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The West Music Blog presents articles, press releases and other information of interest to our local and worldwide customers.

Blogs by Nick Janssen

Piano Gallery News - New Sheet Music Additions
By Nick Janssen
6/24/2013 9:47:00 AM  

Praise Hits Piano Level 1The Sound of MusicFor those of you who have relied on Alfred’s Basic Piano Library over the past 30 years, you may have noticed that there haven’t been

As the popularity of folk and Irish music continues to grow, more and more publishers are coming out with great collections of these genres for a variety of non-traditional instruments. One collection is Schott Music’s new release The Irish Piano Book. While the piano isn’t normally associated with traditional Irish music, these 20 arrangements for easy piano will bring a smile to your face with fun jigs like “Tripping up the Stairs” and “Blarney Pilgrim.” any new additions to the method for quite some time. You can stop holding your breath because the first two levels of ABPL Praise Hits are now available! Levels 1A and 1B offer classic praise hits arranged by well-respected Alfred authors Gayle Kowalchyk, E. L. Lancaster and Tom Gerou. These accessible arrangements for just-beginning pianists include “Because He Lives” and “Here I Am to Worship” in level 1A, and “Shout to the Lord” and “You Are My All in All” in level 1B.

Traveling from the green hills of Ireland to the Swiss Alps of Austria you’ll find Phillip Keveren—or at least his new collection of 13 piano solos from The Sound of Music. This soon-to-be-released addition to Hal Leonard’s The Phillip Keveren Series contains all your favorite songs from one of the greatest musical/movies ever created. So pop some popcorn, grab a tall 

soda, lower the lights and play away.

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Tags: nick janssen, west music pianos, alfred's basic piano library, the sound of music, praise hits 1a
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May Piano Gallery News
By Nick Janssen
4/22/2013 11:21:00 AM  

Essential Elements Piano TheorySummer break is soon upon us and for many students that also means an extended break from piano lessons. It can be a challenge to retain
a year’s worth of theory without regularly scheduled lessons, especially when the answer to every exercise has already been scribbled in the book. A great tool for keeping this knowledge fresh is by supplementing summer homework with Hal Leonard’s new series Essential Elements Piano Theory. Whether using it alongside another method or as a standalone for teachers who customize their lesson plans, the series helps students learn and reinforce fundamental theoretical concepts—such as ear training, mastery eading, and analysis—through a clear and thorough presentation. Furthermore, the age-neutral layout and in rhythm, symbols, rcreative and fun approach makes this series the perfect fit for both child and adult students.

Complete Collection of Piano Solos for WeddingsPop Quiz: Besides the beginning of summer break, what else happens in June? Weddings! For pianists who have been asked to play at one of
the more than 230,000 June weddings that will take place in the United States this year, there is a great book by Jan Sanborn now available from Alfred Music Publishing. Wedding Performer: Complete Collection of Piano Solos for Weddings contains 44 arrangements of piano solos that are regularly requested for ceremonies and receptions. This comprehensive collection includes standard masterworks and Christian favorites ideal for preludes, processionals, interludes and recessionals, plus a number of popular and standard ballads. At 192 pages, this is a great go-to book for early advanced pianists as well as a resource for advanced pianists who find their set list inexplicably changing at the last minute.

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Tags: piano music, piano sheet music, Essential Elements, piano theory, Wedding Performer, piano solos, piano solos for weddings
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April Piano Gallery News
By Nick Janssen
3/25/2013 11:12:00 AM  

Spring is here! After several months of cold wintery weather it’s time to put our spring plans into action—cleaning, gardening, road trips and picnics—just to name a few. But with all of these outdoor activities is there still time to play the piano? Several newly published sheet solos are now available, which are perfect for condensed practice sessions.

Midnight OwlRandall Hartsell has written two late elementary solos, both available from Hal Leonard. Midnight Owl takes you only where dreams can—watching an owl swing dance in the middle of the night. Accidentally on Purpose stays true to its title by throwing in a few accidentals to this cheerful, snappy piece in the key of F major.

An American Sonatina

FJH has come out with three new pieces for intermediate soloists. The first, Timothy Brown’s suite An American Sonatina,
 evokes three scenes from America’s frontier: Roundup, Ghost Town Blues, and City Scenes. Covering a variety of musical styles, this American experience is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Kevin Olson’s Front Range for late intermediate soloists utilizes several musical concepts including pulsing sixteenth notes in the left hand and a 3/8 time signature to create a musical image of the Rock Mountains majesty and grandeur. Also by Olson is another late intermediate solo titled Northern Lights. Appropriately written as a toccata, this piece is artfully composed to represent the extraordinary beauty of the aurora borealis through modulating keys and multiple time signatures.

Lastly, G. Schirmer has just published a wonderful selection of short works by Edvard Grieg titled Grieg Selected Lyric PiecesSelected Lyric Pieces. Edited by the internationally acclaimed educator and performer William Westney, this book and CD edition contains 18 favorites that have been selected for their quality, variety and pedagogical value. Westney offers insightful suggestions, pertinent fingering, and historical and stylistic commentary making this edition an invaluable source not only for students and teachers but professional pianists as well.

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Tags: piano music, piano sheet music, Midnight Owl, Accidentally on Purpose, An American Sonatina, Front Range, Northern Lights, Selected Lyric Pieces, Edvard Grieg, late elementary solos, intermediate solos, late intermediate solos
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March Piano Gallery News
By Nick Janssen
3/7/2013 4:52:00 PM  

Well, with last month's weather it’s a bit difficult to side with Punxsutawney Phil’s prognostication of an early spring. All the same, I think I’ll keep the thermostat up, a cup of hot tea by my side and enjoy a little more time indoors at the piano.

If you’re feeling the same way and need a new book or two to keep you going for this last winter stretch, here are a few options that may interest you.

Hal Leonard has recently released the perfect winter sheet solo for us Iowans. Flight of Freedom Flight of Freedomby Glenda Austin was inspired by watching a family of bald eagles make their home in Iowa during the winter months through live streaming video. Using rich ascending arpeggios and motifs, Austin creates a great piece in the key of D major for mid-intermediate players.

For those of you who can never decide between the classical and rock stations on your FM dial, Bach 'n' Rollyou can now enjoy both at the same time! Bach ‘n’ Roll by Cherry Lane contains 20 challenging arrangements of contemporary pop classics as if composed by your favorite classical masters. Have you ever pondered what it would be like to put Freddie Mercury and Beethoven in a room, or Ravel, Lennon and McCartney? This book is a great way to unwind after a couple hours in the practice room.

If you’re looking for something a little more uplifting, you may enjoy two new advanced Sacred Performer books by Alfred Music Publishing. Mary K. Sallee has arranged eight medleys of timeless hymns that are available in Inspirational Hymn Medleys. Carefully chosen based on shared themes or texts, each piece is the right length for preludes and postludes. Also available is Our Great God, which contains 11 hymn arrangements by Rebecca Moore, a new addition to Alfred’s Sacred Performer lineup.

Whatever book ends up on your piano, enjoy the music you're making!


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Tags: piano music, Flight of Freedom, classical music, rock music, Bach n Roll, Inspirational Hymn Medleys, Our Great God, sacred music,
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February Piano Gallery News
By Nick Janssen
2/1/2013 3:41:00 PM  

With the winter holidays behind us, students are now back in school and beginning piano lessons again. Many are getting ready for the next level in their methods, so why not reinforce and strengthen their studies with two new supplements available from Hal Leonard and Alfred Music Publishing. The first is the Faber Piano Adventures Sight Reading Book 2A by Nancy and Randall Faber. Structured as a one-a-day exercise, students will build confidence in sight reading recognition of individual notes, and perception of note patterns, both rhythmic and melodic.

Also available is Alfred’s Premier Piano Course: Technique Book 4. A continuation of levels 1A–3, this book expands the student’s understanding of concepts such as staccato and legato, movement between white and black keys, and opening the hands. Also included are Artistic Etudes that showcase technique in a musical setting and Masterwork Etudes that provide training for playing standard masterworks.

For those of you who enjoy the sounds of 1920s novelty songs like “Kitten on the Keys” and “Dizzy Fingers,” Zez Confrey at the Pianoyou’re in luck! Alfred Music Publishing has released a collection of Zez Confrey’s works that not only includes these hits, but many titles that have been out of print for decades until now. Zez Confrey at the Piano is great book for advanced pianists who enjoy the syncopated rhythms of a bygone era.

Oh, and can we forget Valentine’s Day? If you’re a fan of the movie adaption of the musical Les Misérables, Les Misyou can now buy the Easy Piano version that includes 16 song selections as well as notes from the composers and full-color stills from the film. Also included for the first time is the newly composed song “Suddenly,” which was written by Schönberg, Boublil and Kretzmer specifically for this blockbuster.


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Tags: piano music, piano method, Faber Piano Adventures Sight Reading Book 2A, Alfred's Premier Piano Course Technique Book 4, 1920s music, Zez Confrey at the Piano, Zez Confrey, Valentine's Day, Les Mis, Les Miserables
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January Piano Gallery News
By Nick Janssen
1/4/2013 3:52:00 PM  

For those of you who are fans of Jennifer Linn’s Journey Through the Classics series by Hal Leonard, you can now purchase the complete set Journey Through the Classicsof 98 pieces in one convenient compilation aptly titled Journey Through the Classics Complete. Books 1–4 have been combined in sequential order to provide a seamless transition from elementary to intermediate level classical repertoire. The well-rounded selection of works along with the collection’s tasteful design and excellent price make this an essential addition for any beginning pianist’s library.

Also of particular note is the recent passing of jazz legend Dave Brubeck, having lived just one day shy of his 92nd birthday. Simply BrubeckDuring his lifetime he created many timeless standards that continue to shape the generations of jazz musicians who follow him. While there haven’t been any recent releases of Brubeck’s music for solo piano, one older title sticks out as a great introduction to his works. Alfred Music Publishing’s Simply Brubeck, arranged by Bruce Nelson, offers 26 selections of the composer’s vast library of jazz standards in an easy-to-read format that includes phrase markings, articulations, fingering and dynamics, as well as a larger print size. Perfect for the Late Intermediate pianist looking for accessible arrangements of one of the century’s greatest artists.

The next time you stop by West Music, be sure to ask one of our associates to pull a copy of Journey Through the Classics Complete and Simply Brubeck.


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Tags: piano music, Jennifer Linn, Journey Through the Classics Complete, Dave Brubeck, Simply Brubeck
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December Piano Gallery News
By Nick Janssen
12/7/2012 3:39:00 PM  

Happy Holidays from your West Music print music team!

If you’re anything like me you have yet to find a single gift for anyone on your list. And while holiday themed presents are fun, getting a gift that can be used year round may be more practical for some. If the gift of piano music is on your list, there are a few new releases that I suggest taking a look at.

G. Schirmer has just released a great edition for classical pianists. The G. Schirmer Piano Collection G. Schirmer Piano Collectioncontains 33 works by 25 prominent G. Schirmer composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. The works, which are suitable for advanced high school and college-level pianists, include compositions by Kabalevsky, Khachaturian, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, among others.

Another interesting publication is a recent release by Willis Music titled Three New Gymnopédies. Three New GymnopediesFrank Levin takes Satie’s distinctive compositional style in a new direction while still paying homage to the original Gymnopédies’ slow waltz tempo, dark character, rich harmony and French sensibility. And even though Levin’s original compositions delve deeper in complexity and emotional contrast, the composer does an excellent job of remaining true to his source of inspiration.

Lastly, for those of you who are always looking for fresh arrangements of sacred works, Alfred Wondrous EasterMusic Publishing has come out with Wondrous Easter by James Koerts. Containing 10 contemporary arrangements of standards such as “Because He Lives” and “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” these early advanced arrangements are a great addition for your worship services during the weeks leading up to Easter.

West Music has many more great deals and publications to be had this holiday season, including 20% off of Alfred’s for Students series. Don’t delay, our holiday sale ends December 24th! CLICK HERE to see our interactive holiday gift guide.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!


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Tags: piano music, gift ideas, classical piano, The G. Schirmer Piano Collection, Kabalevsky, Khachaturian, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Three New Gymnopedies, Satie, sacred music, sacred piano music, Wondrous Easter
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November Piano Gallery News
By Nick Janssen
11/1/2012 3:08:00 PM  

With only two months left in the year it seems things are starting to wind down—a bit. West Music’s print music team has been working hard to prepare for this holiday season and we think you’ll like what we’re bringing into our stores.

To start the season off in good spirits I want to recommend two new ragtime books showcasing your favorite Christmas carols. The first book, A Ragtime ChristmasA Ragtime Christmas (Hal Leonard), is an easy piano edition by Phillip Keveren who does a great job of making the book’s 17 arrangements accessible to intermediate-level pianists without losing the charm that comes with both ragtime and holiday music. The second ragtime book, Christmas Carols for Ragtime Piano (Cherry Lane), provides advanced-level pianists the opportunity to showcase their chops with 18 festive arrangements by David Pearl.

Just because it’s getting close to Christmas, that doesn’t mean we’re only stocking holiday music. Several new publications are now available that are Grand One-Hand Solosworth taking note of no matter what time of year it is.

Books 4–6 of Melody Bober’s Grand One-Hand Solos for Pianos series have just been released by Alfred Music Publishing. These three new additions continue the exploration of independent hand development for students who have advanced to the intermediate level; and like the first three books, they offer a variety of styles, keys, meters, and tempos while giving equal emphasis to each hand.

Also, for those of you who are always looking for new sacred arrangements to play at your next church function, Solos for the Sanctuary - WorshipWillis Music has released Solos for the Sanctuary—Worship, which includes nine worship songs arranged by Glenda Austin. Because these pieces are written for the mid-intermediate level pianist, they are easy enough to play with minimal practice yet still retain enough complexity to be a congregation pleaser.

Happy holidays and enjoy the Thanksgiving turkey!


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Tags: piano music, Christmas carols, A Ragtime Christmas, Christmas Carols for Ragtime Piano, Grand One Hand Solos for Pianos, Solos for the Sanctuary - Worship, ragtime piano, sacred music, worship music, piano technique
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A New Face to the News!
By Nick Janssen
10/1/2012 3:21:00 PM  

My name is Nick Janssen, and I’ve recently joined Cindy Weber as a print music buyer at West Music. As part of my duties I will be responsible for keeping the shelves stocked with the latest releases by your favorite composers and arrangers as well as the methods and repertoire you’ve come to trust.

Before presenting a few of the many new titles coming to West Music in the coming month, I would like to tell you a little about my background. I was raised in rural southeast Iowa and studied music business at Western Illinois University with an emphasis in piano. After graduating, I spent several years working for Alfred Music Publishing in Los Angeles before moving with my family to Tokyo, Japan. Missing the corn fields and Midwest hospitality, my family recently relocated to Iowa where I began working for West Music in this role. And now let’s talk about music!

Christmas in October? That’s right. It’s time to start thinking about that special time of year when the perfect mixture of cold weather, toasty fires and holiday music fill the air to give us that warm, fuzzy feeling. To get ready for the most wonderful time of the year, why not try one of these three new publications:

A Tapestry of CarolsMarilynn Ham and Lloyd Larson have teamed up to present A Tapestry of Carols, which includes eight distinctive arrangements of classic carols such as “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

For those pianists who are looking for Pure & Simple Christmassimpler arrangements that are still fun to play, there is Pure & Simple Christmas, arranged by Carol Tornquist. Each carol included in this book features lyrics, suggested fingerings, phrasing, pedal markings, and easy-to-read notation.

And for the Charlie Brown in all of us, there is The Peanuts Christmas Carol CollectionThe Peanuts Christmas Carol Collection. Sure to become a holiday favorite, this songbook features 27 easy arrangements of traditional carols, plus festive full-color Christmas artwork of the Peanuts Gang! Available in Big-Note and Easy Piano.



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Tags: piano music, holiday music, Christmas carols, A Tapestry of Carols, Pure & Simple Christmas, The Peanuts Christmas Carol Collection, piano print music
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