My Favorite Sheet Music Solos for Piano Students

For our annual Spring Recital, I maintain a tradition of letting my piano students choose their own special piece to memorize and perform. In December or January, I restock my library of sheet music solos at all the various levels, so that I can demonstrate 3-4 pieces for each student to choose from.

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I’ve started to try to keep track of some of the pieces that I feel were favorites or especially successful in performance over the past few years. I think every teacher should keep track of their favorite teaching pieces! I suggest doing so using a YouTube playlist or a spreadsheet file (Excel or Google Sheets). In fact, I have started a Collaborative Repertoire List project here that you may be interested in viewing.

Today, I’d like to share with you a selection of favorite sheet music solos my students have played over the past few years. In this video, you will hear me talk about and play excerpts from 18 pieces. Below the video, you’ll find written comments for each piece as well as links for purchasing the sheet music. Enjoy!

https://www.facebook.com/ColorInMyPianoblog/videos/vb.112375485449112/1134377759915541/

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EARLY ELEMENTARY

  • 1:20 Dancing Drums, by Joyce Grill —  A lively piece in a minor key that has a catchy and interesting melody. Teacher duet.
  • 2:00 Japanese Garden, by Jennifer Linn — An expressive, pentatonic piece for beginners. Teacher duet.
  • 3:20 In My Dreams, by Jennifer Linn — This piece has an absolutely gorgeous melody. 36 measures in length. Teacher duet.

MID ELEMENTARY

  • 4:10 Reflections in the Pool, by Margaret Goldston — Not your typically elementary-sounding solo! Flowing piece with beautiful harmonies. Features LH crossovers. Students will sound mature, sophisticated, and expressive. Great for adult students. Requires legato pedaling. Key of G major.
  • fjhw91315:15 The Lady and the Dragonby Christopher Goldston — Oriental-sounding, contrasting ABA piece representing the lady and the dragon. Simple pedal work required. Makes the student sound impressive.
  • 7:00 Mist on the Lake, June C. Montgomery — A soft, mysterious piece in D minor. This expressive piece requires shifting hand positions, crossing LH over, and long pedaling (optional). A great piece for encouraging interval reading.
  • 8:10 Beautiful Dolphin, by Mary Leaf — A gorgeous piece in 3/4 time that makes the student sound advanced. The sprawling range of the melody requires the student to make frequent fingering changes and hand shifts. The melody is accompanied by simple LH countermelody or blocked intervals.

LATE ELEMENTARY

  • 156849:05 Castle Days, by Kathleen Massoud — A flowing, medieval-sounding piece in E minor. Requires legato pedaling. A great piece for encouraging interval reading.
  • 10:12 Dream Echoes, by E.L. Lancaster — An expressive, patterned-based piece that makes the student sound impressive. Two pages in length. Requires legato pedaling. Great for adult students.
  • 11:10 The Comet’s Tale, by Melody Bober — A lengthy, expressive piece in A minor. The melody is memorable. Explores the full range of the keyboard. Requires legato pedaling.
  • 12:20 Starfish, by Melody Bober — A well-composed piece with beautiful harmonies. Great piece for developing expression. Requires legato pedaling. C major.
  • 13:05 Lost Star, by Kevin Costley — A flowing yet melancholy piece featuring LH crossovers. The patterns in the piece make it easy to memorize. Requires legato pedaling.

7645357EARLY INTERMEDIATE

  • 14:00 Arabian Tale, by Martha Mier — A flowing piece in A minor and 3/4 time. The LH’s shifting pattern helps make this piece easy to memorize.
  • 14:45 Prelude Majestic, by Margaret Goldston — This stately piece in E minor features a “ground bass” — a repeating pattern in the bass accompaniment. Many different chord inversions are used throughout the piece. Requires a handspan of an octave. There are some tricky areas in this piece, but it is rewarding to play. I loved playing this solo back when I was an intermediate-level student!

MID INTERMEDIATE

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  • 16:33 A Long Goodbye, by Carolyn Miller — A beautiful, longing piece in D minor with lovely harmonies.
  • 17:23 Allegro Furioso, by W.T. Skye Garcia — A fiery, classical-sounding piece in 6/8 with a LH octave melody. Students will love the sense of drama and excitement in this piece!
  • 18:20 Tokyo Twilight, by Melody Bober — An expressive piece with an oriental influence. The B section features a murmuring sixteenth-note accompaniment under a pentatonic melody of parallel fourths.
  • 19:30 Ballade of Don Quixote, by Lynn Freeman Olson — A programmatic piece of music filled with both drama and beauty. Many tempo changes, shifts in styles, and section breaks. This piece requires great imagination, expression, and flair on the part of the performer and will make an impactful impression on the listener.

Do you have favorite sheet music solo titles to share? Please post them in the comment section below!

PG
Joy Morin is a piano teacher in northwest Ohio (United States) who enjoys keeping her teaching fresh with new ideas and resources. ColorInMyPiano.com serves as a journal of her adventures in piano teaching as well as a place to exchange ideas and resources.

Joy has blogged 1142 posts here.

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8 Comments

  1. Kerry Drombosky
    Posted 21 March 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Several of the pieces on your list are in my sheet music file- I think I better take a look and see what other treasures are in there that i haven’t taught in a while!

  2. Kirsti Evensen
    Posted 22 March 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this list! Some of these I am familiar with, but I am always looking for new music, especially for my beginners. I appreciate you taking the time to compile this list and record some excerpts, that really saves time for me!

  3. Posted 22 March 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Wonderful list–thank you! I’m saving it and will refer back often. Thank you for your great blog–I have learned a lot from reading your posts. Congratulations and best wishes with your teachers’ workshops and the grant you recently received!

  4. Posted 22 March 2016 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Great idea, Joy. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I can’t wait to check out some of these pieces I hadn’t heard of before. All the best!

  5. Linda H.
    Posted 22 March 2016 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Thank you! I have saved some of those titles for the future! :)

  6. Posted 23 March 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Great list! I love The Hunters by David Carr Glover, Staccato Caprice by Willard A. Palmer, and Midnight Rhapsody by Melody Bober.

  7. Carol DuBe
    Posted 24 March 2016 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Joy! I just watched your video and it was very informative and spurs me on to look for those pieces. Always so helpful to give suggestions. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed with the things we want to do and the things we music get done asap! :) This video was so helpful!
    Carol DuBe, NCTM Littleton, Colorado

  8. Posted 26 March 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the list, Joy. I just ordered a bucket full of them.

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