ThePiano Student is a music resource directory for teachers and beginning-intermediate level piano students. Below are a few of the most popular posts and the most active posts. I hope you enjoy the resources you find. If you are having trouble finding a particular resource, please let me know.
“Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz (1939) was composed by Harold Arlen (music) and Yip Harburg (lyrics). It was performed by actress Judy Garland when she was only sixteen years old. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and became JudyGarland’s signature song. It appears five minutes into the film, when Dorothy sings the song after failing to get Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and the farmhands to listen to her story of an incident involving her dog, Toto. Aunt Em asks her to “find yourself a place where you won’t get into any trouble”. At the request of her aunt Dorthy begins musing to Toto, “Someplace where there isn’t any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It’s not a place you can get to by boat or train. It’s far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain.” It’s at this point we first hear Garland’s incredible performance.
The following piano sheet music arrangement is written for first year beginning students, after they have been introduced to the grand staff, notes and basic rhythms. Click the link below to listen to the first page. You can also print the first page for free if you’d like to take it out for a test drive.
Harold Arlen, born on February 15, 1905, was an American composer of popular music. In total he composed over 500 songs, many of which are well known throughout the world. In 1929, Arlen composed his first well-known song, called, “Get Happy” with lyricist Ted Koehler. He partnered again with Koehler to write familiar standards like, “Let’s Fall in Love” and “Stormy Weather.” In the 1940s, he partnered with lyricist Johnny Mercer to write “Blues in the Night,” “That Old Black Magic” and “Come Rain or Come Shine.” His most popular song, however, was “Over the Rainbow,” which was voted the 20th century’s No. 1 song by the RIAA and the NEA.
Many of the great classical music works are out of reach of kids. Their fingers will soon have the dexterity to manage highly technical passages. Until that day comes there are arrangements like this that make playing the great works possible.
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, is a symphony written in four movements. It was composed between 1811 and 1812 in the Bohemian town of Teplitz. The work is dedicated to Count Moritz von Fries. At the premiere of this work in December 1813 Beethoven remarked that it was one of his best works. The second movement – the “Allegretto” – became so popular that audiences demanded an encore. Today the “Allegretto” is often performed separately.
About the Composer of “Allegretto” from Symphony No. 7
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. To this day he remains one of the most respected and played composers in the history of Western music. His works span the Classical period to Romantic period.
“Practice slow enough to play it right the first time.”
It’s not always possible, but getting it right the first time can happen far more often if you pick the right goal and the right tempo.
What’s the Right Goal?
The right goal is different for every student and with every piece of music.
It might be…
An eight measure phrase
A two measure phrase
A two measure phrase, right hand only
Three notes with the correct fingers
If you always keep the bigger goal in mind – “Practice slow enough to play it right the first time” – chances are you’ll figure out if you’re making good choices quickly. You students are playing the music correctly or they’re not.
What’s the Right Tempo?
The right tempo is the tempo that helps your students play it right the first time.
For a first read through of a students weekly lesson music Quarter Note = 60 always seems to be a good starting point. When you start tackling each phrase, the practice tempo may need to be even slower.
When it comes to drilling the music for a recital, the right tempo may mean exploring part of the metronome students rarely visit – slower than Quarter Note = 60 or maybe Eighth Note = 60.
Practicing, in part, is training muscle memory. If your fingers are only trained enough to play a phrase at a moderate tempo, they will fail at a faster tempo. If your fingers are trained perfectly at a very slow tempo, playing very fast will be easy. It just happens.
I’ve had students surprise themselves!
Let me know what happens when you try this strategy with your students.
“The Charleston” is a dance named after the city of Charleston in South Carolina. The rhythm of this dance inspired composer & pianist James Johnson to write his tune “Charleston” for his Broadway show, Runnin’ Wild (1923). The “Charleston” soon became the unofficial anthem of the “Roaring Twenties.”
James P. Johnson (1894-1955) was an American pianist and composer. He pioneered the stride piano style and was one of the most important pianists of the early era of recording. Along with Jelly Roll Morton, Johnson was considered a key figure in the evolution of ragtime. Johnson also influenced jazz greats like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, and Fats Waller. Johnson composed many hit songs, including his unofficial anthem of the Roaring Twenties, “The Charleston,” and was acknowledged as the king of New York jazz pianists through most of the 1930s. Johnson’s artistry and influence on early popular music, as well as contributions to musical theatre are often overlooked, which lead musicologist David Schiff to call Johnson, “The Invisible Pianist.”
“Fly Me to the Moon”, was written in 1954 by composer and pianist, Bart Howard (1915-2004). American actress, comedian, and singer, Kaye Ballard (1925-2019) was the first to record his song. The most successful version is Frank Sinatra’s for his 1964 album “It Might as Well Be Swing,” which is closely associated with the Apollo Moon missions. In 1999, the Songwriters Hall of Fame honored Bart Howard by inducting this song.
Bart Howard accompanied cabaret singers on the piano as his regular job, but also enjoyed writing songs. Cole Porter was his idol, so many of his songs were written with his song writing style in mind. In response to a publisher, Howard wrote a cabaret ballad called “In Other Words.” The publisher suggested that he change the lyric from “fly me to the moon” to “take me to the moon,” but Howard decided to stick with his first idea.
Using his position as pianist and presenter at the Blue Angel cabaret, Howard promoted his song with notable singers like Felicia Sanders. However it was the arrangement by Quincy Jones that changed the meter from 3/4 to 4/4 and Frank Sinatra’s 1964 recording with the Count Basie Orchestra that made “Fly Me to the Moon” a song known around the world.
It’s fun to play music with your friends! Print this arrangement of the opening theme from Jurassic Park by American composer, John Williams, and start jamming with your Flute, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Trumpet, Violin, Viola and Cello playing band and orchestra members!
About the Composer of the Theme from Jurassic Park
John Williams, composer of the Jaws Movie theme, has been writing music for over six decades. Have you seen Home Alone, E.T. Extra-terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Superman, and the first three Harry Potter films? These are just a few of the movies for which John Williams has composed musical scores. John Williams described his Jaws theme as “grinding away at you, just as a shark would do, instinctual, relentless, unstoppable.” John Williams has also composed concertos, sports event and news channel themes, such as the themes for the 1984 Summer Olympics and NBC Sunday Night Football. John Williams has written the scores for most of Stephen Spielberg’s feature films. He also served as the principal conductor for the Boston Pops orchestra from 1980 to 1993, and is currently the laureate conductor. John Williams has received 51 Academy nominations, with only Walt Disney receiving more.
Jurassic Park Quiz
Q1 What DNA is used to complete missing dinosaur genomes?
Frog DNA are used to fill in missing genomes.
Q2 What is the name of the author of the book Jurassic Park is based on?
Q3 What is the name of the country Jurassic Park is located in?
The film set is on a fictional island near Costa Rica.
Q4 What theory does mathematician Ian Malcolm use to predict the park collapse?
Chaos Theory. The theory says small differences in initial conditions can result in widely divergent outcomes which will make a long-term prediction of the outcome impossible to predict.
La Vie en Rose, which is French for ‘Life in pink’, is the signature song of French singer Édith Piaf. The song was written in 1945 and released as a single in 1947. It quickly became a hit in the United States when seven versions of the song reached the Billboard charts in 1950. The recordings included versions by Bing Crosby Dean Martin, and Louis Armstrong. In later years versions by Bette Midler, Donna Summer, and Lady Gaga would be recorded.
This arrangement of La Vie en Rose is perfect for the intermediate piano student. It offers an opportunity to teach students about stride piano (a jazz piano style in which the right hand plays the melody while the left hand alternates between a single note and a higher chord), and swing rhythms. There are also many opportunities to refine their musical expression skills, as it’s such a delicate piece.
Print the first page for your student and give it a try. If they like it, ask them to purchase the arrangement on MusicNotes.
Not many Broadway tunes are better than Memory from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. In fact when I did a search for the best Broadway songs Memory ranked #6 in TimeOut.com’s blog post, 50 Best Broadway Songs Ever. Songs as popular as this find their way into the subculture of kids and they become songs that must be played.
If you’re looking for an easy piano arrangement that kids will enjoy practicing and performing, this arrangement is perfect! The key is manageable – introducing students to the key of Bb, the length is great with lots of repeated material at the octave – so it’s fresh but not another challenge, and the left hand isn’t overly busy – like most arrangements of Memory tend to be.
Cats is a modern musical composed by English theater composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber. It is based on the Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939), a poetry collection by American/British poet, T. S. Eliot. The musical production tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles. The story centers around the night they decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside layer and return to a new life. As of 2022, Webber’s Cats continues to be the 4th longest-running Broadway show and the 6th longest-running show in London’s West End.
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Soundtrap by Spotify®, is a cloud-based audio recording platform by Spotify. The service lets you make music wherever you are and collaborate with anyone, from anywhere, in real time. It helps creators do what they do best – create – with a user-friendly combination of software instruments, real instruments, and audio recording.
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“Yellow Submarine” is a a children’s song by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. It was performed by the English rock band the Beatles and is recorded on their from their 1966 album, Revolver. As a single it went to number one on the charts in the United Kingdom, several European countries, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In the United States “Yellow Submarine” peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The song inspired the 1968 animated film of the same name – Yellow Submarine – and the song appeared as the opening track on the soundtrack album. The film was directed by animation producer George Dunning, and produced by United Artists and King Features Syndicate. The Beatles themselves said they would provide would voice the characters. However, in the final version of the film the Beatles only performed the songs and participated in the final scene of the film. The film received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike. John Lennon later said of the film, “I think it’s a great movie, it’s my favorite Beatle movie.”
The Beatles, an English rock band from Liverpool, England, was formed in 1960. The band included John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The band rose quickly to success, first in England and then in the United States. They are widely regarded as the most influential rock band of all time. Their sound included elements of classical music and traditional pop. From a rather simple beginning, the band later explored music styles, including ballads, Indian music, psychedelia and hard rock. The band also pioneered recording techniques and made strides in artistic presentation.