Summer seems to be the perfect time to shift the focus to pop and other “fun” music for piano students. It seems to always be a struggle to find good pop arrangements for my younger students but I’ve recently found some great books that I thought I’d share with you.
1.) Movie Heroes: There are four versions of this, 5-Finger Movie Heroes and Movie Heroes for Students Books 1, 2, and 3. I was so excited when I found these (and so were my students!). These are perfect for your boy students who love the Marvel comic book heroes. The 5-Finger book is very accessible for elementary students, book 1 is great for late elementary students. They are arranged by Tom Gerou and published by Alfred, and they are also very affordable. Pop books tend to be more expensive, but there are under ten dollars each.
2.) Popular Piano Solos and More Popular Piano Solos: These correspond by levels with the Hal Leonard Student Piano library, but can be a great supplement to any method book. These have a good assortment of songs, including Disney movies, cartoons, and well known popular music. Nothing brand new like Taylor Swift or One Direction, but there will at least be some songs your students will recognize.
3.) Harry Potter Magical Music: Published by Alfred, this is another one that has multiple versions for different levels of students. The 5-finger book is still a little challenging for younger students, simply because of the complexity of the music. There are lots of accidentals and challenging rhythms, even when it is reduced down to just a melody line, but for your bright student ready for a challenge it could be great. The Big-Note version is also good for early intermediate students.
4.) Best of Taylor Swift Songbook: I have so many little girls dying to play Taylor Swift songs, but don’t let them be fooled by the “Easy Piano” songbooks for sale, those are not easy! I was pleased when I saw this “Best of” beginning songbook in Hal Leonard’s recent pop catalog. Although still not an elementary level book, this early intermediate songbook is much more accessible. I also saw this 5-finger book listed, but I don’t have any personal experience with it, so I’m not sure about the difficulty.
These are just a few collections that I’ve found useful recently, and my students have really enjoyed. Are there some other great pop books that you like to use?
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.
There is also a five finger Movie Heroines also arranged by Tom Gerou. Also published by Alfred is the Famous and Fun Pop series, which is arranged by Carol Matz. The selection is not as current as the Gerou but they can be age appropriate and it is arranged in 5 levels from Early Elementary to Intermediate. I work in a music store and one of the most popular easy “pop” books right now is Contemporary Pop Hits by Wendy Stevens, published by Hal Leonard in a late elementary level. One other collection to check out for late elementary students is Current Hits for Students by Carol Matz, published by Alfred. This series comes in 3 levels: Late Elementary, Early Intermediate, and Intermediate.
Thanks for sharing Emily! I’m headed out this afternoon to check out that book by Wendy Stevens – I’m always looking for elementary level pop music that still sounds like the actual song. Can’t wait to check it out.