I had a lot of young beginners in my studio this year, so as Spring Recitals began approaching I went on the search for some solos that would be accessible for the little ones but impressive for the recital. After inquiring about pre-reading solos in the Facebook forum Piano Teacher Central, I ordered Black Key Blast by Wendy Stevens.
I was very impressed with this book, the songs have good variety in sound and are very appealing to young students. Just a warning, if you let them pick, the girls will most likely choose “I Am The Princess” and the boys will pick “Ninja Power” (also my two favorite pieces in the book), so you may need to direct them to other choices if you don’t want a lot of repeats on the recital. “Movin’ and Groovin'” is another one of my favorites. These pieces are definitely more challenging than most method book pre-reading songs, but if you start on them early enough they are do-able. They also include some rests and note values that students at this level of study may have not learned yet. I didn’t have any trouble with students catching on though. The teacher duets sound great on all of the pieces, but they are a little more complex and students may require a few extra weeks of practice with the duet so they can get used to how it sounds. These pieces are really “audience pleasers” at the recital and worth the extra work to prepare!
If you have young beginners needing an impressive recital piece, or you just want some extra supplemental pre-reading pieces, I would definitely recommend Black Key Blast by Wendy Stevens. It is published by Willis Music and distributed by Hal Leonard.
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.