Piano Medley on Bach’s Prelude in C

Anne Ku’s Piano Medley on Bach’s Prelude in C from his Well-tempered Clavier is an example of floating different recognizable melodies on top of piano, suitable for voice or violin or flute with a keyboard instrument.

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A piece for performance needs to be long enough for the audience to digest. There is such thing as a minimum and optimal length for the listener. Easy piano pieces are often deemed too short. One strategy for beginning piano students to play a piece long enough to satisfy the ear is to combine what they know into a medley.

How does one arrange a medley?

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Jason Mraz I’m Yours for piano ensemble

Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” is very suitable for piano ensemble. One group can play the melody. The other can play the reggae shuffle accompaniment. The same four-chord progression is repeated throughout, with a few interruptions of a fifth chord at predictable spots.

I discovered Jason Mraz one night watching “The X-Factor” and other talent contests on Youtube. His “I’m Yours” sounded very familiar, for the ukelele version that’s played in the Hawaiian Islands. Then I saw his face on the cover of the latest edition of “On Maui” magazine.

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Piano music for Thanksgiving

Solo piano music for Thanksgiving include pop songs, church hymns, and new age arrangements.

Although Thanksgiving is an American holiday not celebrated elsewhere, I can’t help compiling a list for a future concert around this time of the year. The most obvious are those with “thank you” in the title and traditional church hymns sung at this time.

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Piano music for Veterans Day

Besides the obvious patriotic songs, what music is appropriate in recognition of Veterans Day on November 11th?

No sooner than giving a concert for Halloween, I was ready to research music for Veterans Day.

University of Hawaii Maui College’s Veterans Resource Center (VRC) will recognize this important day on Wednesday November 12th, 2014, with open house from 10 AM to 2 PM. My piano class will be playing music to suit the occasion. [More information at UHMC Music Blog.]

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Viva la Vida for Easy Piano

Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”begins with a compelling and energetic violin and cello introduction. Like other pop songs, once you’ve figured out the repeating pattern, it becomes predictable and easy to play.

The string introduction to Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” is addictive.

If “La Vida Breve” means “The Short Life” then “Viva la Vida” means “Live the Life.” Not so fast, according to Lenny, there’s more to this.

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Let It Go for Easy Piano (Free and Complete)

The Academy Award winning best original song Let It Go has become so popular that there are parodies and arrangements made of it, widely available on the Internet.

UPDATED July 1, 2014

Due to popular demand, I have added the second half to complete the entire song. Click on the sample score (i.e. the image of the first page shown below) to get all six pages. Feedback welcome! This is a free download.

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James Taylor: Fire and Rain for Easy Piano

James Taylor’s Fire and Rain remembered at a beach park funeral on Maui.

Decision making in music has always fascinated me. How does a performer decide which works to include in a concert? How does a composer decide which notes to use? How does an arranger decide which works to arrange? Sometimes the occasion commands it.

A few days ago I received an e-mail from a colleague asking if I could suggest someone to play James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” for a funeral at a beach park on Maui. The song evoked memories of going to college in North Carolina and a nostalgia of lost youth. I never really understood the lyrics until another colleague, who attended the funeral today, recited the words verbatim and eluded to a story behind it.

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