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Fun piano music for the summer holidays

(19 Posts)
Mistigri Sat 05-Jul-14 22:43:14

There seem to be lots of parents of young musicians here so maybe someone can help!

My daughter (13) recently decided she'd like to learn the piano "properly" and started teaching herself. She's not starting as a complete novice as she plays other instruments and has experience of composing on a keyboard (by ear). She can read music.

Ahead of starting lessons in September, she's looking for some fairly easy pieces to play over the summer. She enjoys playing song accompaniments, but would like some classical pieces to work on too. The problem is that it's hard to know what's realistically within her grasp but that would also appeal to her teenage tastes (romantic modern classical music mainly). She plays the theme from the film Amélie Poulain, so I am guessing that she could tackle a grade 3-ish classical piece fairly easily.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions, as googling "easy piano music" turns up either very simple arrangements for complete beginners, or lists of pieces that look more like grade 5+!

JulieMichelleRobinson Sun 06-Jul-14 00:19:47

I used to have two "Learn to play" books, Beethoven and Mozart, from Usborne:

If she already reads music fairly well, the arrangements in those are quite nice if I recall correctly, and there are some famous pieces. For example, the main theme to the Moonlight Sonata is transposed into an easier key (E minor, not C#minor) and simplified, and only the recognised section is there, not the whole piece. Whether or not it appeals is another matter.

Through the Kaleidoscope by Steve Cravis ? Not used myself but was mentioned on ABRSM teachers' forum. Grade 4ish so may be too hard.

Microjazz? Keynotes book 1? Piano Time supplementary books - e.g. there are two jazz ones, the first is around grade 1 and the second around 2-3. Classics to Moderns book 1 (book 2 will be too hard, trust me). Upgrades series (0-1 or 1-2).

Mistigri Sun 06-Jul-14 06:17:41

Thank you. I've come across those collections but assessing suitability is so difficult! (Hence DD turning to lists like this of which all but the Tiersen - which she plays well and likes - are probably unrealistic).

I think she would prefer originals not arrangements, if only because she will listen to the piece on youtube first to see if she likes it! Key signatures are not be an issue (good guitarist, comfortable with harmony/transposition/chord structures). So perhaps the Classics to Moderns would be a good bet.

JustAShopGirl Sun 06-Jul-14 08:03:24

Does she like the Harry Potter films? They have a fantastic classical type score with a lot by John Williams. My girls are always playing a piece or 2 from the book for fun - they got their piano teacher into it too... (has also given them much kudos at school when they play them in class assembly etc)

We have
from the first 5 years at Hogwarts

which ranges from grade 3 to low grade 5.

They do one with music from all the films now too..

JulieMichelleRobinson Sun 06-Jul-14 08:34:35


Key signatures may not be an issue from a theoretical point of view, but playing in lots of sharps or flats on the piano can be an issue - except B major which is all the black notes and two white ones.

If she wants original classical pieces, then Classics to Moderns and More Classics to Moderns are a good place to start, since they are not arrangements, just real pieces that happen to be easy. However, book one is between grades 1 and 2 and they go up from there. MusicRoom lists all the contents of each book, which is useful:

My post-grade-1 but pre-grade-3 students find book 1 easy but book 2 pretty challenging - book 2 has the famous minuet from Anna Magdalena. Oh, and the Classics to Moderns books have a graded easiest-to-hardest contents page, too. may be of use.

Mistigri Sun 06-Jul-14 09:35:06

Thank you both. I really appreciate the suggestions. I think we will try classics to moderns 2 and a book of film music (Harry Potter, or maybe Lord of the Rings which is also available -bshe is a huge fan).

JulieMichelleRobinsom, thank you for that link, very useful. It's odd but playing sharps and flats on the piano doesn't seem to bother her ... don't know why ... possibly because she is coming at this from a guitarist's point of view? (The first piece she ever learnt to play from sheet music was in F minor, so I think it's fair to say that a few black notes don't scare her).

Maestro Sun 06-Jul-14 09:48:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fram Sun 06-Jul-14 19:52:56

Does she like video games? We have a book of Mario music, and a book of Zelda music that we keep just for fun. The Zelda one is certainly around that level.

Fram Sun 06-Jul-14 19:57:22

We also have an 'easy jazz' book, the is probably around grade 3. The author has written lots of piano books...

Ok- it's "After hours Jazz" by Pam Wedgwood.
and the reviews say grade 4-6ish... but DH has learnt some of the pieces, and he's never had a piano lesson in his life! (or any other instrument btw)

Fram Sun 06-Jul-14 19:58:51

This is the zelda book we have

and this is the mario one

Fram Sun 06-Jul-14 20:00:08

We have a Star Wars one too.

Just nice to have a play around on something non-gradey for a while!

Sound of Music or Mary Poppins might be good if she likes those?

Mistigri Sun 06-Jul-14 22:43:52

Thanks for all the suggestions. She doesn't play video games, but the jazz book looks interesting - not too hard and will probably appeal to her (she studies guitar and performs with a professional jazz musician).

PurpleAlert Tue 08-Jul-14 19:34:38

What about a nice bit of Ludovico Einaudi- You can print quite a few of them from Music Room

Le Onde is lovely and really not that difficult to play.

Il Giorni is another nice one.

Oakmaiden Tue 08-Jul-14 19:38:00

ink{\]]p} is beautiful beautiful, and not at all hard to play.

Oakmaiden Tue 08-Jul-14 19:39:06

Wierd. No idea what I did there.

Try this: popolare ink{\]]p}

Oakmaiden Tue 08-Jul-14 19:40:22

Aaaargh - wish I hadn't started this now!!! And again

Oakmaiden Tue 08-Jul-14 19:41:18

Oh. Look at that. There was a little linked picture under all my posts anyway.

Um... shuffles off

Mistigri Sat 12-Jul-14 10:47:16

Thank you again for the suggestions. Einaudi definitely appeals, is this a teenage thing? She likes anything that sounds like "film music". She's learnt Satie's Gymnopédie No 1 this week which she found very easy (no technical difficulties, I guess the challenge is in the timing and dynamics) and might start on Il Giorni now. She plays a lot more than I ever did as a teenager (did piano to grade 6/7 standard but it's a very distant memory now, I haven't touched an instrument for over 30 years).

PurpleAlert Sat 12-Jul-14 19:37:41

Yiruma is another composer the teens tend to go for- River flows in you is lovely and there are some others by him that are nice too.

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