The Whole Point is to Play – Finding sheet music that your kids really love!

July 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm

written by Victoria Warfield, July 27, 2012

One of the strongest connections to music that children have is through the movies, videos, and games in their daily lives.  They dream of playing their favourite song on the piano some day.  That day can be today!  Most parents don’t realize that there is sheet music for any level of piano student across an expansive range of titles, styles, and genres.

Here is a guide – with examples – of the different editions you can buy for your child.  Ask them what their favourite songs are and go buy them!!  I have included links to “Selections from Disney’s Princess” to show how the same songs are available across the complete range of piano playing abilities.  These pieces may also be available as “singles” in sheet music and downloadable on your home computer to save you a trip to the store.  There are also “Best of…..” collections for music from a specific year or decade(1966, the ’80′s, 2011…), artist (The Eagles, Adele, Lady Gaga…), or even style (Broadway, Country, Cartoons….).  Online stores are a great resource to explore what is available out there.  I have added some links at the bottom to direct you to these stores and online sites.

FIVE FINGER PIANO EDITIONS

This is the easiest level for popular piano music.  All five finger pieces have been arranged with the melody split between the hands. Starting hand positions are illustrated above the student part and key signatures are avoided. Shifts in hand position are noted for easy identification. Simple rhythms predominate, and dotted quarter-notes, triplets, and sixteenth-notes are not used.

Optional duet accompaniments are included for a fuller musical experience.

Students should be able to play these selections on their own or with very little teacher input after about 6 months of lessons or the completion of a Primer Method.

Selections from Disney’s Princess Collection Vol. 1 – The Music of Hope, Dreams and Happy Endings – Series: Five Finger Piano Songbook – Composer: Various – $7.95 (US) – HL 00310847 – ISBN: 9780634045110

 

Selections from Disney’s Princess Collection Vol. 2 – The Music of Hope, Dreams and Happy Endings – Series: Five Finger Piano Songbook – Composer: Various – $7.95 (US) – HL 00310848 – ISBN: 9780634045127

 

 BIG NOTE PIANO EDITIONS

Big Note collections  are generally easier than the standard Easy Piano format. Rhythms are simplified, avoiding sixteenth-notes when possible, and helpful fingerings, phrasing, and pedal indications are added. Lyrics and chord symbols are included when appropriate. Keys with more than three sharps or flats are avoided.  As indicated, the size of the notes in the edition are larger as well to help with reading.

Students that have completed Level 3 of any method or Grade 1/2 Conservatory should be able to read and play this pieces with little support.

Disney’s Princess Collection Complete – Series: Big Note Songbook – Composer: Various – $14.95 (US) – HL 00316084 – ISBN: 9780634047886

 

EASY PIANO EDITIONS

Easy Piano arrangements of popular music correlate to the intermediate and late intermediate levels.  Lyrics and chord symbols are included when appropriate, along with fingerings, phrasing, and pedal indications. Keys with more than three sharps or flats are avoided.  The manuscript size is smaller and the rhythms are generalized.

Easy Piano, however, should not be considered easy.  These pieces will challenge a young student at the Grade 4/5 Conservatory level.  Students will need support and input but these pieces can be the most satisfying for playing “for your own enjoyment”.  They are melody-driven, easy to sing along with and generally impressive sounding when performed.

Disney’s Princess Collection, Volume 1 – Easy Piano – Series: Easy Piano Songbook – Composer: Various – $12.99 (US) – HL 00313057 – ISBN: 9780793567492

 

Disney’s Princess Collection, Volume 2 – Easy Piano – Series: Easy Piano Songbook – Composer: Various – $12.99 (US) – HL 00316034 – ISBN: 9780793597710

 

FOR ADVANCED PIANISTS

The most common sheet music editions are Piano/Voice/Guitar.  These editions are also the most frustrating for pianists.  The piano line is mostly the vocal accompaniment so the pianist needs to improvise to include the melody.  This is not a good choice for a performing piece.  As an advanced student, you should seek out the Piano Solo editions instead.  These are less available in all titles, unfortunately (even in this Disney example it is not available).  These editions allow the pianist to be the star.  The arrangements are melody-driven and make terrific performance choices.  Students that have achieved a Grade 8 Conservatory standard should be able to work through these pieces on their own.  They can also be used to enhance the traditional classical repertoire selections at their lessons.

 

Disney’s Princess Collection – Complete – Series: Piano/ Vocal/ Guitar Songbook – Composer: Various – $17.95 (US) – HL 00313184 – ISBN: 9780634033872

 

 

Here are some links to online music stores:

http://www.halleonard.com/

http://www.musicnotes.com/

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/

http://www.8notes.com/piano/

http://www.alfred.com/

In the Vancouver area you can visit:

Tom Lee Music            http://www.tomleemusic.ca/main/printmusicvideos.cfm

Long & McQuade         http://www.long-mcquade.com/print-music/

~check the websites for locations near you.