New in Piano Adventures: 2nd Edition & Teacher’s Guide
August 30, 2011

It’s been eighteen years since Nancy and Randall Faber first published their Piano Adventure Piano Method books.  No wonder they are testing the waters with a 2nd edition of the Primer and Level 1 books!

There are 6 new features:

  • The lessons taught in the theory books are more closely tied into the material in the lesson books.
  • There are now improvisation exercises in the theory books, based on the 5-finger scales.
  • The Primer has an enhanced “reading strategy” for learning bass notes;  Level 1 starts with a review of notes from “My First Piano Adventures”, effectively bridging the gap between these two books.
  • The Lesson books now start with a progress chart, which helps teachers develop a lesson plan, and details the corelations between the 4 core books:  Lesson, Theory, Technique & Ear-Training and Performance.
  • The Lesson books feature new pieces, and incorporate new “musical twists” which help students apply “technique secrets” to their piano playing.
  • At the end of the Level 1 Lesson Book, there is now a “challenge section”, which previews more 5-finger scale patterns.  This offers the teacher (and student!) opportunities in transposition with pieces already learned.

There is also a newly released Sight Reading Book in the Primer Level!  (Get ‘em while they’re young!)


Also new to the Piano Adventures Series, is the Primer Level Teacher Guide.  This hard-cover book is a great pedagogical aid, and tackles each piece in the Lesson Book with organizational headings such as

  • what’s new (introducing what the piece is teaching)
  • what’s important (what the focus of the lesson should be)
  • let’s get started (basic preparations)
  • explore & create (exercises both at the keyboard and away from the keyboard, exploring tricky aspects of each piece)
  • partner pages (parallel exercises in the other primer level books)
  • pedagogy pointers (suggestions for the teacher)
  • see it in action (Watch Nancy Faber with her students on the DVD!)

There are also some helpful tools in the Appendix pages of the book:

  • Teacher Duets for each piece in the Lesson Book
  • A concise “Cross-Reference Chart” which allows the teacher to see at a glance, unit by unit,  how the Lesson, Theory, Techcnique, Performance and Sightreading books work together.
  • An index of the songs by theme – action songs, animal songs, dances & marches, silly songs, etc.


Piano Teachers, have you worked with the 2nd Edition books?  Would you like to give feedback directly to the Fabers?  You can do so here!

If you haven’t yet seen these new editions, The Leading Note now stocks the 2nd Edition.

The original editions will still be available from our distributor, and can be special ordered from us.


Piano teachers, take note: New RCM Popular Selection List
August 26, 2011

RCM has updated the Popular Selection List that supplements the Piano Syllabus, 2008.  The latest edition from 2009 can still be found online but is now out of date!  The 2011 List can be purchased for $12.95.  We have several copies in stock.

More about Oxford’s For Choirs Series
August 25, 2011

Oxford University Press first released Carols for Choirs in 1961.  The landmark publication was an immediate success and has since been followed by four sequels plus the larger collection 100 Carols for Choirs.  Most of the collections are for SATB choirs, but Carols for Choirs 3 is exclusively for treble choirs. There are also two volumes of World Carols for Choirs.

This year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the series, the English publisher has released a new collection titled Carols for Choirs 5.  We have a sample in our store with excerpts from the collection that you are welcome to peruse.  You can read more about this collection in this post.

In addition to the carol books, Oxford also has many other titles in the For Choirs series.  These include four volumes of Anthems for Choirs (two of which are specifically for treble choirs) that include material suitable for different times of the year.  Oxford also publishes a series of books dedicated to specific liturgical seasons:

Advent for Choirs contains a wide selection of material, including the Advent Prose and O Antiphons, appropriate to the unique spiritual themes of this season and help to distinguish it from the looming arrival of Christmas.

Ash Wednesday to Easter for Choirs gathers together music specific to the lengthy season of Lent.  It also includes material specific to each of the holy days in Passiontide and 16 titles for the Easter season.

Epiphany to All Saints for Choirs is a useful resource for Ordinary Time, Pentecost, Ascension, and the assorted themes that fall between Christmas and Lent (see below).

Weddings for Choirs is exactly what you expect: a collection of music appropriate for use in marriages.  The collection gives suggestions for what music is appropriate for different moments in the ceremony.  As choral weddings become more rare, books like this will be useful to create ceremonies that avoid the same-old standards.

These collections are especially useful because they group music by theme and provide scriptural references, liturgical plans for special services, and substantial commentary on the themes unique to the appropriate liturgical season.  These resources help give a more thorough and better understanding of the particular requirements for choosing music appropriate to the season.  It also means choir members no longer need to carry half-a-dozen books in any given service because each collection only contains a single piece appropriate for the time of year!

Epiphany to All Saints for Choirs, to use it as an example, contains six anthems specifically intended for Ascension Sunday and describes the scriptural sources on which this celebration is based (Acts 1:1-9) and describes its history and significance in the liturgical calendar.   The same collection also includes eleven anthems for Pentecost, six for Trinity Sunday, and many others.

These four collections from Oxford are a fantastic resource and are certainly worth a look from all directors of SATB church choirs. The latest volume in Oxford’s growing “For Choirs” series features sacred music by Russian composers:

Although most collections in Oxford’s “For Choirs” series contain sacred music, four volumes of folk-songs will appeal to concert and community choirs:

Carols for Choirs 5: 50th Anniversary Edition
August 18, 2011

In 1961, Oxford University Press released the first edition of Carols for Choirs. Compiled and Edited by Reginald Jacques and David Willcocks, this book transformed the Christmas season for church choirs and concert choirs alike. The publication made available both practical arrangements of popular Christmas carols for amateur choirs and challenging new repertoire for more professional groups. The book also helped to popularize the service of Nine Lessons and Carols made famous by King’s College, Cambridge.

Since the original publication, three subsequent collections compiled and edited by David Willcocks and John Rutter have become standard issues for choirs around the world. Many of David Willcocks’ descants and John Rutter’s arrangements are not part of the standard canon of Christmas music.  Carols for Choirs 2 included a wide selection of material for Advent, a season rich in spiritual allegory in its own right but often overshaddowed by the looming arrival of Christmas.  Carols for Choirs 4 offered a much-needed collection of repertoire for upper voices, while Carols for Choirs 3 and the later 100 Carols for Choirs expanded the repertoire significantly.  The scope of the series was made more global by the publication of two volumes titled World Carols for Choirs.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Carols for Choirs series, Oxford University Press has published a brand new collection, Carols for Choirs 5.  The editorial duties have been passed on to the next generation of English Organist-Composers, Bob Chilcott and David Blackwell.  The main strength of this new volume is its focus on new carols by living composers.  Forty of the fifty carols included in the collection are newly composed in recent years.  Many of these are new settings of familiar texts.  The collection includes Matthew Owens’ setting of The Holly and the Ivy and two settings of There Is No Rose by Alan Smith and Howard Skempton.  Andrew Simpson’s setting of I Saw Three Ships uses a curious new translation of the traditional text.

Added to these are ten favourites, often with new arrangements or harmonizations.  Among these are Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, arranged by David Blackwell, and a rhythmic setting of Ding dong! Merrily on High by Mack Wilberg.

Many of the carols are suitable for a cappella performance while orchestral parts are available for about half of the collection making these pieces suitable for concert performance. An edition with spiral-binding is also available for conductors and accompanists.

Introducing The Unpopular Music Sale!
August 3, 2011

Now’s your chance to get that music you never thought you wanted!  Introducing The Leading Note’s Unpopular Music Sale: starting in August we will be offering hundreds of books for half price.  I said 50% off!  What books, you ask?  Well, how do I say…er…yes, it’s the stuff that doesn’t sell often…the books that have been sitting on our shelves for a few years.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t filled with great music!  No, indeed, you probably never noticed they were there and never discovered that you wanted them!

How about Four Pieces for Polish Fiddle by Anton Webern or William Bolcom’s Monsterpieces for piano?  You can get Dave Brubeck’s Reminiscences of the Cattle Country or the Deluxe Performance Edition of Arthur de Lulli’s Chopsticks.  Other more serious repertoire include the Grande sonate in sol majeur by Tchaikovsky or the fancy Bärenreiter edition of Telemann’s Violin Concertos.

Sale selections currently include:

  • 56 selections from our solo piano repertoire
  • 57 piano methods
  • 49 violin and piano pieces
  • 19 violin methods
  • 10 violin collections

Now is your chance to own music your friends don’t have at fantastically reduced prices.