With all the record-breaking storms bombarding our world these days, I was reminded of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata No. 17, Movement 3, also known as “The Tempest,” which is one of my favorite pieces of all time.
The Tempest is gorgeous, dark, and certainly tempestuous, a mood we can all relate to sometimes! The Tempest theme which I originally arranged for my song book called: The Music Remedy No. 2: 12 Passionate Pieces to Move You from Anxiety to Calm, is appropriate for the intermediate student.
I hope you are doing well in your part of the world. This month I am traveling to Barolo, Italy for my daughter’s wedding! It’s very exciting, and is also keeping me up nights thinking about all I need to do before my trip. I am also visiting Provence, a place I have wanted to go for decades. If you have any recommendations for places to see or people to meet in Provence, please message me! What are your summer plans? No doubt they will include lots of piano playing. If a storm hits, don’t worry, just go to your piano and play The Tempest!
To celebrate Mother’s Day this month, I am posting the funny song And Her Mother Came Too by Ivor Novello with lyrics by Dion Titheradge. I first learned of the song when I saw the film Gosford Park, which portrays Ivor Novello singing the song. The song is about an annoying Mother-in-law who never gives a couple any privacy. Since I will become a Mother-in-law in June, and hope to be more sensitive than the mother-in-law in this song, I thought it might be a fun song to learn for Mother’s Day.
My arrangement of And Her Mother Came too originally appeared in my book 👆🏽Songs of the Seasons: Spring👆🏽 but it is available for free to my subscribers for a year, so print it today!
Notice in my demonstration video below and in the Gosford Park performance, that the first page is played and sung with a rubato feel (freely, not to a beat), then the beat comes in on the second page, and the second and third pages are played in time.
I hope you have a happy Mother’s Day wherever you are, and enjoy playing this great and humorous old song this month. Leave a comment below and tell us how your piano practice is going. What have you been playing lately? I love hearing from you!
I’ve been revisiting some beautiful old folk songs lately. With all the pain and difficulty in the world right now, these songs bring comfort and connect us to our joy. In 2018 I gave you an intermediate arrangement of Shenandoah, a gorgeous 19th Century ballad popular with lonely river men and sailors. Today I have an advanced arrangement for you, and will also reissue the intermediate arrangement to you. The advanced arrangement is only available for a year, so print today! After that it will be for sale along with many more of my arrangements at Sheet Music Plus.
Click DOWNLOAD to print my intermediate arrangement of Shenandoah. Hint: the first 2 notes in the treble staff are F and G. Sorry they are so low, but I wanted to offer this arrangement in the Key of C, which put the first 2 notes on the F and G below middle C 😊
I hope you enjoy playing Shenandoah this month! If you are a beginner, just play the top notes of the intermediate arrangement, wherever you see lyrics. Ignore the notes with no lyrics below them- they are what we call “fils.” Fils fill in the spaces between the melody, but are not part of the melody.
Happy Easter, Ramadan and Passover to all who celebrate, and enjoy the splendor of spring! With love and music, Gaili
Our beloved Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on this day, January 27, in 1756, in Salzburg, Austria. To celebrate his birthday and to set the mood for February, the month of love 💌, I have arranged Mozart’s Romanze, the beautifully tender and tranquill 2nd Movement of his piece Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. I have arranged a Romanze movement for both beginners and intermediate pianists, and have also included the advanced sheet music below.
I hope you celebrate Mozart’s birthday by listening to and playing some of his exquisitely beautiful music! Have a great weekend wherever you are, and enjoy a Romanze-filled February! With love and music, Gaili
P.S. If you are new to this blog, welcome! I am a veteran piano teacher of 35 years! I post free sheet music every month, arranged for beginning to intermediate piano students, plus worksheets, practice tips and information on music and the brain. I have written piano instruction books for older adults (UpperHandsPiano.com), younger adults and teens (PianoPowered.com), Songs of the Seasonspiano sheet music books for seasonal classical and popular favorites, and my latest piano/guitar/vocals books calledThe Music Remedy: sheet music collections to restore and revitalize the spirit. Check out my books on the websites above, or click below to view a few of them on Amazon.com.
January 1st is the most wonderful day for music arrangers; known as Public Domain Day, it’s the day that a whole year’s worth of songs and pieces (plus other media) come into the public domain. Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies (published in 1927) just came into the public domain today, so I am super excited to be able to offer a free piano/guitar/vocal arrangement of this popular song to you! Blue Skies has been recorded by many of the greats: Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Willie Nelson to name just a few. And even though this is an “intermediate” arrangement, even a “late beginner” could play it by playing just the bottom notes in the bass, and just the top notes in the treble. My Blue Skies arrangement is just one page, with two repeated sections, so you will be able to learn it quickly!
This arrangement will only be available for free for one year, so be sure to print it now!
Do you have any resolutions for 2023? Or maybe, if you are like me, you write in your journal at the beginning of each new year about things (attributes, changes, improvements, etc.) you want to bring into your life in the coming year, and things (attitudes, fears, obstacles, etc.) you want to let go of. I also like to choose three primary areas to focus on over the course of the year, and I check my list every quarter to see how I am progressing in those areas. For example, in 2023 I might choose: 1) Practice piano and accordion every Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. 2) Cook vegetarian dishes 4 days per week. 3) Spend more time with friends. I think a lifetime of learning new things and growing as a musician and as a person keeps us interesting to others and interested and engaged in our own lives. And of course, self-examination and change is good for the brain, and the spirit.
Do you have any beginning of the year rituals or practices? I always enjoy hearing ideas about how people ring in their new years.
I hope 2023 brings you peace, joy and love, and that you find time to play your piano consistently. I have some big news about free video piano classes (which will follow my Upper Hands Piano, BOOK 1) I will be giving in 2023 via an online community called Sixty and Me. I’ll give you more information in a couple weeks, but if it sounds interesting for yourself or a loved one, you might like to check out: Sixty and Me. For now, I hope you will enjoy Blue Skies, wherever you are!
With love and music, Gaili
P.S. below you can click to view some of my books on Amazon, or click HERE to view my book descriptions, song lists and sample pages on my website.
I hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving, filled with music, love and gratitude. Today I got out my holiday cookie recipes and am looking forward to baking for my piano students!
This month I wanted to offer you an arrangement of the Ukrainian Bell Carol which we call Carol of the Bells. It’s a beautiful carol with a mesmerizing ostinato (a musical phrase that repeats throughout a piece) and not too difficult to play:
Carol of the Bells will only be free for 1 year so print today!
I also have created an arrangement for the traditional Hanukkah song, Rock of Ages (A.K.A. Ma’oz Tsur) for early intermediate piano. If my arrangement is too difficult for you, leave off the top note of any bass chord, and the bottom note of any treble interval.
I hope that wherever and however you celebrate this holiday season, you will enjoy playing and giving the gift of music. And maybe send some love to the embattled Ukrainians as you play Carol of the Bells.
I have some BIG news coming soon about my new book, and about a new project I have begun to offer free video piano lessons to older adult beginners. More news about these projects in the coming weeks. Many thanks for your support, and I hope you enjoy playing Rock of Ages and Carol of the Bells this month! I LOVE your comments! Tell us what you are playing or what you would like to play on the piano?! Or just say “hi!” I love getting to know who is receiving and playing my free arrangements!
With love and music, Gaili
P.S. If you are new to this blog, welcome! I am a veteran piano teacher of 35 years! I post free sheet music every month, arranged for beginning to intermediate piano students, plus worksheets, practice tips and information on music and the brain. I have written piano instruction books for older adults (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 a few of them on Amazon.com.
For my monthly free sheet music I wanted to give you a sneak preview from my forthcoming new piano songbook called The Music Remedy, No. 3: 12 Pieces to Move You from Discouraged to Hopeful. I am finishing my arrangements and am working with the graphic artist on the artwork for the book. I’m so excited to share it with you, that I want to give you one piece from the book now, even though it doesn’t include the artwork yet.
Gymnopedie No. 1 was composed by the French composer Erik Satie, as part of his set of pieces called Trois Gymnopedies. I have simplified it a bit to make it easier to read and play for the intermediate pianist. The piece might sound familiar to you, as it has been frequently featured in films and television shows. I love it for its tranquil, pensive quality, which feels appropriate to the season, and the end of Daylight Savings Time (in my state, this Sunday!) To shorten my video a little, I went straight to the CODA without taking the D.C. in my demonstration video:
Remember, my sheet music is only available free for 1 year, so print today if you think you might like to play this piece sometime in the future! You can print it from my website:
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving however you choose to celebrate. This month I plan to write in my Gratitude Journal every day, at least 2 or 3 things for which I am grateful. If you have never kept a gratitude journal you might consider it, as research shows that thinking about what you appreciate in your life can elevate mood and calm the spirit. Sometimes you might write a small simple thing such as gratitude for the light shining through your window in the morning, beautiful leaves on a tree, or the delicious taste of your morning coffee. Other times you might be grateful for finding time to practice, for the beauty of your piece, or your ability to play a difficult passage in your music a little bit better than the last time you played it. You might be grateful for help from a family member, for your good health (even if it’s not perfect, it could be worse!), your friends, your food, your opportunities, your home, your life. This is the journal I have, but there are many – look for them at your local bookstore, or create your own from a notebook!
Try keeping a gratitude journal this month with me, and see how you feel. Everyone I know that has taken the time to write a few grateful observations each night, reported feeling happier. When you are looking for things to be grateful for, you notice more beauty in the world, and more of what is good, and working well, instead of focusing on what is not working well. Anyway, just a thought! Leave a comment below and tell us what you are grateful for and what you might be playing on your piano for loved ones at your Thanksgiving celebration!
Today, I am especially grateful for my job as a piano teacher, for my love of music, and for you, my readers who follow my blog, play from my sheet music, and make me feel useful. I hope you enjoy playing Gymnopedie No. 1, and enjoy this month of Gratitude!
One of my favorite pieces of all times is The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi. Autumn from The Four Seasons is particularly melodic and uplifting, and the first Allegromovement includes a lot of repetition which makes it easier to learn.
I hope you are enjoying the first fruits of fall in your part of the world. Here in Los Angeles we are still experiencing a long drought with hot, humid weather. Later this month my husband and I will be taking a trip to New York to visit our daughter and her fiancé, and to enjoy the fall foliage. I can’t wait to have soups and put on sweaters! Fall is my favorite season and I just love being on the east coast, seeing the pumpkins and the fall harvest at farm stands on Long Island. I took the photo at the top of this post several years ago when I was visiting my daughter for a Cornell University Parents Weekend event. Since then I try to visit the east coast every October. We got our Omicron BA.4 & 5 vaccine update which gives me extra confidence to fly. Have you taken any flights recently? I’m a little nervous about it, but am plunging forward nevertheless.
Leave us a comment below and tell us what you will be practicing this Autumn. I am learning some Django Reinhardt tunes on the accordion– they are very challenging for me, (I’m not a great accordion player) but fun!
With love and music, Gaili
P.S. If you are new to this blog, welcome! I am a veteran piano teacher of 35 years! I post free sheet music every month, arranged for beginning to intermediate piano students, plus worksheets, practice tips and information on music and the brain. I have written piano instruction books for older adults (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 calledThe Music Remedy – sheet music collections to restore and revitalize the spirit. I am working on The Music Remedy No. 3: 12 Passionate Pieces to Move You from Discouraged to Hopeful, right now and hope to have it available soon! Check out my books on the websites above, or click below to view a few of them on Amazon.com.
Happy September Piano Friends! Lately I have been posting a lot of classical sheet music, so today I thought I would offer something popular. I watched Sleepless in Seattle lately and was reminded of how much I like the song Bye Bye Blackbird. In the movie, the little boy Jonah’s mother used to sing it to him when he had nightmares, and the song is featured throughout the movie.
I have arranged Bye Bye Blackbird for Advanced, Intermediate and Easier-to-Play (not exactly for the earliest beginners, but will be a comfortable challenge for those who have been playing for 6 months or more.)
The Advanced arrangement is available for only a year, so print it now!
I have made a demonstration video of how an advanced player might approach my arrangement. Notice that I am keeping strict time with my left hand accompaniment, but I play the right hand melody with a rubato jazzy feel. With popular music, especially jazz, you don’t necessarily have to play the melody exactly as written, but you do want to keep a constant beat with your left hand.
For Intermediate players, both hands stay in time, and there are fewer notes and chords:
Beginners might like to try this arrangement I call “Easier to Play” because nothing is EASY when you are first learning to play the piano. There are so many notes to learn when you are a beginner! Just take it slowly, learning a few measures at a time.
I hope you or your students enjoy playing one (or all!) of these arrangements. Bye Bye Blackbird has been recorded by Joe Cocker [excerpt from Sleepless In Seattle], Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Miles Davis and so many other artists!
September has always been the time for new beginnings: new classes, new clothes, new school supplies, new projects, the bountiful Fall harvest, and the gradual drawing back within our homes and ourselves as the climate cools. Besides loving the stunning colors of Fall I enjoy the quiet time between the busy summer and holiday seasons because it can be an optimal time for focus and intention. If you are like me, “more piano” has always been at the top of my Autumn to-do list. Remember that cognitive science shows that short daily exposure to a challenging skill reaps better rewards than one long practice session per week. Try to play for at least 10 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week, to keep progressing.
What are you playing now? Leave us a comment below so that we can support your practice! Are there any pieces you plan to study this Fall? Hope you are staying safe and cool wherever you are. With love and Music, Gaili
P.S. If you are new to this blog, welcome! I am a veteran piano teacher of 35 years! I post free sheet music every month, arranged for beginning to intermediate piano students, plus posts to motivate and inform. I have written piano instruction books specifically for adults 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. Thanks for your support!
Swing rhythm has to do with eighth notes 🎵: it is the long-short “lazy” feel you hear in jazz tunes, as well as country, rock, folk and other music styles. Think about the songs Heart and Soul and Happy Birthday; both have eighth notes that “swing” because they are uneven, with a long-short feel. Swing is not notated in your sheet music; the eighth notes 🎵 in a piece meant to be played with swing rhythm look the same as usual 🎵. The word “Swing” is sometimes written as a tempo marking at the beginning of a swing rhythm piece, but sometimes it isn’t 🤪. You need to train your ear👂to tell whether a song is to be played in swing rhythm. You can do this by practicing my swing rhythm exercise below, and by listening to your song on Youtube.com and discerning whether the song uses even eighth notes🎵or eighth notes that swing🎵. Try playing all 12 scales with me, using Swing Rhythm in this video:
I hope you find these videos on Swing Rhythm helpful! Swing is one of those mysterious unwritten rules of music theory that isn’t always taught. Someone must explain it to you, or you will never quite understand why Happy Birthday sounds kind of jaunty and uneven.
Leave a comment below and tell us about your experiences with Swing Rhythm! I really appreciate comments!! You help others in the community of adult piano students when you ask a question or share an anecdote, so please don’t be shy!
P.S. Amazon has put my Piano Powered, BOOK 2 on a crazy sale ($3.93 instead of $19.95!) I don’t know how long it will last, so click to order now. It is almost the same as my Upper Hands Piano BOOK 2, but altered slightly for younger Adults and Teens:
P.P.S. More free sheet music is on its way August 1st, so be sure to subscribe to this blog in the top right of this page. Thanks!