August Free Sheet Music: Shenandoah

In the last year I’ve been enjoying posting sheet music for beautiful folk songs such as Wayfaring Stranger, Star of the County Down, Red Is The Rose, and The Water Is Wide. Unfortunately I can only keep these arrangements on the website for one year in order to make room for new pieces. So I want you to go and print The Water Is Wide right now! Because 1- It was posted last September and will disappear by September 1st of this year, and 2- It’s one of the most gorgeous pieces ever written and I want you to have it!

Today I have posted an intermediate arrangement of Shenandoah. You can hear it sung by Sissel, and Van Morrison and the Chieftains. You’ll notice that each musician alters the lyrics, melody or chords a bit (which is ok for folk songs), so here is my arrangement with chords that sound a little different; play it as written or feel free to make it your own. Below is also a video performance of my arrangement of Shenandoah.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT SHENANDOAH SHEET MUSIC

Note: I can only keep each free sheet music arrangement on my website for a year. If this title is no longer available on the Free Sheet Music page of my website, please request it by email: upperhandspiano@gmail.com and I will email it to you! Don’t worry, I won’t spam or share your email. 

I apologize for the delay. I usually like to post my free sheet music within the first few days of the month. This month, however, I had multiple guests staying in the room in which my keyboard and music notation computer live, and then I took a lovely vacation to the Pacific Northwest. The photo at the top left is actually not the “wide Missouri” river from the song Shenandoah, but the  Elwha River on the Olympic Peninsula. I had a wonderful time hiking in the Olympic National Forest with my family. Being in nature away from computer screens, cel phones and freeways helps me to reconnect with the deepest part of myself, and reminds me that we are all part of an interdependent ecosystem. I live in Los Angeles which is beautiful in its desert-ish way, but sometimes I long to be in the woods, hearing the sounds of water over rocks:

Olympic National Forest video

Have you been able to travel this summer? Where is your favorite place to unplug and decompress? I hope you enjoy the last weeks of summer, wherever you are. With the fires surrounding the Pacific NW, and the intense heat we have been experiencing in LA, I can’t help but look forward to cooler, wetter days of Autumn. 

With love and music, Gaili

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

Available on Amazon

June Free Sheet Music: Tchaikovsky’s June

Tchaikovsky's June
blog.upperhandspiano.com

I hope you are enjoying luxuriously lengthening days as we launch into summer. My garden is crying out for me to do some much-needed pruning, weeding and watering, but thankfully I can always count on my lavender to thrive without making any demands whatsoever. This is a photo of the gorgeous lavender fields at the lovely Senanque Monastery in Provence, France. My lavender doesn’t look quite like this 🙂 but I can dream…

This month I wanted to share Tchaikovsky’s June with you. It’s a beautiful piece that reflects the June gloominess we experience here in on the California coast. I have simplified it for the early intermediate student who wants to enjoy Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous theme. Some in our piano community believe that we shouldn’t simplify piano literature, but I think it’s inspiring for students to get to be able to play beautiful themes from the masters, as they are learning. And anything that inspires practice is a win in my estimation. This arrangement is from our Songs of the Seasons: SUMMER book, available on Amazon along with our Upper Hands Piano books for older adult students

CLICK  HERE  TO  PRINT:  JUNE                                                 (only available until June 2019)

You might also want to scroll down on the free sheet music page to print last June’s arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon. It will only be available until the end of June, so print it now! (I take down all pieces after a year to make room for new content.)

Speaking of inspiring practice, I am currently engrossed in writing a practice journal for people who need some strategies and words of wisdom and encouragement to keep them on track with their creative practice (I know that I have in the past!) I am loving the process of writing and researching this book, and hope to have it finished by the end of the summer. In the coming weeks I will excerpt some of the pages from the book that best apply to piano students, in hopes that it will help get you to the bench. Do you have any summer goals for your piano practice? Is there a piece you wish to complete, or a skill you would like to improve? Please leave a comment so we can support your goal! 

With love and music, Gaili

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

UpperHandsPiano.com

May FREE Sheet Music: Pavane

Pavane
blog.UpperHandsPiano.com

My dear student Joan requested the beautiful and melodic Pavane by the French composer Gabriel Fauré so I wrote a couple of arrangements for our piano community 🙂 One is exactly like the original, only a bit shorter, and the other I simplified to an early intermediate level. It has been used in many films and television shows so it will probably sound familiar to you. The Pavane is one of those pieces that appeal to both the young and old, so please feel free to share it with your friends, students or other teachers. *** Update! My student pointed out that the Pavane is played in the hiphop hit Paparazzi by Xzibit! Keeping it current 🙂

 

CLICK HERE TO PRINT PAVANE                                                (only available until May 2019)

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Maypole in Los Angeles

Happy May Day! In Europe and Scandinavia May Day was traditionally celebrated with a maypole dance in which neighbors circle around the maypole weaving their ribbons in and out. What might you like to weave into your life this spring? Think about an intention you might set for your practice, and begin each practice session by setting a small goal for a small section of your music, in support of that intention.

I want to remind you to think about your posture when playing the piano. When you want to bend forward, be sure to bend with a straight back. Check-in with your body now and then to make sure you are not curving your back or extending your neck. We tend to hunch over and extend our neck as we age,  (and as we text!) and that can cause “forward head posture”, with its attendant neck and back pain.

I hope you enjoy a lovely May filled with flowers and a few showers, 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

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April Free Sheet Music: Wayfaring Stranger

In light of the fact that we’re having some pretty strange spring weather on both the east and west coasts, and because I have been hearing that you’re enjoying the old folk songs, I decided to arrange another beautiful oldie, called Wayfaring Stranger. This dark tune  which probably originated in the southern Appalachians, has been recorded by many fine artists, many of whom you can watch here. I think my favorite version is Jack White’s:

You can watch a bit of the song as White sung it in the 2003 film, Cold Mountain (starring Renée Zellweger, Nicole Kidman and Jude Law): 

I offered an easy arrangement of Wayfaring Stranger in Upper Hands Piano BOOK 1, and have also re-arranged it for intermediate piano. You can download both, below:

Print Wayfaring Stranger INTERMEDIATE HERE                    (only available through March 2019)

UPDATE- I COULD NOT INCLUDE THE EASY ARRANGEMENT OF WAYFARING STRANGER ON MY NEW WEBSITE. PLEASE EMAIL ME AT upperhandspiano@gmail.com AND I WILL HAPPILY EMAIL IT TO YOU. SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE!

In the intermediate arrangement I tried to simulate some of that mountain guitar sound that Jack White creates, but I have kept the melody to the traditional notes. Here is a video to help you play Wayfaring Stranger, intermediate:

Here are the lyrics to the third verse, which I didn’t include in the sheet music:

I know dark clouds will hover o’er me
I know my pathway is rough and steep
But golden fields lie out before me
Where weary eyes no more will weep
I’m going there to see my Mother
She said she’d meet me when I come
So, I’m just going over Jordan
I am just going over home

You might also want to scroll down on the FREE Sheet Music Page and print a few more songs before they disappear! (They are available for only one year.) If you haven’t already, print The Water Is Wide. It’s such a beautiful song; I want everyone to know it!

I hope Wayfaring Stranger helps you enjoy the final vestiges of cloudy/rainy/snowy moody/gloominess before the dawning of a sunshiny spring!

With love and music, Gaili

Gaili Schoen, Author, Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to Spark the Mind, Heart and Soul (BOOKs 1-4, available on Amazon.com)

UpperHandsPiano.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