series to include blog posts and playlists for Levels 7 and up, please let me know!


Do you like this post and want more? In the side menu click “follow” to get notifications of my posts in your inbox.

I appreciate shares, comments and likes. Happy teaching! ❤

Rebekah Maxner, composer, blogger, piano teacher. Follow my blog for great tips!

Video of the Week

Deep in the Meadow (Early Intermediate, Level 3), is a Level 3 List C selection in the RCM 2022 6th Edition Syllabus. It’s a tender lullaby imagined to be from Panem, based on the poetry of Suzanne Collins. Waltz, dotted-quarter-eighth rhythms, long phrases, with pedal. From the print and eBook Madge’s Notebook, A Piano Tribute to The Hunger Games, or check out the Deep in the Meadow eSheet!

Listen to Deep in the Meadow, RCM Level 3 List C on YouTube!

3 thoughts on “RCM Playlists: YouTube videos for Lists and Studies [Teacher Intro]

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: