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2 minutes reading time (310 words)

Pupil Saver: Set your alarm

Students are sure to make time for Kevin Olson's energetic early-intermediate piece Time's Up! (FJH). The imaginative use of changing meters and brisk tempo give this piece a delightful spontaneity and definitely make it an enjoyable introduction to asymmetrical time signatures.

The A section, in 5/4 meter, uses the treble clef for both hands. Though written in C major, the B-flat accidental suggests Mixolydian mode in C, and provides a modern sound. The left hand maintains a 3 + 2 rhythmic pattern, and, happily, Olson prints this counting pattern under the notes in measure 1. He cleverly uses only four different notes in the main melody; the melody can be a finger twister, so careful slow practice is required, as seen in measures 3-6.

The B section is a spirited jazz waltz, and students like the sophisticated sound of the major and minor seventh chords. In contrast to the consistent mezzo piano in the first section, this second-section waltz builds to a forte. Once students analyze the patterns and sequences, as seen in measures 12-15, learning the notes will be a breeze.

After the return of the A section, a short transition in 4/4 with a hemiola leads to an exciting coda. The coda starts quietly in 5/4, then, with a sudden forte, the opening melody returns briefly, but this time in 4/4. Olson at last returns to 3/4; in measures 46-49, left-hand descending fourths and fifths begin on D-flat and add an unexpected burst of color to the final C.

Time's Up! has a fresh sound with plenty of rhythmic and harmonic twists and turns. It sounds more complicated than it is, and it will appeal to students and audiences of all ages.—Carmen Doubrava

Got a Pupil Saver? We love to hear from you. If you are interested in submitting your Pupil Saver for consideration, please contact Susan Geffen at m.editor@claviercompanion.

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