Pupil Saver: Caribbean Blue

Screen-Shot-2020-03-05-at-4.09.37-PM
I teach in a piano camp every summer—it is the highlight of my summer and I so look forward to working with students in this setting. I have just listened to the audition of my prospective student for the camp: a boy in middle school who is playing at the intermediate level. The purpose of the audition is to assess his level of playing and sight re...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Winter 2020: Pupil Saver

First steps into RagtimeIf you're looking for a lively early-intermediate piece in ragtime style, you can find it in the music of Florence B. Price, one of America's preeminent African American composers. Ticklin' Toes checks all of the ragtime boxes, yet in a way that is accessible for students who are not advanced enough to tackle the music ...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Autumn 2019: Pupil Saver

Olive Dungan's intermediate solo, The Peacock (a Poem without Words) was first published in 1953. I have found that students today still delight in this musical depiction of a beautiful majestic bird. Olive writes in the score, "The composer trusts that the pianist will create the magnificent and slow walk of the peaco...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Summer 2019: Pupil Saver - Dramatic Chords and Incomparable Views

Rebecca is in her senior year of high school. She is a lovely person who is a talented artist and is also a good pianist. Rebecca leans probably more toward art than music, thus her playing level has stayed around late intermediate to early advanced. Finding music for her that sounds difficult and appealing is often a challenge.At her most recent l...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

January/February 2019 Pupil Saver: The thrill of the risk

My student Katie, 17, enjoys playing the piano as much as she loves playing soccer. From what I hear, she is an aggressive, risk-taking soccer player. The same could be said for her piano playing: she is adventurous with tempo and sometimes aggressive with sound. I needed a piece that would both capitalize on Katie's strengths while encou...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

November/December 2018: Pupil Saver

Rev It Up!David Karp's Toccatina in D Minor (FJH) is a high-energy intermediate piece that will rev up any student. Written almost entirely in the treble clef, the rapid sixteenth notes, syncopated cadences, and interesting mix of major and minor sounds add up to an exciting and riveting contemporary pie...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

September/October 2018: Pupil Saver

From the "Motivating Bookshelf Logan is sitting on the piano bench, his mother behind us. Logan and I are discussing repertoire for both short- and long-term goals.Logan is in soccer, tennis, robotics, piano, violin, and a plethora of church activities. Following a polished performance of "The Little White Donkey" from Jacques Ibert's Histoire...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

July/August 2018: Pupil Saver

Preludes-picture_edited-1
A grand setting for C minorby Carmen DoubrovaSome students diligently practice their repertoire pieces, but are less enthused about scales and exercises. Fortunately, long ago, I discovered Ballade from Betty Colley's early-intermediate collection Styles for Piano (Kjos). This piece is a brilliant study of the natural minor scale.The C-minor k...
Continue reading
  1 Comment
Recent comment in this post
Linda Mannering
Hello Carmen, Thank you for this article. I cannot find Betty Colley's early-intermediate collection Styles for Piano (Kjos) or ... Read More
Saturday, 21 July 2018 09:33
1 Comment

May/June 2018: Pupil Saver

Ibert-
 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. I have an advancing student who is really interested in playing French music. Although I decided to steer away from Debussy for the moment, I remembered that French c...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

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. Thoug...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Pupil Saver: Jamaican Rumba by Arthur Benjamin

Once again, my high school student—who seems to be involved in every activity possible—needed a unique piece. I had in mind what I wanted: The piece needed to be fairly short, patterned for quick and easy learning, impressive, and infrequently played (that last requirement was more for me than for the student). I found the perfect piece, Austr...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Pupil Saver: Mendelssohn Song without words, Op. 30, No. 6

JA-17-Excerpt-_20170625-211048_1
Stress reduction at the pianoIt's exciting to see a student advance after years of diligent work, but often the thought of moving on to larger works is daunting and stressful, especially for those students juggling too many activities. That big piece will never be finished, and interest wanes.One solution for student burnout is Felix Mendelsso...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Pupil Saver: The Song of Twilight

The Song of Twilight," by Japanese composer Yoshinao Nakada (Frederick Harris Celebration Series: Piano Repertoire, Level 3), is an accessible and motivating piece for the late-elementary pianist. When I prepared students for the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, many students chose this piece as their finale because of its soaring melo...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Pupil Saver: Elephant Stomp! by Kevin Olson

If you are looking for music for students who can't sit still during lessons, or who bypass rests like they don't exist, Kevin Olson's late-elementary solo Elephant Stomp (FJH) might be just the thing. This clever piece uses two hands, two feet, and the vast imagination of the student, who must "stomp the floor!" like an elephant.Elephant Stomp is ...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Repertoire: Pupil saver

Flowers
A cheerful and dependable flower by Adrienne E. WileyI love finding new pieces for my students! One of my pupils is ready for character pieces; she is playing late-intermediate literature, and I wanted to find something besides the rather frequently used— although rightly so—Schumann, Gurlitt, Heller, Streabbog, and Burgmüller pieces. I w...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Vivid imagery in a piece from China

The Chinese composition "The Young Shepherd with his Little Flute" (in Chinese Folk Music for Children, Schott/Hal Leonard) is not only accessible for late-intermediate pianists, but has a colorful image that will motivate students. When I presented a poster session about the piece at the Ohio Music Teachers Association Southwest conference, many t...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Pupil Saver: Unique; reflective music

Finding interesting late-intermediate literature can be a challenge. In addition to teaching the repertoire standards, I always look for something a bit more out-of- the box, quite often a contemporary composition. I find that the contemporary music of Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee fits my needs perfectly, and her two sets of preludes provide a wea...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Unique; reflective music

pupil-3b
Finding interesting late-intermediate literature can be a challenge. In addition to teaching the repertoire standards, I always look for something a bit more out-ofthe box, quite often a contemporary composition. I find that the contemporary music of Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee fits my needs perfectly, and her two sets of preludes provide a wealth of ...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Drive and surprise

Here's a piece that captures the attention of everyone from precocious seven-year-olds to late beginners of all ages. Susan Ogilvy's Toccatina (Alfred) is suitable for students from the late-elementary to early-intermediate levels, is terrifically fun to play, and is often very easy to memorize. Most importantly, however, it sounds more diffic...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

A heavenly, bravura piece

star-light
I am often confronted with the need for intermediate literature that will not only motivate students, but cover up any deficiencies they might have (I am sure we have all had this experience). Case in point: I had a transfer student who could barely sight-read, which made learning every piece take forever, and proper technique, hand position, and p...
Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

About Piano Magazine

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.

Follow us on

Terms of use

Have Questions?

We are happy to help.

Editorial questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Advertising questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subscription questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Technical questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cron Job Starts