repertoire / methods, Reviews

Review: Daniel McFarlane’s Repertoire for Students

Australian composer Daniel McFarlane has composed a number of student-level repertoire books which are available on his website.  Daniel was kind enough to send me digital copies of his books so I could review them here.

In appearance, all of Daniel’s books have easy-to-read scores with no illustrations.  The titles of each piece are in fun fonts depending on the subject of each piece.

All of Daniel’s books can be purchased in hard copies or as digital copies (be careful that you’ve selected the right one when you check-out! The digital ones clearly say “Digital Edition” in the title, and allow for one print-out of the book).  The prices for the music of Daniel’s website are in Australian dollars.  Daniel assured me that when you check-out, the conversion to your currency would be made properly.  The current rate of AUD compared to USD is about 1:1.

Soundscapes Book 1

The pieces in Sounscapes Book 1 have a pop-ish and almost rock music sound to them, while retaining elements of classical music and good educational writing for students.  The pieces feature repetitive patterns and chord progressions, catchy tunes, lyrical RH melodies, syncopated rhythms, and repeated LH notes.

I would use this book with an early intermediate student (probably no younger than age 9) who has good technique and an excellent sense of rhythm.  It could also be a great option for teenagers or adult students at that level of playing.  The pieces are very appealing in sound and would be a great option for boy students.

As you read this review, open another window and listen to the pieces here

Soundscapes Book 2

The 12 pieces in this book are longer and more advanced than Soundscapes Book 1.  Daniel gives all of his pieces exciting descriptive titles that will appeal to the student, such as Predator, Night Flyer, The Dominator, Steppin’ Out, and Light Up My Life.

The pieces require things like an octave reach, more advanced fingering stretches, more syncopation, and ledger line reading.  As in the previous book, many of the pieces sound a bit like rock pieces — but there are also some calmer “ballades” in this book too.  They are exciting and appealing pieces.

Listen to the pieces here.


The pieces in the Soundwaves book are more virtuosic and mellow than those in the Soundscape books.  Soundwaves contains a 3-movement piece called “The Lake” and a 4-movement set entitled “Lost,” and a single piece called “Monsoon.”

These pieces would make wonderful pieces for an advancing student for a recital or other performance.  I think most students would find these pieces “cool-sounding” and advanced-sounding.

Listen to the pieces here.

Supersonics Book 1

The pieces in the Soundsonics Book 1 are at an early intermediate level.

The 19 pieces in this collection are short and fun.  Many of them are in the pop/rock style, but there are other varieties too.  These are not your typical pedagogical pieces with simple tonic and dominant harmonies.  It’s wonderful to expose our student’s ears to interesting harmonies and modes as those used in Daniel’s pieces!

My favorite piece in this book is called “Coconutty.”

Listen to the pieces here.

Supersonics Book 2

The pieces in Soundsonics Book 2 are slightly more advanced than the previous book.  The book contains pieces with the same driving rhythms and pop feel as his other books, but there are also some lovely contrasting pieces such as “Lullaby” and “Reflections.”

A few of the pieces require pedaling.  There are 14 pieces in this collection.

My favorite piece in this book is called “Funky Chicken.”

Listen to the pieces here.

Supersonics Book 3

The 12 pieces in Soundsonics Book 3 are more advanced than the pieces in the previous book.  My favorite pieces in this book are Fairytale and Autumn Mood.

Another great piece is “Jingle Jangle,” which is a fun theme and variations of Jingle Bells.  I hope Daniel plans to write more Christmas arrangements in the future, because I think Jingle Jangle is a something great and very different from the typical Christmas arrangements out there!

Listen to the pieces here.

Please take a moment to check out Daniel’s website here!

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8 thoughts on “Review: Daniel McFarlane’s Repertoire for Students”

  1. Hey, it’s ‘Supersonics’ books 1 – 3, not ‘Soundsonics’ 🙂 Great review! I love these books – my boy student ADORES these books! I highly recommend them to everyone 😀

  2. Thanks for the review! I always like to find new composers that my students may like. Does Daniel have any preview images of his music on his website? I couldn’t see any. I personally would find it really helpful to be able to see what the music looks like before ordering.

  3. Love your blogs ! Thank you for sharing these interesting ideas. I have been teaching for over 20 years and love finding NEW music and ideas to keep the students interested.

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