Appropriate Arrangements

We are flooded today with a wide variety of musical arrangements. Through the years, I have heard Bach's Toccata in D Minor used as a video game accompaniment, Mozart's "Turkish March" in a toy cell phone, Poulton's "Aura Lee" (a.k.a. "Love Me Tender") played in a very quick tempo for a dog commercial, and Chopin and Bach melodies serving as the ba...
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Summer 2019: New Music and Materials

(S2) Bastien New Traditions All In One Piano Course, 2B, 3A, 3B, by Lisa, Lori, and Jane Bastien. In a grand family tradition, these materials continue the recently published Bastien New Traditions All In One Piano Course by Lisa, Lori, and Jane Bastien. As with the first five levels in the new series (Primer A through 2A), Lessons, Theory, Techniq...
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November/December 2018: New Music Reviews

(S3-4) Big Phat Jazz Piano Solos: 10 Big Phat Band Classics, arranged by Gordon Goodwin. (S3-4) If you're not familiar with the name "Gordon Goodwin," you probably haven't played in a high school jazz band in the last fifteen years or so. Goodwin's music has achieved near ubiquity in the jazz e...
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September/October 2018: First Looks, New Music Reviews

jingle-bells (S1-2) Jingle Bells, arranged by Wendy Stevens.
New Music Reviews Editor's note Ho, ho, ho! The holidays are on the horizon. We know how it is for piano teachers (we're teachers ourselves). We frantically run to the music store, hoping to snag our favorites before the teacher with 120 students cleans out the inventory. Clavier Companion is here to help. This issue's holiday reviews will help you...
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July/August 2018: First Looks, New Music Reviews

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Six Progressive Sonatinas for the Piano Forte, Op. 36, by Muzio Clementi. Authentic Revised Edition ("With Considerable Improvements"), edited by Arthur Houle. This volume presents Clementi's ubiquitous Op. 36 Sonatinas in "the first and only definitive critical edition based on all the primary sources, with extensive notes on performance practice ...
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Why don't you come out of the pantry? Is left-handed piano music anything more than just a historical curiosity?

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Why should a pianist with both hands in perfectly working order bother to devote their time and energy to study—not to mention perform—compositions or arrangements for the left hand alone? Is there any value in exposing oneself to that obscure genre? And what if you actually have some inclination towards it, but a...
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New music reviews: November/December 2017

(S3) From Sight to Sound: 6 Original PIano Solos, by Randall Hartsell.  Randall Hartsell composed From Sight to Sound to express the "interconnectedness of nature and our lives," and this collection contains six reflective pieces characterized by melodic simplicity and harmonic richness. The collection capitalizes on the piano's capacity for c...
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An arranging workshop

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Time certainly flies when you're having fun. I realized this year that my first published arrangement was copyrighted in 1984. Math was never one of my strongest subjects, but I think that means I've been at this for more than thirty years. That adds up to a lot of staccatos, phrase marks, altered chords, and double bars. It has been a privilege to...
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Comping 102 -- Going further with "boom-chicks"

Last time, we explored playing a basic (boom-chick) stride pattern to accompany students when no duet part is provided. Now, we'll consider two ways to enhance and adapt this useful "stock" accompaniment. 1. Passing note bass Add variety and momentum to the steady boom-chick of a basic stride by connecting the roots of chords with passing bass note...
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Musicnotes.com: Creative arrangements for your students

The importance of incorporating current music into piano lessons is immeasurable—you will be more desirable as a teacher, you will see a spark inside your students that hasn't come out since last Christmas, and you may even have some fun making music come to life with your students. By speaking the language of your students through music that is me...
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How do you create solo piano arrangements from a fake book?

Today's jazz pianists learn to play within many different contexts. They might find themselves in a big band, a combo, or by themselves as keyboard soloists. As soloists, they must supply the harmony, rhythm, and melody while only being given a lead sheet version of a song as a guide. At the professional level, this skill can be quite complex. Howe...
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An interview with Dan Coates: "A Place at the Table"

Dan Coates, perhaps the best-known popular music piano arranger in the world with thousands of arrangements to his credit, is noted for his outstanding contemporary arrangements for all skill levels. Lauded for his work by such pop luminaries as Elton John and John Williams, Dan's influence reaches countless teachers, students, and professional per...
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What Do You Do When Adults Are Determined to Play Repertoire They Can't Possibly Play Well? Part II: Shift to Transcriptions

In the Spring, 1994 issue of Keyboard Companion, Paul Sheftel and Robert Vandall answered the question, What do you do when adults are determined to play repertoire they can't possibly play?, by suggesting alternative choices for your students. In this issue, Fred Kern and Phillip Kevern answer the same question by discussing and suggesting transcr...
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Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

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