March Free Sheet Music: A Jig, A Reel, and a Beautiful Irish Air

Cashel, Ireland

Happy March! This month we celebrate 🇮🇪Irish music🇮🇪, a genre near and dear to my heart, as I fell in love with Celtic music in my youth, and married an Irish-American musician in my 20s. I learned even more about Irish music when my daughters became Irish dancers. They participated in dance competitions – called a Feis (pronounced “Fesh”) – bouncing up and down with arms firmly at their sides for Jigs and Reels. The difference between the two dances is that a Jig has a 3 or 6 feel, while a Reel has a 4 feel. An Air is a slow tune that we listen to rather than dance to. I’m giving away one of each this month, to give you plenty to play in March!

First is a gorgeous Irish Air called Down By the Salley Gardens, which originated with a poem by William Butler Yeats. I posted this piece several years ago (and it appears in my instruction book UPPER HANDS PIANO: Book 3 with simpler block chord inversions) but today I added a moving bass line to give it a little more rhythm and fullness. This is an intermediate arrangement, and it will be posted on my website for just 1 year, so print it today! ⬇️⬇️⬇️

PRINT: Down By the Salley Gardens

Down By the Salley Gardens demonstration

If you’re looking to play something more lively, you can print The Galway Piper reel, below. Note that the chords are in block form in the A section, and are broken in the B section. If you are a beginner, just play block chords throughout. If you are an intermediate player, you can play broken chords throughout:

Finally, you might also enjoy this easy arrangement of The Irish Washwoman which I have my students play as an exercise throughout March. It’s the most popular Irish Jig in America, and it’s really fun to play:

I hope you are enjoying some warmer weather as we inch nearer to spring. Have you gotten your Covid vaccine yet? I can’t wait to get mine, and am so excited about the prospect of emerging from our long pandemic hibernation, later this year.

By the way, my husband and I will be playing Irish music (me on accordion😆, him on guitar and vocals) on Facebook Live on Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day, at 7pm PST. If you would like to watch, follow me on Facebook @UpperHands Piano. I’m not the best accordion player, but we’ll have a lot of fun playing Jigs, Reels and songs you can lift a pint to. Have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day, and thanks so much for subscribing to my blog! Here’s an Irish blessing I love:

☘️ May peace and plenty bless your world
With a joy that long endures
And may all life’s passing seasons
Bring the best to you and yours. ☘️

With love and music, Gaili

Author, Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to Spark the Mind, Heart and Soul

Coping With Corona and Free Sheet Music

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise” – Victor Hugo, Les Miserables.

For many of us, it has been difficult to focus on anything beyond the Coronavirus. On any given day we might feel the full spectrum of negative emotions, sometimes even concurrently. When our thoughts turn their darkest, it can be helpful to balance them with feelings of gratitude; gratitude for nature, for family and friendships, for good books and good music. Though this virus seems interminable, remember that as our mothers told us, this too shall pass. Here are some things that have helped me remain positive:

Comfort food. For me, there is nothing more comforting than eating pancakes. Since I am allergic to gluten I make my pancakes with almond flour, but they are delicious nonetheless. Chocolate is also helpful, and filled with antioxidents! What foods bring you joy when you feel scared or depressed?

Nature walks. Since I don’t feel like going to the gym these days, I have been taking walks up the foothills near my house. The wildflowers are beginning to reappear, and when I go out early enough I see the cutest jack rabbits scampering around. They fill my heart with joy.

Playing the piano. I’ve been playing some of my favorite pieces by candlelight in the evenings, letting myself fully appreciate the beauty of the music. Why punish ourselves by limiting our thoughts to pessimism? Appreciating beauty is allowed, and even essential, when dark thoughts are conspiring to dominate our minds.

Dancing. Another great way to exercise alone is to put on some music that makes you want to get up and dance. You can dance or sway any which way; as long as you are moving to the beat you are getting a great workout and releasing endorphins into your brain that will make you feel better. On Tuesday (St. Patrick’s Day!) you might try dancing to some Irish music on Youtube.com or other music sources. Irish music always gets me going!

Sensual pleasures. As long as I am washing my hands all of the time, I am using scented soaps that I love. If you are able to find a scented soap that tickles your fancy, washing your hands will become more enjoyable.

Maintaining a balanced view. I have found this video of a patient from the quarantined cruise ship helpful in giving me a balanced view of this virus:

“For me, the most inspirational people are the ones who put their shoulders up against the wheel of despair and PUSH back really hard — not just once, not just a few times in their lives, but every single day.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, author Eat, Pray, Love

To help cheer you up, here is the sheet music for 🌹Red Is The Rose🌹 (the same tune as the Scottish Loch Lomond) which I posted a few years ago. It think it is one of the most beautiful Irish songs, with beautiful chords and a familiar melody. Even if you have played it before, now would be a good time to enjoy it again! Click to Print:

If you feel like sharing some of what is helping you to cope in these dark days, we would love to hear about it. I look forward to the warmth of spring and am holding onto positive thoughts of our lives returning to normalcy as this virus fades into history, as no doubt it will. Until then, join me in looking for ways to enjoy life within your music and beyond. With love, Gaili

Author, Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to Spark the Mind, Heart and Soul and Songs of the Seasons SPRING:

BOOK 1

March Free Sheet Music: Rhapsody In Blue, pt.2

It’s a gray day here in LA, the best weather for getting cozy with a book (it’s stay home and read a book day!) or some new sheet music for the second page of Rhapsody In Blue. (Click here for pt. 1 if you haven’t yet printed it.)

How are you doing with the first part of the Rhapsody? Tell us where you are in your process so that we can support your progress. As with pt. 1, some passages of pt. 2 have been simplified a bit, but many are in their original state, so it is definitely not an “easy” arrangement. I hope you enjoy playing this gorgeous piece! Stay tuned for pt 3!

CLICK HERE TO PRINT Rhapsody In Blue, pt.2

In case you’d forgotten, 🍀St. Patrick’s Day🍀 is just around the corner! I am practicing my accordion to get ready for upcoming Irish music gigs, and taking out all of my Irish sheet music for students who want to play their green on March 17th! Leave a comment below if you would like me to email some Irish tunes to you between March 1-17th 2020; I have Danny Boy, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, The Irish Washerwoman and others, ready to send to my blog subscribers! Let me know if you prefer simplified or intermediate (sometimes I have 2 versions of an arrangement.)

Also this month is the spring equinox, the day when there are an equal number of daylight and nighttime hours. CLICK HERE to read about spring piano goals and maintaining balance at the piano. This might also be a good time to reread my post called Practice Small about setting small goals for your practice sessions.

I hope you enjoy the warming renewal of spring in the coming weeks. In my walks around the neighborhood I am seeing blooming blue bulbs and purple magnolias, and it fills me with gratitude for all we have to enjoy and experience. With love and music, Gaili

P.S. Here are some of our piano instruction books: Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to Spark the Mind, Heart and Soul, Books 1 and 2; Piano Powered: An Innovative New Piano Method to Power the Brain and Feed the Soul (for adults and children); and Songs of the Seasons: Spring. You can view pages on our website, or click below to view on Amazon.com:

March FREE Sheet Music: Star of the County Down

Kylemore Abbey

It’s March, and I’m enjoying practicing Irish tunes for a few upcoming St. Patrick’s Day gigs. Though I already have two Irish folksongs — Red Is The Rose and Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral — posted on the Free Sheet Music page of the website, I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to offer you one more Irish beauty: Star of the County Down. Van Morrison and The Chieftains made a great recording of it in 1988, but I love when it is played as a slow waltz. I wrote two arrangements, one easy, the other intermediate. 

If you’re a subscriber to my blog, thanks very much! I hope you are finding the practice tips, cognitive science connections, and free sheet music helpful. If you have arrived here via a link from social media, could you take a second to leave a comment telling me where you linked from? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn? To thank you I’ll send you free sheet music for The Irish Washerwoman. My students often play it as a fun exercise in every key! 

PRINT Star of the County Down HERE                                                      (only available through February 2019!)

There is some question as to whether the lyrics are in the public domain so I didn’t include them. But if you would like to have them, click here

Since we’re celebrating the Irish influence in America this month, is there an element of Irish culture that makes your heart sing? Do you have a favorite Irish book (Ulysses, Angela’s Ashes, The Country Girls, Brooklyn, Waiting for Godot, Circle of Friends)? Author (Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Edna O’Brien, Bram Stocker, W.B. Yeats, Maeve Binchy, Oscar Wilde)? Song (Danny Boy, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, She Moved Through The Fair, Si Bheg Si Mor, Rocky Road to Dublin, Lagan Love, Sailor’s Hornpipe)? Band (U2, The Dubliners, The Chieftains, Sinead O’Connor, The Bothy Band, Planxty)? Films (The Quiet Man, The Secret of Kells, The Crying Game, Once, My Left Foot, The Commitments, Waking Ned Devine, Ryan’s Daughter)? There is so much of Irish culture to enjoy. As soon as the Oscars are over I just might have to re-watch The Secret of Roan Inish! That is one of my all-time favorite films, filled with music and magic. 

Next week I will be back in your inbox with some new practice tips from my latest research in learning science. Hope you enjoy the last weeks of winter wherever you are!

With love and music, Gaili

Author, Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to Spark the Mind, Heart and Soul

UpperHandsPiano.com

 

 

Valentine’s Day FREE Sheet Music: Red Is The Rose (intermediate)

UpperHandsPiano.com
UpperHandsPiano.com/blog

As Valentine’s Day is approaching I wanted to find a beautiful love song, and I when I came upon Red Is The Rose, I knew my search was over. Red Is The Rose has the most beautiful melody, which is almost the same as the melody to the Scottish tune, Loch Lomond, but the rhythm is a bit changed and the lyrics are very different. Red Is The Rose is Irish, which means that you can play it not only for Valentine’s Day, but also throughout March for St. Patrick’s Day! There is some question as to whether the tune began in Ireland or Scotland, but it doesn’t really matter– both songs are gorgeous. 

What is it about the Celts that makes them such amazing artists? The music, the poetry, the literature… so much beauty and history! In my travels around Ireland and Scotland I’ve noticed that nearly every child either plays a musical instrument, sings, or does traditional dance. Adult and children’s competitions abound for all three. You can find live music in every pub, and everyone knows and loves the traditional songs. The Scots and Irish hugely influenced music in Northern America since so many immigrated in the 19th century. Here in Southern California we have a Scottish Festival at the RMS Queen Mary this month, and an Irish Fair in June, plus a St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Los Angeles. Seems like we’re all a bit Celtic at heart. 

I have arranged Red Is The Rose for intermediate piano. (If it feels too difficult now, print it out for another time–it will only be available for a year!) It has an intro and an outro and can be played as a solo piece, or to accompany a vocalist. The chord symbols are also included for guitar, bass, etc. You can print the music below, and also watch the video to see the fingering I am using. In the Youtube videos I linked above for Red Is The Rose and Loch Lomond, you will notice that the artists took liberties with the rhythms and notes. You can also feel free to take liberties with this arrangement– express yourself through the music (dynamics, tempo, rhythm) however you feel it. 

PRINT Red Is The Rose HERE (3 pages)                                    (only available through January 2019)

You might also want to print You Made Me Love You on the FREE Sheet Music page from last Valentine’s Day, and other songs and pieces from the past year. 

I hope you will enjoy playing Red Is The Rose, and I hope you will sing it as well. The Irish don’t care if they are singing perfectly in time or in tune. Everyone enjoys singing! Try it- -singing is incredibly therapeutic!

Soon I will begin blogging about practicing tips again– it’s been a busy year with taking classes, teaching teachers, writing books, traveling and teaching my beloved piano students. But I do want to get back to some of the nuts and bolts of playing the piano. Leave a comment and let me know if there are any particular piano technique topics you would like me to discuss. 

I hope Valentine’s Day finds you playing and listening to beautiful music.

With much love, Gaili

P.S.

If you like Red Is The Rose, you might also like the sheet music I posted last September for The Water Is Wide— another gorgeous folk song. 

Gaili Schoen

Author, Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to SPARK the Mind, Heart and Soul

UpperHandsPiano.com