This post features an interview with Dror Perl, composer of the “Red,” “Purple,” and “Blue” book that were reviewed in this post.
I’ve been playing the piano since the age of 5 . I acquired my first music degree in Israel at Rimon school of Music. Later my curiosity and love for Jazz brought me to NY where I started taking lessons with the legendary Barry Harris at his workshop. I really enjoy the concerts and rich music scene that NY has to offer. In 2002, I continued my studies at ESC SUNY. I’ve been a professional musician and lived in NY ever since and have been traveling often overseas.
What inspired you to compose the pieces in the Red, Blue, and Purple books?
I wrote the music in this series for my students out of the need for music that would help teach chords and harmony, improve sight reading, and refine technique, yet still be fun and interesting for them and me. My aim was to create music that would keep my students excited about piano and that would help our lessons become richer. I think that a lot of beginner-intermediate pianists have the ability to play a lot more than what their reading skills allow them to. These books help answer that need. The pieces sound complicated, and contain certain technical challenges but are fairly easy to read. Moreover, students can pretty easily memorize pieces dues to repetitions of motives, and sections. That then allows them to play music by heart that sounds a lot more complicated and complex than what they will normally play at beginner-intermediate books and therefore get excited, feel rewarded and take pride in the music that they’re playing. One great advantage that I’ve had as an active teacher was to try this compositions with my students during the writing process and to incorporate their feedback into the final version.
Can you explain the difference between the Red, Blue, and Purple books?
I like to group Red and Purple together. The main different between them is the level, Purple is a little easier and therefore comes first. Both books contains colorful, contemporary, fun compositions (Jazz, Blues, Funk) for young piano students of all ages. Blue is different in style. The pace and the music are clearly blue. Beginner pianists can play and enjoy this slow and simple music, while for experienced pianists it has the depth, harmonic interest, and another level of challenge as well. Experienced pianists can use Blue as a piano meditation, to help work on sound and find their focus. I’m passionate about and love to play this compositions, and yet some of my youngest students plays and enjoy this music as well.
What level pianists are your books intended for?
The books aim at beginner pianists and up. The Music consists mainly of quarter and eighth notes. Purple is intended for advanced beginners (Pianists with basic reading skills) Red for early intermediates (technically a little more advanced than Purple and contain some rhythmic and coordination challenges), and Blue, as mentioned above, for all level pianists.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I worked closely with a great NY designer (and with my beautiful Mary) on the design of these book series so that the books not only sounded different, but that they looked different too. In my website, SheerPiano.com, you can find a lot more info about the books, and download, view and listen to samples. Also available on the website, duet parts for these compositions for many instruments (flute, trumpet, violin, sax, etc) so if you are playing already the music from the books and have a family member or a friend that plays a different instrument you can play this pieces together and have twice as much fun. Moreover, these days I’m working on creating the playbacks for Blue. I’m recording a live unique playback with my contemporary Jazz Trio (acoustic drums & double bass) that pianists will be able to play along with this compositions…which I think can be by far more fun and interesting than playing with a metronome. Last, for those who browsed already through the blue book, I can confirm…yes I really live in a blue house !
Thanks, Dror! Readers – be sure to visit SheerPiano.com to learn more about Dror’s books!