Series 17 – Part 2 (some answers)

There’s really no bad news, not even a single bit: the AMEB’s Series 17 is a collection that does exceptionally well in catering for the vast range of interests, urgencies and fixations of the Australian piano teaching world. David Lockett and the review team (Glenn Riddle, Jody Heald and Helen Smith) have taken a meticulous approach to delivering a series of repertoire collections that will serve the assessment process – as well as piano pedagogy – well. Let’s start with that grade-deflation question. Have we seen a shift in the goal posts of any of the grades? Is Preliminary continuing the march to Grade One standard repertoire?! Short answer – no. All the pieces are very well graded. There are some easier and some harder pieces in each grade collection, but nothing to elicit outrage or confusion. More detail from me soon in a separate post. Appropriate length? Delightfully so! Very few works that take too many pages, and none that are garrulous

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Grouch: some teaching notes from the composer

This post is woefully overdue: Grouch has been on the Trinity Guildhall Grade 3 piano syllabus since 2009 (the syllabus expires at the end of this year, 2011), and YouTube has its share of student performances from around the world! Grouch is an unusual composition in the Little Peppers series in that so much of the piece is built of a single unaccompanied line (albeit shared between the hands). This means that clarity is especially important, as is tone. With the melodic material cascading from one hand to the other students will need to give particular attention to matching the sound from one hand to the next, and be warned: this is far more challenging than matching tone from one finger to the next! An additional challenge is that the melody-sharing does not always happen in the same way: the right hand plays a D at the start of bars 1 and 2, but at bar 3 the left hand plays

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