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*** (Album for the Young, No. 30)

The 30th piece in Schumann’s Album for the Young is one of the composer’s most intimate and tender short pieces, full of harmonic and contrapuntal refinement. Although it is technically accessible to intermediate pianists, it is musically rewarding for more advanced players as well. This From the Ground Up edition delves deeply into the expressive subtleties of the score, with exercises designed to help players experience its musical emotions directly, and develop their own interpretations.

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Intermezzo in A Minor, Op. 76 No. 7

Brahms’s sets of miniatures are among the best-loved shorter works for the piano. The Intermezzo in A minor, op. 76 no. 7, is currently on the ABRSM Grade VIII syllabus, and will pose several challenges for those who wish to master it. This walkthrough and Annotated Study Edition has a special emphasis on artistic pedalling – I show you how you can use a special type of pedalling for those spots when the RH phrases are punctuated by rests. Read >>

Sonatina in G - Second Movement

This walkthrough of the second movement of Beethoven’s popular Sonatina in G will help students to assimilate essential elements of the Classical style: articulation, balance, ornamentation, and clear phrasing. The series of reduced scores provides students with a step-by-step approach to learning the piece, and makes it easier for teachers to give easy-to-follow assignments for the week.

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Arietta

Edvard Grieg’s Arietta, the first of his many Lyric Pieces, is a miniature gem of great refinement and poetry. This From the Ground Up edition helps intermediate to advanced students to understand and communicate its expression, while learning some practice methods that can be applied to many other pieces as well.

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The Girl with the Flaxen Hair

La fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair) is among Debussy’s best-loved works for the piano. Despite its apparent simplicity, it is deceptively difficult to bring off. This walkthrough with accompanying annotated study edition gives practical solutions to the numerous problems the pedalling in the work poses, together with fingerings and exercises that will make some of the more awkward passages much easier to manage. Read >>

Sonatina in G - First Movement

This walkthrough of the first movement of Beethoven’s popular Sonatina in G will help students to assimilate essential elements of the Classical style: articulation, balance, ornamentation, and clear phrasing. The series of reduced scores provides students with a step-by-step approach to learning the piece, and makes it easier for teachers to give easy-to-follow assignments for the week.

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Little Prelude in F

Bach’s lovely Little Prelude in F is a harmonic prelude, essentially an elaborated chord progression. In this article, the basic harmonic skeleton of the piece is gradually fleshed out, allowing students to understand its simple underlying structure, and to work systematically on its various layers. Read >>

Von fremden Ländern und Menschen

Schumann’s Von fremden Länder und Menschen (Of Foreign Lands and People), the first piece of his Kinderszenen (Scenes of Childhood), is a poetic evocation of the dream-like world of children. In this article, the three strands of the music — melody, bass, and accompaniment — are studied individually before being combined, allowing students to master the piece in an effective, step-by-step manner.

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Nocturne in E-flat

Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat Op. 9 No. 2, has long been a favourite of both pianists and audiences with it's richly-ornamented melody, supported by exquisite harmonies in the left hand. This From the Ground Up walk-through provides a detailed guide to learning this piece efficiently and with understanding and creativity.

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From the Ground Up

From the Ground Up is a series devoted to learning individual pieces using outlines and reduced scores that help you to practise more effectively, memorize more consciously, and interpret music more creatively. Read >>

Black Eyes

Black Eyes (or Dark Eyes as it is often called) is probably the most famous Russian romance song. This excellent arrangement by Moira Hayward provides a setting that offers plenty of scope for both dark, brooding expressiveness and a touch of bravura.

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Sostenuto in E flat

Chopin's Sostenuto in E flat or Waltz in E flat was discovered as recently as 1941, by the Director of the Paris Conservatoire, Dr. Jacques Chailley. There are precious few works of Chopin that are suitable for the intermediate level pianist, so Grade V candidates will be extremely happy to find this work on the main syllabus.

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Tom Bowling

This series of articles features tips on how to approach the piano arrangement of the popular English sea-song, Tom Bowling, by Charles Dibdin (Arr. Julian McNamara). This song was first performed at The Lyceum in London in 1789, and later performed annually at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the medley of English sea-songs customarily played on the Last Night of the Proms.

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Romanze from Eine kleine Nachtmusiek

We continue our collection of guides to the ABRSM syllabus with another work from the Grade 3 repertoire list. This series of articles features tips on how to approach the piano arrangement by Clem Virgo of the first part of the second movement of Mozart's popular orchestral serenade for piano, Eine kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music). Read >>

La donna è mobile (The woman is fickle)

La donna è mobile (“woman is fickle”) is a tenor aria from Act 3 of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto. Nancy Litten’s delightful piano arrangement gives the elementary pianist an opportunity to enjoy this famous tune and also serves as a valuable study in coordinating different touches between the hands, control of tone at a variety of different dynamic levels, and rhythmic precision and poise.

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Nocturne in C-sharp Minor

Chopin wrote the Nocturne in C-sharp minor, op. posth. in 1830, but it was only published in 1870. He dedicated the work to his sister, Ludwika “as an exercise before beginning the study of my second Concerto". This series of articles provides a comprehensive walkthrough and detailed practice worksheets for this beautiful work.

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Solfeggietto in C Minor

The term “solfeggietto” means an exercise, or little study. This much-loved little piece is a study in evenness of tempo and touch, but it is also a study in composition (how a piece of music may be constructed from the simplest of ideas). This series of videos provides an introduction to the piece followed by performance aspects and tips for how to go about learning and practising it. Read >>

Fantasy in D Minor K397

This video provides a section by section waltkthrough of Mozart's Fantasy in D Minor K397 (sometimes referred to as Fantasia).

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Two Short Pieces

This series features two popular short pieces by William Alwyn, The Sun is Setting and The Sea is Angry which are both ideal for the intermediate level. Read >>

The Merry Farmer

Schumann’s piano music is a joy to play – it is full of inspiration, fantastic contrasts in mood and character as well as beautiful melodies and breathtakingly beautiful harmonies. This series of articles provides notes outlining how to approach learning The Merry Farmer, Returning from Work from the Album for the Young.

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Sonatina in G

Handel's Sonatina in G is part of a new series on the ABRSM syllabus designed for youngsters, or elementary players. This series of articles provides a step-by-step (or phrase-by-phrase) approach to learning the piece thoroughly and securely, building a solid foundation for performance in an exam, or if you are learning for pleasure. Read >>

Aria in F

JC Bach's Aria in F is part of a new series on the ABRSM syllabus designed for youngsters, or elementary players. This series of articles provides a step-by-step (or phrase-by-phrase) approach to learning the piece thoroughly and securely, building a solid foundation for performance in an exam, or if you are learning for pleasure. Read >>

A Crash Course in Music Theory

This series provides a “crash course” in practical theory for pianists. It covers traditional topics such as harmony and counter point through examples and exercises which will improve your understanding of music and your performance practice. Read >>

Mazurkas

This section contains walk-throughs and lessons on Chopin's Mazurkas, starting with the Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 17, No. 4. Read >>

Lyric Pieces, Op.54

Grieg wrote his famous Nocturne (Night Piece) in the summer of 1891 during his annual country retreat to the Norwegian mountains and fjords. Along with five other pieces, he included the Nocturne in Book V of his Lyric Pieces, Op. 54. Read >>

Sonatine

Ravel wrote the first movement of the Sonatine in 1903 for a magazine competition run by a magazine but wasn't awarded the prize as he was the only entrant and had exceeded the length restriction! Fortunately for posterity, Ravel soon added a second and a third movement in 1905 and it quickly became popular, remaining so ever since. Read >>