Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 51

across a fairly large area of the keyboard. The piece ends with a slow chord progression and a glissando to a low C. Although this solo is three pages long, the melodic and harmonic material is similar throughout, with variations in register or accompaniment. Students at this level would thus have an easy time learning the piece, and Midtown Jam would be great for recitals or festivals. (Alfred, $2.99) L.Z. (S2-3) Alfred’s Premier Piano Course: Pop and Movie Hits, Books 2A and 2B by Dennis Alexander, Gayle Kowalchyk, E.L. Lancaster, Victoria McArthur, and Martha Mier. Popular songs, like new cars, quickly depreciate in value and can make pop books seem dated after a short time. When I first looked at these Alfred books, I felt that many of the older selections might not be appealing to young students. However, after polling a few of my own students, I had to change my opinion. Because the students were not even born when The Little Mermaid and Aladdin were released, they did not know the included songs from those movies. And, of course, they also did not know 1960s tunes such as “It’s My Party.” But they were very excited about the themes from Star Wars, The Pink Panther, and Harry Potter, and one student exclaimed emphatically about the theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark, “I want to play that song!” I ended up buying both books for my enthusiastic students. Part of the Alfred Premier Piano Method series, these arrangements with teacher accompaniments are well written. On the other hand, many of the complicated rhythms have been simplified, a fact which at times confuses students: their ears tell them to play rhythms from the original score that differ from what their eyes see on the page. Teachers can allow students to play the rhythms by ear rather than insisting on the printed rhythms, as the simplified rhythms are not as satisfying as the originals. The books are a great addition to the Alfred Premier lesson books and would be useful for an average-age beginner or for teenage or adult beginners. (Alfred, $6.99 each) J.K. (S2-3) Gershwin for Students, Books 1-3 arranged by Carol Matz. The songs of George and Ira Gershwin are so remarkably pervasive in the music
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012

that they ’ve world spawned at least one good joke: Q: How many singers does it take to sing “Summertime”? A: All of them, apparently. Thanks to Carol Matz’s new three-book series, Gershwin for Students, seventeen Gershwin classics are now available to students who are in the earlier stages of their pianistic training. In fact, each book contains a version of not only the omnipresent “Summertime,” but also an arrangement of themes from the must-know classic (and United Airlines signature advertising music) Rhapsody in Blue. Besides these two essentials, each book contains a pleasant mix of popular selections such as “I Got Rhythm,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” and “Swanee,” along with concert-style pieces including “Three-Quarter Blues,” “Promenade,” and the collection’s clear standout, the second Prelude (found in Book 3). Ira Gershwin’s lyrics—which, as Gershwin fans know, are as essential to the songs as George’s music—are always clearly represented, and the books are generally attractive and complete, with lots of fingering, pedal, and dynamic markings. Unfortunately, in general, the collection doesn’t capture the Gershwin charm. Because of the parallelism of the composer’s rhythmic aesthetic, many of the works sound singsongy without the benefit of rich harmonies, interesting syncopation, or the variety of a sung lyric. With complete sympathy for the enormous limitations under which Ms. Matz created these arrangements, there are too many doublings and too little rhythmic variety to hint at the elegance and taste that one expects from Gershwin; the songs are— somehow—missing their substance. In addition, although the three arrangements of Rhapsody in Blue are well done and playable for their respective levels, they move very quickly through the themes and end without recapitulation, a move that I found sorely disappointing each time I played them through. For these reasons, I would recommend the book primarily for adult beginners who already know and love these tunes and for those students who desperately want to play Rhapsody in Blue but may never get to the real thing. (Alfred, $6.99 each) J.S.

Guide to new music reviews
Grade levels
1 Beginning: five-finger patterns and simple rhythms 2 Easy: scales and simple syncopation 3 Intermediate: beginning counterpoint and complex rhythms (Bach notebooks, Bartók Mikrokosmos I-II) 4 Late intermediate: technical and rhythmic sophistication (Bach inventions, Bartók Romanian Folk Dances) 5 Difficult: for competent pianists (Mozart sonatas, Brahms Rhapsody, Op. 79, No. 2) 6 Very difficult: for advanced pianists (Chopin etudes, Beethoven Sonata, Op. 57)

Categories
S-Solo, E-Ensemble

Quality rating
Reviewer’s Choice: music that may become part of the standard repertoire Check-rated : repertoire that is highly recommended

Jeremy Siskind has performed at many of the world's foremost venues, including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. As a composer, Siskind has been honored by ASCAP and Downbeat. Siskind received his bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music and just completed his master's degree in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Krista Wallace-Boaz holds a D.M. in piano performance and pedagogy from Northwestern University and teaches class piano and pedagogy at the University of Louisville. Lynette Zelis is the owner of Noteable Notes Music Studio in Wheaton, Illinois, where she teaches private and group piano lessons and maintains studios for nine other teachers. She was one of only five teachers in the country to win the 2001 Group Piano Teachers Award from the MTNA and the National Piano Foundation.

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Clavier Companion - January/February 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clavier Companion - January/February 2012

Clavier Companion - January/February 2012
Contents
Editor's Page: New discoveries
Variations: Tackling a twelve-year old's slump
Musings: Creative being and the disciplined life
An interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
The story of music on board the RMS Titanic
The enchanted world of piano fairy tales
Jazz & Pop: The rhythms of jazz: Syncopation
Music Reading: Recipes for effective teaching
Perspectives: Coping with burnout
Technology: Virtual reality in the piano studio
Tech Tips
First Looks: What Music Means To Me
New music reviews
CD & DVD reviews
News & Notes
Pupil Saver
Keyboard Kids' Companion
Advertiser Index
Questions & Answers
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Clavier Companion - January/February 2012
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover2
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Contents
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 2
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 3
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Editor's Page: New discoveries
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 5
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Variations: Tackling a twelve-year old's slump
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 7
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Musings: Creative being and the disciplined life
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 9
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - An interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 11
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 12
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 13
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 14
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 15
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 16
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 17
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - The story of music on board the RMS Titanic
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 19
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 20
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 21
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 22
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 23
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 24
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 25
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 26
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 27
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 28
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 29
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - The enchanted world of piano fairy tales
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 31
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 32
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 33
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 34
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 35
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Jazz & Pop: The rhythms of jazz: Syncopation
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 37
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Music Reading: Recipes for effective teaching
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 39
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 40
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 41
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Perspectives: Coping with burnout
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 43
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 44
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 45
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Technology: Virtual reality in the piano studio
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Tech Tips
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 48
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 49
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - New music reviews
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 51
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 52
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 53
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - CD & DVD reviews
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 55
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - News & Notes
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Pupil Saver
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 58
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 59
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Keyboard Kids' Companion
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 61
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Advertiser Index
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 63
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Questions & Answers
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover3
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover4
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