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How to Choose the Perfect Piano Solo

Have you been developing your piano teacher super powers? The ability to choose just the right piece of music for each student is a skill that builds up motivation and success in your studio.

This special talent takes time to develop, but I'm going to help you fast track your repertoire knowledge with this handy guide for choosing the perfect solo. 

I've organized my piano solos into some useful categories. You just need to think of the rhythm concept, reading skill or technique that your student is currently studying and match it up with an appropriate solo.

It's like building your own piano method! 

Click on any link to see previews of the music and watch the repertoire video. The sheet music solos are sold as Private Studio License digital downloads, which gives you permission to print as often as you like for your own private students. 

I compose music for my own students' needs. I wrote "Robots" to give students a fun place to practice chromatic scales. I composed "In My Dreams" to help reinforce dotted quarter notes. Since the pedagogy is so closely tied to my music, I'm sure you'll use these pieces over and over again in your daily teaching.

A Quick Guide to Choosing Piano Solos

1. Rhythm: Eighth notes

Here are some pieces for reinforcing eighth notes. Let "Freddie the Frog" introduce ti-ti tah to your young students. Or maybe you have a student who is learning "and" counting. "Angelfish" is an excellent piece to practice saying 1+2+3+4+ to the steady eighth note patterns.

 

2. Rhythm: Dotted quarter + eighth note

Students often need lots of extra practice with dotted quarter notes. "In My Dreams" was tailor-made to focus on that skill.

 

3. Rhythm: Sixteenth Notes

This group of pieces will give your students experience with counting sixteenth notes. "Can't Catch Me" is a student favorite!

 

4. Rhythm: Compound Time Signatures

Ready for 6/8 time signatures? "Little Elves and Pixies" captures the playful lilt of compound time and you can have fun teaching it with a creative blend of rote and reading.

Learn to count compound time with The Stormy Sea by Anne Crosby Gaudet

5. Reading: Focus on Accidentals

Whether your student is just learning about accidentals or needs some extra experience, these pieces will challenge your students to read sharps, flats and naturals with care.

 

6. Reading: Focus on Intervals

The interval of a 5th is very important in establishing good hand shape. These pieces use plenty of 5ths and also give students the opportunity to study and recognize other intervals as part of the reading strategy.

 

7. Technique: Focus on Pedaling

I picked out the pieces where pedalling is a main feature. The first pieces are the easiest, working up to more advanced pedaling. My students love looking inside the piano to discover how the dampers work when the pedal is used.

 

8. Technique: Focus on Articulation

These are the pieces that need great articulation. Light staccatos and 2-note slurs will bring these pieces to life.

 

9. Technique: Focus on Balance

Learning to play one hand louder that the other is a special technique. These are the pieces that give you the platform to talk about balance.

 

10. Technique: Using the whole keyboard

Pattern pieces that explore the full range of the piano has been a key ingredient in my piano compositions for years. I have a wide variety of music that features hands crossing and changing ranges. The result is music that sounds full and impressive. 

 

11. Technique: Common Patterns

I love to reinforce technique within a fun piano solo. These pieces will help you tie together theory, technique and performance.

 

12. Fun to Teach by Rote

I love using a creative blend of rote and reading in my teaching. Here are some of my favorites to teach mostly by rote.

 

13. Pieces that use Modes

Are you interested in exploring modes with your students? Don't forget to check out the Emoji Modes workbook and then reinforce the concepts with any of these pieces.

Piano solos by Anne Crosby Gaudet that use modes

 

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