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Newsletter April 2020 (2)

Dear Followers, In this publication we want to introduce you to piano books of various methods that we highly recommend. Exciting new books Get Set! Piano Tutor and Get Set! Piano Pieces by Heather Hammond and Karen Marshallmight be of interest to piano teachers and music educators who want to expand their horizons and perhaps, take different approach to teaching piano beginners. Intermediate level pianists interested in exploring different jazz styles and improvisation, might find Improvising Blues Piano and Exploring Jazz Piano books by Tim Richards, quite stimulating and educative. Any feedback on these books would be much appreciated!


Get Set! Piano is an exciting course by Heather Hammond and Karen Marshall. Over the years, experienced piano teachers Karen and Heather had noticed clear changes in the piano pupils’ needs and tastes: they are keen to progress quickly, thrive on logical teaching progression, and want to play melodies that are relevant to their world, so this series has been specially written for the 21st century child. The series consists of 4 books: Tutor Book 1, Tutor Book 2, Pieces Book 1 and Pieces Book 2. The tutor books are systematic in developing sound technique and use a wide variety of learning approaches throughout, from active games to creative and aural activities. As well as traditional tunes there are engaging new pieces in contemporary styles.

Get Set Piano Tutor Book 1 inspires, entertains and builds confidence from the start and Piano Tutor Book 2 guides learners from around the Prep Test level to Grade 1.

Get Set! Piano Pieces Book 1 follows and supplements the tried and tested progression of Piano Tutor Book 1. It includes favorites like Alice the Camel, Hot Cross Buns and We wish you a merry Christmas as well as featuring new pieces with themes like wriggly caterpillars and scary pirates. Many of the pieces have straightforward teacher duet parts to encourage ensemble playing from the start.

Get Set! Piano Pieces Book 2 works alongside Piano Tutor Book 2, guiding the learner in their journey from Prep Test to Grade 1. There’s a Teacher Guide to using the series, piano practice charts & printable certificates, scales & arpeggio resources, posters of the ‘Get Set!’ Characters, lots of additional pieces at all the various levels, longer concert versions of pieces, extra teacher parts to turn some of the pieces into duets & lots of theory quizzes.

Listen to: Fun at The Fair, Get Set Pieces Book 1 Toot Street Blues, Get Set Tutor 2 Tight Rope Show-Off, Get Set Tutor 2

About the authors

Heather Hammond Heather is an award-winning educational composer and piano teacher based in York, UK. She currently has over 100 publications (piano & woodwind) available with a variety of publishers.  She initially became popular due to her ‘Cool Piano’ series (6 books). Working in conjunction with Karen Marshall she co-authored the ‘The Intermediate Pianist’ (3 books which form part of the Faber Piano Trainer series) and the ‘Get Set! Piano’ series (4 books pub. Collins). Get Set Piano Tutor Book 1 was a finalist for the Best Print Resource at the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2014. Many of Heather’s pieces have been chosen for inclusion in exam syllabuses and for music festival performances worldwide.

Karen Marshall Karen is a practising private, peripatetic, first access and classroom music teacher in York, UK. Her 19 publications include the Piano Trainer Series (Faber Music) including The Intermediate Pianist (with Heather Hammond), The Foundation Pianist (with David Blackwell) and recently The Advanced Pianist (with Mark Tanner). She has also written the ABRSM Piano Encore Series, ABRSM Piano Star Grade 1 (with David Blackwell) and Get Set! Piano Series with Heather Hammond (Collins Music). Karen has also written a text book ‘Instrumental and Singing Teaching’ (100 Ideas) with Penny Stirling (Collins Music). Specialising in multi-sensory music teaching, she is a member of The British Dyslexia Associations’ Music Committee, the EPTA management committee as well as being Kodály trained


Published in 1997 to wide acclaim, Exploring Jazz Piano is now acknowledged as the best blues piano instruction book on the market, and has been being translated into French, German, Italian and Spanish. It received the following write-up in the world’s largest circulation blues magazine:  “I highly recommend the book… It’s the best I’ve seen yet… It’s almost like having your own personal instructor…”  BLUES REVUE magazine (USA).

The basic principles of blues piano are explained for the intermediate level pianist in an easy-to-grasp fashion.

  1. All styles from the 1920s to the present day

  2. Examples of boogie woogie, swing, jazz, funk, gospel, New Orleans & Chicago blues…

  3. Authentic left-hand patterns & bass lines

  4. Improvisation tips

  5. Professional chord voicings

  6. Blues scales, licks & riffs

  7. Fingering

  8. Co-ordination exercises for both hand

  9. Explanations of all theoretical terms

  10. Covers both solo piano and band playing

  11. Suggested listening/discography

  12. Twenty full-page photographs of blues pianists

Over 60 pieces to play, including many original compositions by the author, together with new arrangements of the following well-known standards: Ain’t No Sunshine, Back in the Alley, Bag’s Groove, Blueberry Hill, Blue Monk, C Jam Blues, Got my Mojo Workin’ and many more.Each chapter is graded within itself, providing some challenging pieces towards the end. Improvising is encouraged at all stages, with assignments giving ideas & guidance.  Schott Music ED 12504. 264 pages. Includes downloadable audio files for all pieces. RRP £27.99

The long-awaited follow-up to Improvising Blues Piano was published in 2005 in two volumes, and was voted Best Pop Publication at the 2006 MIA (Music Industry Association) awards. The overall level is somewhat higher, and would suit pianists of Grade 3-4 standard and above.

Vol 1 introduces the intermediate pianist to the basic chord-types used in jazz, from major and minor triads to seventh and ninth chords. Other topics include:

  1. Chord/scale relationships

  2. Mixolydian and Dorian modes

  3. Broken chords and scale patterns

  4. Pentatonic and blues scales

  5. Walking bass lines

  6. ‘Latin’ rhythms and bass lines

  7. Horizontal & vertical improvisation

  8. Tritone substitution

  9. Two-handed voicings

  10. II ­- V ­- I sequences

  11. Rootless voicings

  12. Technical exercises and fingering

  13. Accompaniment styles

  14. Ear-training

  15. Suggested listening

28 pieces by the author appear in Vol 1, alongside well-known standards such as Autumn Leaves, Fly Me to the Moon, In a Sentimental Mood, Mannenberg, On Green Dolphin Street (part 1), Ornithology, Song for My Father, Straight No Chaser and Take the ‘A’ Train. Also included are transcribed solos by Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver, an invaluable source of authentic jazz techniques. “There’s little that comes close in terms of practicality of approach.”Brian Priestley – JAZZWISE Magazine The package is beautifully illustrated with many full-page photographs of piano masters past and present, informative mini biographies and a comprehensive ‘suggested listening’ section. The ‘lay-flat’ binding enables the books to lie flat on the music stand. “The jazz process has been uncovered in the most comprehensive and welcoming way. Clear-cut, informative and easy to use, Tim Richards has given all comers to this music a way in – go and buy it.” Julian Joseph Schott Music ED 12708, 256 pages. Includes downloadable audio files and play-along tracks for all 39 pieces. RRP £28.99 See the Schott website for further information, including preview scans + free instructional videos linked to each book:

Tim Richards Critically acclaimed jazz pianist, educator and author who has produced numerous titles for Schott Music, including the best-selling two-volume Exploring Jazz Piano, Blues, Boogie and GospelCollection and Improvising Blues Piano. Visit his website:


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