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Pagoda Bells by Mona Rejino

Pagoda Bells, by Mona Rejino, transports us to the Far East with its characteristic pentatonic motives, sonorous harmonies, liberal use of pedal, and expansive texture. This versatile piano solo is suitable for early-intermediate students of all ages due to its mature sound and generally appealing title/cover art. Teens and adult students will be sure to enjoy it too! "Pagoda Bells" at a Glance Level: Early Intermediate Key: F major Tempo: Half note = 72 Form: ABA CODA Hand-size limitations: LH blocked minor 7th Technical Challenges: -keeping a consistent tempo may prove challenging in this slow cut-time meter with many long tones. Since the piece begins with two whole notes, a careful estab

Noche del Gitano by Ted Cooper

"Noche del Gitano" (Night of the Gypsy), exudes both energy and passion through its mixed articulations, dancing 3/4 meter, and persistent rhythms. Students will enjoy not only the spicy character of the gypsy but also the mysterious undertones that ring forth in the B section. This is a compelling musical story for both boys and girls (don't let the cover art make you think otherwise)! "Noche del Gitano" at a Glance Level: Late Elementary Key: A minor Tempo: With Energy (I perform this at around quarter=208 bpm) Form: ABA CODA Hand-size limitations: Blocked fifths are the largest interval required. Technical Challenges: -some students will need help with the hand crossings in the B section

Candlelight Prelude by Carol Klose

This beautiful, lyrical prelude provides ample opportunity to work on balance between hands, voicing of small harmonic intervals, and overall musical expressiveness. The offbeat accompaniment allows the right-hand melody to really lead, making this an especially effective teaching piece for pacing and phrasing. One of my favorite aspects of this composition is the series of cascading runs with their small twists and turns. If performed free of tension and with expressiveness, there is a feeling of soaring or floating. The end is a beautiful resolution to a picardy third C major chord. I would also highly recommend watching Jennifer Linn's performance of "Candlelight Prelude" at the 2013 MTNA

Way Cool! by Phillip Keveren

Today's educational piano rep feature takes a look at "Way Cool!" by Phillip Keveren. This is such a great piece for the late-elementary student who loves to rock out at the piano! Marked "hip jazz-rock," this piece is full of grooving syncopated rhythms and articulations. You might need a pair of cool shades for this performance! "Way Cool!" at a Glance Level: Late Elementary Key: C Major Tempo: Quarter note = 152 Hand Span: The largest hand span is a minor 7th blocked interval. Ideal for medium-sized hands. This interval only occurs in two measures and the upper LH note may be omitted, allowing the piece to easily be modified for small hands. See m. 23 and m. 31. Challenges: Many students

Toccata Brillante by Dennis Alexander

This Dennis Alexander classic is a favorite in my piano studio. Commissioned in 1990, this showstopper still continues to entertain students, audiences, and festival judges! Alfred's product description has this to say about Toccata Brillante: "A toccata is a "touch" piece, and this intermediate level solo offers good contrasts in touch, shifting rhythms, and dynamics. The meter changes from 2/2 to 1/2 (!) to 5/4 time, and the tempo is marked as "Presto." The left hand does quite a bit of ostinato broken octave work and the right hand will have broken chord and scale work." "Toccata Brillante" at a Glance Level: Intermediate Key: C Major Tempo: Half note = 100-112 Hand-size limitations: Stud

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