Clavier Companion - July/August 2017 - 67
ing activities are interspersed throughout the method, and both writing and repertoire pages are nicely
spaced and uncluttered.
Another frequent criticism of the earlier Piano Basics
is that the largely homophonic texture of the repertoire
and the reliance on primary chords become repetitive.
New Traditions has a variety of textures, harmonies
(especially in the teacher duets), and occasional pedal
effects, especially in the earlier levels. By the latter half
of Level 2A, most of the pieces heavily employ primary
harmonies in C, F, and G, although the Bastiens also
include some pieces with more linear textures.
For many teachers, the quality of the repertoire is the
most important consideration when choosing a method. New Traditions includes numerous traditional folk
tunes, as well as original compositions, patriotic selections, and arrangements of classical themes. Most of
the music in New Traditions is different from that in Piano Basics, although the method includes a few pieces
from the earlier series.
Writing a method for today's diverse and busy student population is a daunting task, and the Bastiens
have done a commendable job of bringing the pedagogical approach and playful spirit championed by
James Bastien into a modern and technology-supported twenty-first century piano method. Teachers and
students who have enjoyed Bastien Piano Basics will
likely embrace and appreciate Bastien New Traditions.
(Kjos, $9.99 each)
(S2) Hymns for Easy
Classical Piano, arranged
by Phillip Keveren.
Finding well-written hymns for
the young student can be a challenge. Phillip Keveren's pedagogically intriguing and musically stimulating arrangements in
Hymns for Easy Classical Piano, however, are suitable
for students at a variety of musical levels. To a seasoned church musician, these arrangements are easy,
but probably not complex enough to perform in a worship service. They are, however, wonderful supplements
for late beginning or early-intermediate students.
The repertoire ranges from short to more substantial
pieces for the young pianist, including selections with
multiple key changes and mixed time signatures.
Throughout the collection, Alberti bass and right-hand
dominant melodic lines are common, and, at times,
Keveren's arrangements are reminiscent of Mozart and
Harmonically, the pieces use common chord
progressions without many extended harmonies;
in fact, the hymns provide a perfect opportunity to
reinforce the study of common chord progressions
(I-IV-V-I) in "real" music.
Keveren offers thoughtful suggestions for tempo,
articulation, and pedaling. Moreover, a teacher familiar
with church music will be able to guide a student
beyond the editorial markings.
Included in this anthology are fifteen cherished hymns,
including "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," "Nothing But
the Blood," "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name," and
"Immortal Invisible." As many churches gravitate toward
contemporary worship music, Keveren's arrangements
allow educators to teach hymns that are staples in
Christian worship across cultures and denominations.
One of my favorites in the collection is the Doxology.
When performed well, even the most discerning
listeners would not detect that the arrangement is
Keveren again delivers music that will assist teachers
in their pedagogical goals while allowing students to
use beloved tunes to express their faith in meaningful
ways. (Hal Leonard, $12.99)
(S5) Teeny Tango, by Stacy
Stacy Garrop is a rising star
among American composers.
In 2016, after sixteen years of
full-time teaching at Roosevelt
University, she stepped down
from her university position
in order to concentrate on her composing career.
Garrop's website, garrop.com, notes that her music is
"centered on dramatic and lyrical storytelling," and, in
February 2017, the Chicago College of the Performing
Arts Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of
her Mythology Suite.
Teeny Tango was inspired by a trip to Argentina, and
it is a miniature gem that lasts only one minute. It is
a tonal piece in 4/4, marked at ninety-six beats per
minute. Garrop indicates that the composition should