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Grade 7 20th century recommendations (Read 2241 times)

Offline skern49

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Grade 7 20th century recommendations
« on: September 29, 2013, 06:54:09 PM »
Hi all,

I have a grade 7 student who wants to learn something dissonant, by composers such as Debussy, Schoenberg, Bartok, Webern, etc. Any ideas?


Offline j_menz

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Re: Grade 7 20th century recommendations
«Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 03:44:04 AM »
Any ideas?

If you are teaching music, and don't know anything from the last 100 or so years of it, any ideas I have are not fit to be printed in a public forum!  >:(
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline freshman48

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Re: Grade 7 20th century recommendations
«Reply #2 on: October 07, 2013, 02:39:03 AM »
This is my first posting and I think this is a great question.  It's hard sometimes to figure out what piece is at what level, plus it's always good to hear about others' favorites.  Since I'm new, I'll introduce myself:  I've taught piano for 20+ years, including my own 8 children, and now that most of my kids are raised, I am studying piano at the university as well, and loving every minute of it!  Hence, my username.

I don't know if your Grade 7 is the same as what I call Grade 7.  I refer to Jane McGrath's grading in The Pianist's Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature (an absolutely indispensable book for teachers!  If you don't have it, run right out and buy it!). 

I think it is really great to teach students dissonant 20th Century music.  It is so gratifying to play because it just drowns the ears in sound.  Kids love that. 

Here are some of my (and my students') favorites:

Tcherepnin Bagatelles, Op. 5.  No. 7 has been a huge favorite for my kids.  It's very pattern-oriented, and extremely dissonant, yet very pleasing when up to tempo.  It always blows away the audience. 

Dello Joio is fun if you want sunny, happy dissonance and unusual rhythms.  Russian Dancer from Lyric Pieces for the Young is a good one for a student with a lot of energy to express.

I haven't taught it or learned it, but I want to try Gershwin's Impromptu in Two Keys.  This was his attempt at bitonality (of course) and it's really pretty fun to listen to. 

Khatchaturian's 3-movement Sonatina 1959 is fabulous!  It's a little harder than Tcherepnin, and requires an octave stretch throughout, but it's so quick and easy to read because of obvious patterns, and yet it sounds awesome!

Kabalevsky's 30 Children's Pieces, Op. 27 is another good source.  My favorites are Novelette, with its heavy, dissonant Russian sound and Cavalry Gallop (or The Horsemen, depending on translation) which is not very dissonant but loads of fun and always a audience pleaser.  These are a little easier.

Debussy's Children's Corner is wonderful suite, but I think it's a little too hard for this level as a whole.  Jumbo's Lullaby might be good, though.

Bartok takes some getting used to, although he's wonderful, and once you learn one of his pieces, you LOVE it.  His Sonatina Sz. 55 is right for this level.

For a slow, moving piece, try Ravel's Prelude 1913.  Another is the well-known Gymnopedie No. 3 by Satie.

If you want to try a composer who is still alive, I really like Ghost Story by Alexander Peskanov.  It might be closer to a level 8, though. 

Or try a very fun piece by my friend and piano literature teacher at the university, Kevin Olson: Seven of Hearts.  It is rollicking fun because it is written in 7/8 time.  That is usually an exciting and new experience for students of this level.  7/8 time just drives and drives, like there is no breath to it.  Some kids love that feeling.  My son is currently playing Dr. Olson's Concerto Bravo.  The third movement is level 7 (the others are easier) and it is really cool if you have two pianos at your disposal.  You can see quite a few recordings of that one on YouTube.

Have fun checking all these out!  I hope one of them fits the bill.

Nancy from USU