I’m excited to share with you about Piano Accents: Africa, a book that has recently come to my attention thanks to Neeki Bey, the arranger of the book. I’ve been interested in multi-cultural piano music, especially piano music with an African influence for several years. My graduate lecture recital was on Piano Music of Africa and I presented the same topic at the Texas Music Teacher’s Association Convention last summer. Neeki contacted me about his book after seeing me listed in the TMTA program, and I am so glad he did!
Africa includes ten arrangements of African folk and pop songs with the young elementary/early intermediate student in mind. The table of contents includes an approximate level for each piece in relation to standard lesson book leveling. The pieces in this book range from 2A – 4. The book also comes with an accompaniment CD that really makes you feel like you are playing with an african ensemble. The forward by Kristin Yost suggests that you listen to the CD first and the try to play it. The rhythms are tricky to read, but not so hard if you feel the rhythm first. I had a great time playing through these pieces! I appreciated that the CD includes 3 tracks for each song, starting with a slow practice tempo and working up to performance tempo. This makes the CD much more usable as students are learning the pieces, they don’t have to wait to get up to performance tempo to try and play with the accompaniment.
The diverse pieces come from all over Africa and those with lyrics include English translations. I actually recognized “Hakuna Wakaita” from the times I’ve been to East Africa and “Betelehemu” from a choral arrangement that I sang in college. These are great pieces for any student who would benefit from playing something unique and fun.
Learn more about Piano Accents here.
Neeki has kindly offered a free digital copy of his book to one lucky 4D Piano Teaching reader. For a chance to win, comment on this post by midnight on Thursday, February 6. Winners will be announced on this blog on Friday, February 7. For an extra chance to win, share our Facebook page on your own page and leave an additional comment telling us that you shared it.
Spring Seals, NCTM, teaches 60 piano students ranging from age 3 to 70 in Fort Worth, Texas. She also serves as the Director of Certification for TMTA. She is passionate about helping teachers become more effective in their studios through professional development, new resources, and fresh ideas.