Free Cinco de Mayo Sheet Music: De Colores

Happy May Day – the midway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice! According to Celtic tradition, May Day is the time to think about what you want to weave into your life (hence the Maypole!) in the coming year. I am weaving in more calm and more music practice for myself, and wishes for good health and an end to war for the world.

Another holiday we celebrate in the U.S. is Cinco de Mayo, a yearly celebration commemorating the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over Napoleon’s French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. In Los Angeles we celebrate this fiesta by playing Mexican songs, and eating Mexican food (yum!) To help you celebrate I have posted the Mexican folk song, De Colores. Here are the lyrics:

De Colores, de colores se visten los campos la primavera. De colores, de colores son los pajaritos que vienen deafuera. De colores, de colores de colores es el arco iris que vemos lucir. Y por eso los grandes amores de muchos colores resme gustan ami.”

“Colorful are the fields in springtime. Colorful are the little birds that come from outside. Colorful is that rainbow that we see shining. And that is why I love the many colors so much.

Click to print De Colores

What would you like to weave into your life today? Leave a comment below and let us support your goals, intentions and dreams. Enjoy the flowers, birds and rainbows of spring! And I hope you can munch on a taco on Cinco de Mayo! With love and music, Gaili

Free St. Patrick’s Day Sheet Music!

It’s St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th, so dig out your green clothes, dust off your Irish Soda Bread Recipe, and get ready to play some Irish Folk Music! Last March I posted a jig (The Irish Washerwoman), a reel (The Galway Piper) and a beautiful air (Down By the Salley Gardens). You can still print the jig and the reel HERE, but if you would like a copy of Down by the Salley Gardens, send me an email (UpperHandsPiano@gmail.com) as it is no longer on my website.

This year I have arranged an Irish-American favorite called Too-ra Loo-ra Loo-ral, which has been famously sung by Bing Crosby, as well as Van Morrison and The Band, The Irish Tenors, Rosemary Clooney and many others.

Print TOO-RA LOO-RA

Toora Loora demonstration

I hope you are enjoying some increased sunshine as we edge toward spring. Here in Los Angeles it has been very cold (for LA), but my bulbs are blooming, I’m seeing little blossoms on the neighborhood plum trees, and there is a tiny hummingbird’s nest in our backyard tree. My daughter Maura took this photo- isn’t it amazing? Mama hummer’s two eggs have just hatched and she is sitting on her hatchlings keeping them warm. The nest is about 1.5 inches wide 🙂


And now a word from our sponsor!

If you’re new to my blog, welcome! I give away free sheet music and practice tips every month. You might not be aware that I have written a series called Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to Spark the Mind, Heart and Soul. This 4-book instructional series is a great choice for older adults who have always wanted to play the piano, or played as a child, and want a refresher course. I have also written 4 songbooks for beginners called Upper Hands Piano: Songs of the Seasons (Spring, Summer Winter and Autumn). For the intermediate and advanced players, I have The Music Remedy (No. 1) : 12 Passionate Pieces to Move you From Loss to Love, and The Music Remedy (No. 2) : 12 Passionate Pieces to Move You from Anxiety to Calm. Click the links below to shop and learn more! Thanks so much for your support, and HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

With love and music, Gaili

Giveaway Winners! And some Practice Tips to review in ’22

I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day spent with someone you love, or doing something you love to do! (Like eating chocolate?! Playing some beautiful pieces?) Congratulations to the winners of my Giveaway for 20 of The Music Remedy books No. 1 and 2! I so appreciate your enthusiastic support and I hope you enjoy your books. Here are the winners:

  1. Helga Kaefer
  2. Fran Tracy Walls
  3. Mary Hebard
  4. Lee Shatto
  5. Raechel Averett
  6. Dee Fisher
  7. Louis Lemire
  8. Mary Ellen Huckstep Labreque
  9. CarolLynn Gregson
  10. Medgar (SailorMargie)
  11. Jolene Hudgens McClellan
  12. Lisa El-Lakis
  13. Cynthia Norlin
  14. Linda May
  15. Agnes Zelgert
  16. Vera Harte
  17. Sandy Ludwig
  18. Beth DeAngelis Gooch
  19. Nicole Rosenbach Brown
  20. Donnamarie Shortt Kavanaugh

Winners: To claim your book, please email your address to me: upperhandspiano@gmail.com, and I will send you your book via USPS. State your preference for The Music Remedy No. 1 or No. 2 (click to see CONTENTS and sample pages) and I will honor your requests until one or the other run out.

Thank you all for your support! I hope you are enjoying The Music Remedy books, and are finding the music to be both beautiful and revitalizing!

||: Beginners you might want to take a look at my post on Repeat signs. It takes awhile to remember repeat protocols! :||

🤏 Intermediate piano players would do well to review this finger exercise for a few weeks in 2022!🤏

🏃🏿 You also might want to review these ideas I posted years ago about Aging Well. Now that the numbers of new Covid Cases are going down (hopefully we won’t have a big Super Bowl surge here in Los Angeles) we can begin to be social again soon. Being social is one of the three main components of Aging Well. 🏃🏿

🌹 Stay warm, cozy and musical for the rest of February. If you haven’t already, be sure to print and play my free arrangement of My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose.🌹

With love and music, Gaili

Goals, Intentions, Scheduling, Structure

We know that setting goals can be an effective way to focus our practice time. In the past I have held “Pledge to Play: 10 Minutes A Day” challenges, where everyone pledges to get themselves to their benches for at least 10 minutes every day for a month. During those 10 minute practice sessions we concentrated on short-term goals such as learning a difficult musical passage smoothly, memorizing a short piece, or learning the minor 7th chords in all 12 keys, etc. Challenging yourself to practice every day for 10 minutes is a great way to become a better musician, as research shows that daily exposure is the best way to improve.

Pledges can be a great motivational tool, but what about after the 30 days is over? Just as after a weight-loss program, we have to create an enduring plan for maintaining the good practices we cultivate while working towards our musical goals.

When in maintenance mode we might speak in terms of intentions rather than goals. Life coach Jennifer Louden writes that the word intention comes from the Latin “intendere” which means “to stretch toward something.” Louden suggests that while a goal drives you toward a future outcome, an intention helps keep you in the present. Louden writes:

 The goal feels positive, but closed, almost a should, and it doesn’t inspire the imagination nearly as much as the intention, which feels open-ended, expansive, encouraging….

Instead of, or in addition to setting a goal such as, “I will learn this piece in 60 days,” you might want to form an intention, such as, “I am folding piano practice into my life four days per week.” Or, “I am exploring improvisation in my piano studies this year,” etc.

Write down your intention. Then come up with a structure to support it. You can adjust your expectations and intentions as you go along, but a written intention and structure acts as a roadmap. For example, if your intention is to become a more skilled musician, schedule 4-6 piano practice sessions per week in your phone calendar using the repeat: weekly and the alerts functions. Schedule your practice at times that you believe you can consistently follow through. Some might be 10-minute sessions, some might be 30 minutes or more. If you miss a session, reschedule it, or just let it go and look forward to your next scheduled practice. If your intention is to explore improvising, the structure might be scheduling weekly improv, just noodling around on your instrument or trying my improvising exercises, watching jazz, rock, or folk YouTube videos, and planning monthly visits to jazz and folk concerts (when it is safe to attend concerts in your town!) Whatever your intention(s), find a structure that you can embrace. Setting unreasonable expectations is counter-productive.

When you have to leave town and won’t be able to practice, set an intention to put practice aside until you return, and name the date that you will resume your practice routine. That way, your travel becomes part of your intention, and not an aberration.

When days or weeks pass in which you didn’t fulfill your intention, let regrets go. Start fresh the following week doing your best to reinstate your structure. This isn’t about perfection, it’s about process. Keep it light and enjoyable. Intentions are about how you want to live your life. Your intentions are driven by your values. A little guilt is ok if it keeps you aligned with an intention, but don’t let yourself slide into shame and negative self-talk. 

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz

Be brave enough to live creatively…. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You…get there…by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful: You will discover yourself.  

-Alan Alda

Please leave a comment below to share your goals or intentions with our piano community, and let us support you! While we are still battling Covid-19, community support is especially important for our emotional well being!

If you are new to this blog, welcome! I am a veteran piano teacher of almost 35 years! I post free sheet music every month, arranged for beginning to intermediate piano students, plus posts like this one to motivate and inform. I have written piano instruction books for adults over 50 (UpperHandsPiano.com), younger adults and teens (PianoPowered.com), Songs of the Seasons piano sheet music books for seasonal classical and popular favorites, and my latest piano/guitar/vocals books called The Music Remedy – sheet music collections to restore and revitalize the spirit. Check out my books on the websites above, or click below to view them on Amazon.com.

I hope you are enjoying a beautiful winter’s day wherever you are. With love and music, Gaili

January Free Sheet Music: Someone to Watch Over Me

Happy New Year Friends!

I always enjoy posting free sheet music for you at the beginning of each month, but on January 1st it’s especially exciting, because it is Public Domain Day! That means that an entire year’s worth of songs (today it is 1926) come into the public domain, and I get to pick one to arrange for you! This year my favorite song to become available is Someone to Watch Over Me by George and Ira Gershwin.

Someone to Watch Over Me has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Willie Nelson, and Lady Gaga to name just a few! It’s one of the Gershwins’ most popular collaborations, and I hope you will enjoy playing their beautiful song.

⬇️ Click to print ⬇️

SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME

Here’s a demonstration of this arrangement:

This is an arrangement for intermediate pianists. If you are a beginner, print it out now for the future, as it will only be free for 1 year, until December 2022. [After that time you can purchase it on Sheet Music Plus where you can find a lot of my arrangements for songs such as White Christmas, Autumn Leaves, Hallelujah and a lot more!]

🎶  I'm a little lamb who's lost in the wood. I know I could, always be good, to one who'll watch over me....🎶

I think we have all been feeling a little lost this year, and we all need someone to watch over us, making sure we’re not getting too isolated during this painful Covid era. New cases are multiplying here in Los Angeles, and I hope that you manage to stay safe and find companionship, wherever you are.

Most of you know that I just released some new books called The Music Remedy last month. A thousand thank yous to those of you who purchased these therapeutic song books (No. 1 – 12 Passionate Pieces to Move You from Loss to Love, and No. 2 – 12 Passionate Pieces to Move You from Anxiety to Calm) for yourself or for loved ones! I am hard at work finishing up No. 3 – 12 Passionate Pieces to Move You from Discouraged to Hopeful! Amazon.com is keeping the price at $9.50 for one more week! Also, If there is an older adult in your life whose New Year’s Resolution is to start or restart playing the piano in 2022, please remember that my Upper Hands Piano books make great gifts!

Ok that’s enough advertising! 😆 It’s time for you to get playing! Please leave a comment below and tell me and our Upper Hands Piano community what you are playing now, and what you might like to play in 2022. Let us know if you are playing Someone to Watch Over Me, and tell us how it’s going! Now that we are locked down again, it’s a great opportunity to play your piano more! Try to sit down for at least 10 minutes each day; daily exposure to a new challenge is the very best and fastest way to learn. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while for you to learn a difficult passage in your piece. Honor your own pace and keep playing!

I’m looking forward to releasing some other pieces that have come into the public domain, throughout this year. I just love arranging songs and pieces for you, and I so appreciate that you have subscribed to my blog! Stay warm, safe and healthy. We can get through these difficult times, apart but together, sitting on our benches, playing music from the heart.

With love and music, Gaili

Announcing… New Books and Free Holiday Sheet Music!

Click to view on Amazon.com
Click to view on Amazon.com

My series called The Music Remedy launched today!

For the past year I have been hard at work researching, selecting, arranging and editing songs and pieces for a new series of sheet music books called, The Music Remedy. For many of us, playing music was the best medicine during the Covid-19 pandemic, getting us through the isolation, the anxiety, and our many losses. In The Music Remedy books we target some of life’s most problematic obstacles, offering songs and pieces to help the musician (pianist, guitarist, vocalist) move through distressing emotions to a more positive and balanced emotional state. Piano players and guitarists who have tested these books report that playing (and singing) these songs and pieces helped them to cope with painful feelings; they also reported that the pieces renewed their optimism, restoring a sense of well-being. Playing and singing the songs in The Music Remedy: No. 1: – 12 Passionate Pieces to Move You from Loss to Love, helped them to extend themselves to people and to open to the idea of bringing a new love into their lives. The Music Remedy: No. 2 – 12 Passionate Pieces to Move You from Anxiety to Calm helped musicians to relax and trust that they would be safe. It’s been so exciting creating music books that might help people feel better (while also boosting their brain power, of course!) But even if you aren’t experiencing these issues, the pieces within The Music Remedy books are beautiful, melodic, and fun to play!

You can click the images above to order on Amazon, or click here to view sample pages and song lists for each book.

This month only, The Music Remedy books are on sale for $9.50! On January 1st they go up to $12.95, so buy now!

On TheMusicRemedy.com you can find links to video demonstrations for every song in each book. I think you’ll find that watching the videos will help you to learn the pieces more quickly and accurately. All of these arrangements range from the early to late intermediate levels. I hope that you will consider giving these books as gifts, or buying them for yourself (as my student Joan says, playing the piano is the best therapy!)

As an added incentive, if you buy ANY of my books this month (Upper Hands Piano levels 1-4, Songs of the Seasons: Spring, Summer, Winter or Autumn, Piano Powered, or The Music Remedy) send a screen shot of your receipt to me at UpperHandsPiano@gmail.com, and I will send you some free holiday music- Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, Deck The Halls, Dona Nobis, I Saw Three Ships, Jingle Bells, Joyful Joyful, Little Drummer Boy, The Nutcracker Suite, O Christmas Tree, Oh Chanukah, Oh Holy Night, Sevivon, Silent Night, and Vivaldi’s Winter. Request one or request them all! That’s just this month, December 2021.

Selling my books helps me to support this blog so that I can continue to offer you free sheet music each month, so I hope you don’t mind my advertising today! Many thanks for your kind and generous support. Happy Holidays friends!

With love and music, Gaili

December Free Sheet Music (Bach’s Jesu) and Announcement!

Photo of an early piano with a book of Bach pieces

Happy Holidays!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration and are enjoying the anticipation of the holiday season. Today I am posting a simplified arrangement of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, a popular holiday choral piece written by composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1723. Here is my favorite lyric from the piece:

Through the way where hope is guiding, Hark, what peaceful music rings!

I have simplified, shortened and transposed Jesu and I hope you or your students enjoy playing it this winter.:

Here’s a slow video demonstration of my simplified arrangement ⬆️

For more advanced piano students, click below for the original arrangement:




Today I am extremely excited to announced that my new sheet music book series will be published soon!

I have been working on these books during the pandemic, with the idea that playing music is the best medicine for getting through life’s most difficult times. Here’s how one of my editors described the series:

The Music Remedy is a unique series of songbooks presenting beautiful, inspiring, and passionate music to help balance and uplift your emotional state.

Just as we listen to playlists for inspiration, for de-stressing or for love songs on stations like Pandora or Apple Music, I have created piano-play-lists for times when we need to de-stress, get inspired, or find love again (with many more titles to come!)

The Music Remedy Series is written for the early to late intermediate pianist (and singers and guitarists), with melodic, easy-to-read classical and popular pieces. And there will be video demonstrations of every piece on my new website, which will launch the same day as the books! Here are a few of the upcoming titles:

  • The Music Remedy: No. 1 – 12 Passionate Pieces to Move You from Loss to Love (releasing Dec 2021)
  • The Music Remedy: No. 2 – 12 Passionate Pieces to Move You from Anxiety to Calm (releasing Dec 2021)
  • The Music Remedy: No. 3 – 12 Passionate Pieces to Move You from Discouraged to Hopeful (releasing Spring 2022)

Each book will cost $12.95 on Amazon or in bookstores, and I will purchase a few to sell also. I will tell you more about my books as soon as they are available for purchase, but I wanted to tell you a little about them just in case you’re looking for a holiday gift for that piano-lover in your life!

I hope you don’t mind my little self-promotion today. Most of the time I use my blog to give away free sheet music, worksheets and practice tips, but sometimes I also need to reach out and tell you what I am creating for sale. I will post again when Books 1 and 2 are available. Of course I also have my Upper Hands Piano instruction books for adults over 50, plus my Songs of the Seasons sheet music collections for beginners. I love books, so for me the combination of writing books and arranging music is pure magic.

Thanks so much for following my blog. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! With love and gratitude, Gaili

P.S. Email me upperhandspiano@gmail.com if you would like simplified arrangements of Sevivon or Oh Chanukah! Happy Chanukah friends!

November Free Sheet Music: We Have Much to Be Thankful For, by Irving Berlin

It is November at last, and having enjoyed a nearly normal Halloween, I think many of us are looking forward to gathering in-person with loved ones for Thanksgiving. I usually post one of the two Thanksgiving favorites in November — Over The River and Through the Wood, or We Gather Together — because the holiday seems to demand these festive traditional songs! But there is another (somewhat obscure) Thanksgiving song written by the great Irving Berlin in 1912 called We Have Much to Be Thankful For that you might enjoy playing for your Thanksgiving guests this year. I love this song it because it is about gratitude, and being thankful for being alive. Click to print my simplified arrangement:

We Have Much to Be Thankful For (simplified)

If you would like to play the original sheet music CLICK HERE (pages 3-5)

I also wanted to let you know that next month I will have some exciting news about a new songbook series I will be releasing before the holidays. My editors are taking their final look at all of the sheet music, making sure I have the lyrics, chord symbols, fingering and notes all as they should be. I can’t wait to tell you about my new books! But I will wait until they are completely ready, when I am sure that all of the songs and pieces are just right.

To celebrate a month of thanksgiving, I am going to keep a gratitude journal, and I want to invite you to join me! Some people find that when they keep a gratitude journal they feel happier and less stressed in their daily lives. If you’re interested in keeping a gratitude journal, just write down 3-5 things that you’re grateful for each day, for the month of November (or even just a week or two). It can be something as basic as being grateful for having a home or a piano, or for your eyesight or hearing, as in our Irving Berlin song. Or you might write a sentence about something someone said to you that made you feel good, or the color of the leaves on the trees you see on your morning walk…. Sometimes just noticing the beauty around us can evoke feelings of joy and deep appreciation. Leave a comment with any observations you would be willing to share about how keeping a gratitude journal is affecting you this month.

I want to wish you a beautiful Thanksgiving, and I hope you stay healthy and happy throughout the season. I am deeply grateful to all of you for following my blog, and for the kind comments and questions you put forth. It’s a wonderful feeling for me to see that so many of you are clicking on and printing my arrangements; it gives my life meaning and elevates my sense of purpose. Thanks so much for meeting me here each month.

With love, music and gratitude, Gaili

October Free Sheet Music: Chopin’s Prelude 20

📷 by Ehud Neuhaus

A thousand pardons for my late posting this month. I have been on a long working/vacation, and wasn’t able to post my music remotely. I hope that Chopin’s Prelude No. 20 was worth your wait! It’s the perfect spooky music for Halloween, and at only 🦇13🦇 measures you’ll have time to learn it before the zombies💀 rise!

You might remember this prelude as the opening to Barry Manilow’s Could It Be Magic, and it was Rachmaninoff’s inspiration for his Variations on a Theme of Chopin. It is beautiful and dark, and fun to play!

Chopin wrote his Prelude No. 20 in the key of C minor. I transposed it to A minor and deleted some of the less influential notes to help it fit under your fingers more easily. You can print my arrangement here:

Chopin’s Prelude No. 20 (simplified)

Demonstration of Chopin’s Prelude No. 20 simplified

You can print Chopin’s original sheet music for Prelude No. 20 in C minor here:

I hope you are enjoying Autumn wherever you are! I have been learning more about helping my students to overcome obstacles to joyful music making. I will be sharing more about that in future posts. For now, be sure to print the sheet music for We Gather Together on my FREE SHEET MUSIC page before it disappears on October 31st! We Gather Together is a classic Thanksgiving hymn about gratitude that you might want to play for your family celebration.

Hope your Halloween’s a scream! With love and music, Gaili

July Free Sheet Music: Moonlight Sonata (transposed to E minor!)

Many piano players bemoan the fact that they would love to play Beethoven’s gorgeous Moonlight Sonata, except for the fact that Beethoven wrote it in C# minor, which has 4 sharps 🤦🏽. That just seems like too much to take on for most of us. So I took up the challenge and transposed the entire first movement to E minor.

At first I tried transposing it to D minor, but then realized that if I moved it a bit higher, I could avoid moving the right hand into the bass clef here and there, which pianists find confusing. As a result, some of the notes are very low on the treble staff, so feel free to write the letter names next to (not above or below) the notes you haven’t yet learned. Note that this is not a simplified arrangement. All of the original notes are present, I just made it a bit easier to read and play.

(Click here if you would like to read about how Beethoven’s Sonata quasi una Fantasia – “Sonata in the manner of a fantasy” – became known as the Moonlight Sonata.)

You will also notice that I made the notes a bit bigger than the original; the result is that it is 6 pages instead of 4. Sorry about that! You can tape them together and fold them into a book. I like to spread out the first 4 pages on my music stand, then have only one page turn to the last 2 pages.

I have posted the first 3 pages today, and below I demonstrate the first 3 pages in a Youtube video. Remember that the fingering I wrote is just a suggestion, mostly taken from the original. If you find a fingering you like better, be sure to cross mine out and write yours in. I will post pages 4-6 (for free) next month; be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!

*Click to print: MOONLIGHT SONATA in E minor*

* My sheet music is only available for free for a year. So print it today! *

Click below to print: The ORIGINAL Moonlight Sonata (for the purist!)

How is your summer going so far? Have you been able to get yourself to the bench to play your piano? It’s not too late to start a mid-summer challenge to play the Moonlight Sonata in E minor. Remember, playing the piano is one of the best ways to boost your brain function, and doing something creative like playing a beautiful piece has also been shown to promote good health and a sense of well-being and to lower stress. Hope you enjoy playing the first half, and be sure to subscribe so that you get an email when the second half is available in August (for free of course– every month I give away free sheet music, and never charge or spam you). Leave a comment and let us know how you’re doing with this piece, or tell us what else you are playing. Are you struggling with a piece or not understanding something in your music? We invite piano-related comments and questions any time!

Thanks for subscribing! I hope you get a lot out valuable information from my blog! Check out my old posts on the right ➡️ to find more free sheet music to print, and lots of practice tips and music theory print-outs. With love and music, Gaili

Check out some of my music books! Piano instruction books for adults over 50, seasonal songbooks, and wide-ruled manuscript books: