The Hal Leonard Australia 40 Piece Challenge 2013: suggestions for getting started

In 2013 Hal Leonard Australia is running a 40 Piece Challenge. And I’m very excited by this news. The challenge is to teachers primarily – can your students each learn at least 40 new pieces in 2013?! This challenge is not a random, out-of-the-blue event. There’s a massive back-story to the development of this 40-Piece Challenge, which you can read about here. But the point of the whole exercise is to encourage students to learn, perform and experience far more music than our exam-focussed culture usually allows. And to do so in order for students to develop much better reading skills and much broader musicianship, which will lead our students to be more likely to play the piano for the rest of their lives (no matter what grade exam they make it to before they stop taking piano lessons). This post isn’t about convincing you that this challenge is a good idea – there are plenty of posts I’ve written

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The rationale behind the Getting to books

Back in January I had a great time doing a short tour (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth) with Samantha Coates (of Blitz Books fame) and Abe Cytrynowski (the inventor of the fabulous ScaleCard system). In Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth we just did a long morning session at one of the larger retailers in each city, but in Sydney Samantha hired the Music Workshop at the Sydney Conservatorium and we did a full day event, along with amazing catering and an events team that worked like clockwork. The day ended with an energetic panel discussion. We took questions from the more than 100 teachers present, and did our best to cover everything in the 45 minutes scheduled for the panel. Despite our best efforts there were still questions left unanswered, and we collectively promised we would address each question at but as it turns out many of the questions aren’t really appropriate for Sam’s theory/sight-reading/note-reading/general knowledge oriented website. So here I

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