repertoire / methods, Reviews

Review & Giveaway: Elena Cobb’s “My Piano Trip To London”

A couple of years ago, I reviewed some lovely sheet music by British teacher/composer Elena Cobb (read the review here). She is the author of the Higgledy Piggledy Jazz books, the “Blue River” book of solos, and more.

Elena has recently released a new book: a piano method called “My Piano Trip to London.”


“My Piano Trip to London” contains 40 pages.  The pieces throughout the book are based on various landmarks and themes from London.

The first piece in the book is a black-key piece to be learned by rote.

Page 5 London Calling Student

The accompanying graphics are simple and charming, providing the perfect amount of color and fun to the pages.

Page 7 Royal Guard Student

The method uses a Middle C reading approach, meaning that students learn to read on the staff from the beginning, starting with Middle C and adding new notes outward from there.  Unlike most Middle C approach methods, however, “My Piano Trip To London” does not limit the student to a hand position with the thumbs sharing C.  Instead, the fingering is left up to the teacher and student to decide together.

page 11 London Eye Student A4

Both British and American terminology are used for the rhythm values (e.g., quarter note and crotchet note) throughout the book.  Nearly every piece in the book has an teacher duet part provided on the opposite page.

page 16 Swinging Ben Teacher

Above each piece, there are graphics and comments to be used as the teacher explains new concepts.  The provided rhythm exercises use the rhythm syllables from the Kodály approach (ta’s, ti-ti’s).  There are also “Top Tips” and “Fab Facts” for students to enjoy.

page 19 Tea at Five Student A4

Occasional “quizzes” provide a way to review concepts and assess the student’s learning.

page 36 American in London Teacher

By the end of the book, students are reading a range of notes covering nearly the entire range of the grand staff, and playing basic rhythm values including both single and beamed eighth notes.

page 39 Pirate Song Student

Although I haven’t used the book with a student yet, I have the impression that the pace is rapid, yet well-sequenced.  I think this book would be a great resource especially for somewhat older beginners (I’m thinking ages 8-10), but younger or older ages should certainly not be excluded from using this book.

I’m very impressed with the pleasing layout and graphics throughout the book.  A sticker page of various London graphics is also included with the book.  The London theme will provide great interest and learning moments for the teacher and student to enjoy.

To learn more about purchasing hard copies or digital copies of “My Piano Trip to London,” please visit, where you will find extensive screenshots and audio samples.  Currently, the e-book with studio license is 50% off.

Elena has generously offered a hard copy of her book for a GIVEAWAY.  To enter, please leave a comment on this post stating what appeals to you the most about this book.  The winner will be randomly chosen on Friday, December 26, 2014 and will receive a hard copy by mail.

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24 thoughts on “Review & Giveaway: Elena Cobb’s “My Piano Trip To London””

  1. This book looks so appealing – not to busy for the eyes. It looks like a perfect fit for an older student, with enough jazzy music to keep them interested!

  2. i have been interested for quite some time in trying some of Elena Cobbs’ music. It looks great! I particularly like starting notes on the staff right off.

  3. I’ve been eyeing this book, especially since we just did a family trip to England. The book looks fabulous! I’d love to see how my children and my other students respond to it.

  4. I like the graphics 🙂 I also like that the F sharp apparently comes early in the book–all my primer level students LOVE to play on the black keys. They think it’s exciting.

  5. This series looks very appealing to the eyes, and I think the students would easily retain all the information on each page.

  6. As an adult beginner, it would be wonderful to have a book like this. Then, I can
    share it with my teacher once I’m done and show her my accomplishments!

  7. I instantly thought of one of my beginner students who is deathly terrified of playing a piece with more than two different notes in it! I don’t have many books that can satisfy this student since they usually start with a number of notes. I’m thinking this would be a great book to use with her since it progresses from just one note. This might help her overcome her fear and I know she would LOVE the London theme!
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. This book looks fabulous on so many levels. The theme looks especially appealing and I could see many students finding it motivating to work through these pieces. I also love the way theory concepts and “top tips” are included with the repertoire. Looks great!

  9. I’ve been looking into getting this book for a while. It looks like so much fun and I love to teach my students about things other than just playing piano. This is the perfect opportunity for them to learn about a new place, especially a place that I love so much!

  10. I like the idea of teaching students that a quarter is called crotchet. I didn’t know there were other names for notes and rests until I bought the Schnabel edition of the Beethoven Sonatas!

  11. I am currently teaching some 5 year olds with hands that are not quite technically developed and who need more pieces using black keys only. The usual teaching material seems to get through this phase quite quickly before moving on to white keys. Pieces with cross over arm moves on black keys not only help the student coordinate the muscle movement but also aids in recognition of the black key arrangement. I am always on the search for something new and different for my students. This book could be ideal!

  12. I love the whole British theme including the humorous pun that Tea Time begins at five “sharp.” I also like the sophisticated feeling of the jazzy accompaniments. Including both printed and audio duets allows students to practice with the accompaniment at home, then enjoy the fun of a live duet with teacher at the lesson, getting lots of miles of learning from one piece. How nice to see the Kodaly approach to rhythm which I use with my young students!

  13. I like how she leaves the fingering up to the student. This should help the student take more “ownership” of the piece.

  14. I am teaching a 5 year old and what caught my eye about this book is the black key exercises. I’ve found I need to keep repeating (and varying) exercises that help my pre-reading student find her way around a keyboard.

    I also like it that this book shows what the real written music actually looks like along with the simplified graphic. I’m sure this will benefit my young student when she starts learning notes on a staff.

    What Beverly said has been my experience as well.

  15. I like the fact that by the end of the book students are reading notes all over the grand staff and have learned 8th notes! Sometimes that is a long time coming. I would love to try this book!

  16. I love how up to date the book is (referencing hashtag!) and it seems to be well layed out: Mini quizzes, etc.. which helps the student learn but also builds confidence. In addition, I am a big fan of the duet option because my students really seem to glow after playing them with me. Thank you for the introduction to these books and the opportunity to win one!

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