HomePractical AdviceBuying GuidesMarch Special: Karen Marshall's Music Room Top Picks

March Special: Karen Marshall’s Music Room Top Picks

It was wonderful to see so many teachers at the Casio Grand Hybrid Teacher Development Day and the Music Education Expo in February. Thank you to everyone who introduced themselves to me, it’s always inspiring for me to be with my people! I learn so much from others even when I am running the session. Teachers are so creative and such brilliant problem solvers, and my teaching always improves after I’ve attended such events. What have I been using that I’ve really enjoyed lately? Here are the top picks from my “Music Room”, my Music Cabin. Everything I am featuring here I am currently using with my own students. 

Piano Grades are Go! – Initial to Grade 1
Piano Grades are Go! by Victoria Proudler

Piano Grades are Go! – Initial to Grade 1 – by Victoria Proudler

I have been using the Initial to Grade 1 book with some students who are really loving this collection. All with their super skill, many of the pieces are packed with patterns and are easy and quick to learn. There’s much empathy in Victoria Proudler’s writing for a developing young pianist. There are 10 pieces at Initial level and then 10 pieces at Grade 1. My post Grade 1 student is managing one a week. What I love about it is, it is promoting her natural musicality, her expressive playing is developing wonderfully. Do also have a look at her next book Grade 2 -3.

Grade 5 Music Theory Practice Papers
Grade 5 Music Theory Practice Papers Vol. 1 & 2 by Ben Andrew

Grade 5 Music Theory Practice Papers Volume 1 and 2 by Ben Andrew

For a teacher who likes to do between 8 to 12 past papers, these really are a useful find. With the new style ABRSM theory, this is a welcome addition to my music shelves. With 6 papers per book (suitable for both ABRSM and Trinity Grade 5 music exams) the questions are well thought through, clear to understand and broken into categories Rhythm and Pitch, Keys and Scales, Intervals and Transposition, chords and cadences, musical nuts and bolts and theory in action. Answer papers are available for free with use of an online access code. Do check them out!

My Lyrical Notebook
My Lyrical Notebook by Angeline Bell

My Lyrical Notebook by Angelina Bell

I thought the best way to review this book was to give it to my student Isabel, 17 years, apologies for the proud teacher moment. She’s just got a distinction in her Grade 7 whilst also doing her A levels! Very sharp as well as musical, Isabel is really great at giving books a realistic critique! This book got a big thumbs up from Isabel.  She says: “What I like the most was the variety, interesting musical ideas, different and creative use of styles and techniques. I had a truly lovely time enjoying these pieces and the vast sound world they create.” Spanning approximately Grade 4 – 7, for teaching material, they do provide an array of several flat keys which is most welcome, along with cream paper (easier for students to read from) and a beautiful overall presentation of a high-quality book.

Do also check out her easier My Quirky Notebook. It’s equally lovely.

The Intermediate Piano Sonata Collection
The Intermediate Piano Sonata Collection

The Intermediate Piano Sonata Collection

Edited, written and compiled by Karen Marshall with audio performed by Sean Greenheld, Faber Music.

I will be talking more about this in another blog post but launching on March 29th (Play Piano Day!) this book has been my latest labour of love. I’ve worried for years that students haven’t played enough complete Piano Sonatas, so this is my answer to it. Nine complete Sonatas, graded 4-6 level by Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart and Schumann with Anna Bon a wonderful female composer who deserves to have a light shone upon her! With adding background information, theory and musical knowledge activities at the back of the book, and wonderful audio by young pianist Sean Greenheld, it’s been written with huge care to work as a wonderful new resource to piano teachers, their students and adult amateurs a like. This book brings the Piano Sonata back to the masses, I am so thrilled Faber Music have published it for me (and so beautifully)!

Be sure to check out Karen Marshall’s other blog posts on all sorts of topics like Christmas Crackers, music lessons, ABBA and more!

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