August Free Sheet Music: Solace

Scott Joplin was one of the most innovative composers in the history of western music. Credited with inventing ragtime music in the 1890s, Joplin composed over 100 pieces before he died at age 48. One of my favorite Joplin pieces is Solace. Though not as popular as The Entertainer or The Maple Leaf Rag, Solace, with the subtitle, A Mexican Serenade, is a slow, reflective piece that expresses a wide range of emotions. You may remember that Solace was featured in the 1973 film, The Sting.

I have arranged the final theme from Solace for early-intermediate piano. As always, remember that the fingering I have printed is only a suggestion. If you find a fingering you like better, cross mine out and write yours in, in order to keep your fingering consistent.

CLICK to PRINT Solace

Here’s a demonstration video of my early-intermediate arrangement of Solace

If my arrangement is too difficult for you to play, just play the top notes of the treble staff; that way you will still enjoy Joplin’s beautiful melody without the difficulty of playing two right hand notes at a time. If you are a more advanced pianist and would like to play Joplin’s original sheet music, click below:

Photo of breakfast tray with flowers

I hope that playing the piano is providing some solace for you. Sometimes a tasty meal, a cutting of flowers, or a beautiful melody can lift our spirits and remind us that a world of beauty surrounds us. What are you doing to self-care?

Have you been playing any of the French music or the Swan Lake arrangement I posted last month? Please tell us about your progress in the comments below!

With love and music, Gaili

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

August Free Sheet Music: Für Elise (simplified) and Take Me Out To The Ball Game

© Louie Schoeman – Dreamstime.com

Last month Upper Hands Piano blog subscriber Colin commented on my blog post asking for a simplified arrangement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Für Elise (thanks for your comment Colin!) While I did simplify it, this is not an “EASY” piece; if I had to rank this arrangement I would place it at late beginner level. Für Elise is in the key of A minor, and it is full of drama 🎭 switching between a dark, pensive moodiness, and a light joyful frolic. Für Elise is translated from German as “For Elise,” and there is much mystery surrounding the identity of “Elise!” Though it is one of his most popular pieces Beethoven wasn’t quite satisfied with Für Elise in his lifetime, even after his later revisions; it was not published until almost 40 years after his death in 1827. When you are playing Für Elise try to connect to strong emotions you experience in your life to make the piece come alive.

CLICK to print FÜR ELISE

On the same web page you will also find other free sheet music from the past 11 months. Each piece will only be available for a year, so print whatever you might like to play, now.

If you have previously played Für Elise I want to offer you another free song for August. In celebration of how well my home team is performing this year– the Los Angeles Dodgers — I am including Take Me Out To The Ball Game, from Upper Hands Piano, BOOK 3. Click on the black box below to Download:

If you are new to this blog, you might want to check out some of the former posts you see listed on the right side of my blog. Subscribers tell me that they have found these posts to be particularly helpful:

Practice Small

The Best Ways To Practice Using The Latest Brain Research

When Should You Be Practicing?

If you are a teacher and are new to teaching adults over 50 with Upper Hands Piano Books, email me a for Tips for Teachers materials and I’ll be happy to send them to you: UpperHandsPiano@gmail.com. Here are some of the books on my website as well as Amazon.com (below) if you would like to learn more about them:

Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to Spark the Mind Heart and Soul, BOOKs 1-4

Upper Hands Piano: Songs of the Seasons (Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring)

I hope you are finding this blog to be helpful in your piano playing and teaching. If you have an issue related to playing the piano that you would like me to address, please leave it in the comments below and I will try to address it. Thanks for subscribing, and have a happy August! With love and music, Gaili

Treble Staff Ledger Lines: Free Worksheets

©Alexey Arkhipov Dreamstime.com

A couple of month ago I posted worksheets for learning bass ledger lines, and this month I wanted to follow up with worksheets for learning treble staff ledger lines. In both sets of worksheets I use octaves to help the brain grasp where the notes fall on the keyboard. It really helps to orient yourself on the staff and keyboard when you play notes you know, alongside the notes you might just be guessing at. These treble staff worksheets will train your brain to recognize the notes from three ledger lines below the staff (F3), up to three ledger lines above the staff (E6). I didn’t use numbers such as A4 on the treble worksheets because there is so much confusion about octave numbers. Some editors call the lowest key on a standard piano A0 and others call it A1. In my Upper Hands Piano instruction books for Adults 50+, I call the lowest note on the piano A1, which makes middle C, C4, because that seems to be the system most agreed upon. If you find the key numbers confusing don’t worry about learning them. They are just a learning tool, and work better for some than for others. Practice these treble note worksheets a few lines at a time, eventually playing all the lines from 1-16 at one sitting.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT TREBLE STAFF LEDGER LINES WORKSHEETS

I hope you are still able to play your piano in these dog days of summer. It is hot and humid here in Southern California, but of course it has not been nearly as bad as in many cities around the world this week.

In a few days I will be posting the free sheet music for August- I have arranged a few classical favorites that my blog followers have requested in their comments. I love getting your requests! Keep in mind that I can only post songs and pieces written before 1924 (i.e. in the public domain), for free.

Have you set an intention to learn a certain song or piece this summer? Let us know what you are playing so that we can support your efforts! Stay cool, with love and music, Gaili

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

P.S. If you have a GMAIL account and would like for these posts to come to your Primary mailbox instead of your Promotions mailbox, just drag the (unopened) email up left into your Primary tab, and, and they will arrive in your Primary mailbox forevermore 😎

July Free Sheet Music: Cello Suite No. 1

One of my favorite pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach is his Cello Suite No. 1. It was popularized in the 2009 film, The Soloist, about a reporter (Robert Downey Jr.) who writes a story about a schizophrenic homeless cellist (Jamie Foxx) who had once been a music student at Juilliard.

The Cello Suite No. 1 is so beautiful and captivating, I wondered if I could arrange it for piano. Since it is in the cello’s range, I put both hands in bass staves. It will feel strange playing bass notes in both hands, but it is a great means to practicing reading bass notes, and because it is so different than what you are used to, it provides a particularly potent brain workout. I divided the melody line many ways, testing it over and over until I found which hand worked best for each note. The notes in the upper staff are played with the right hand, and the notes in the lower staff are played with the left. I provided a lot of fingering, but as always, if you find a fingering you like better, or prefer to switch notes to the other hand, feel free to make changes– just remember to stay consistent with fingering and hand assignments! You can also add dynamics as you feel them.

PRINT Bach’s SUITE NO. 1

Here’s a demonstration of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1, arranged for piano:

Please leave a comment and let our community know what your experience is playing this piece. Are you enjoying it? Does it feel extremely challenging, or are you finding it easy to play?

Remember I post free sheet music for only a year. If you are reading this after June 2020, the sheet music will be gone. You can email me at upperhandspiano@gmail.com to request a copy. You might also want some of the favorites I have had to take down recently- sheet music for The Water Is Wide, Clair de lune, or the July 4th favorite, Yankee Doodle Dandy! Just send me an email and I’ll send it to you asap.

How is your summer going so far? My little garden is extremely happy these days. We had a good rainy winter this year, so my hydrangeas are finally showing me what they can do! And I am finding new creative ways to use my abundant zucchini crop (don’t gardeners just love to brag?! Since my children live in NY and I don’t have any pets at the moment, I’m focusing my motherly attention on my plants 😆).

If you are new to this blog, I hope you’ll check out our instructional books called Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to SPARK the Mind, Heart and Soul, on our website. Or click on the links below to view Upper Hands Piano method books and Songs of the Seasons: SUMMER, and AUTUMN, on Amazon.com. Thanks for your support, and enjoy the Cello Suite! With love and music, Gaili

June Free Sheet Music: Tico Tico

Tico Tico

I recently came upon the song Tico Tico in a book of songs played by the French Gypsy jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt, and fell in love with it. Tico Tico is a spicy Brazilian Samba in a minor key, with a dark, dramatic, sexy rhythmic feel.

Here is a guitarist playing Tico Tico, and I love this version by the Andrews Sisters!

My arrangement is not easy, but worth the effort if you are an intermediate student or beyond. I have included fingering for nearly every note, because as we piano teachers know, if you want to play fast, first learn your pieces slowly with good, consistent fingering! (Feel free to change the fingering if you would like, but play it slowly enough so that you can learn your fingering correctly right from the start.)

I love world music and think it is great for students to experience playing melodies and rhythms from non-western music.

CLICK HERE to print TICO TICO

On our Free Sheet Music page you will also see 11 other pieces from the last 12 months. Please print whatever appeals to you today, as each piece can only be posted for a year. If you are reading this and Tico Tico is no longer available, please contact me though my website: UpperHandsPiano.com, and I can send you a copy.

Here is a very old arrangement I found for Tico Tico- it has Russian writing on it, so I guess it has found popularity all over the world! This original music features a growly moving bass line that might fun to play for advanced students:

I hope you are enjoying a warm June weekend, wherever you are.

What’s one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.

-Gertrude Jekyll

If you plan on taking a vacation and don’t wish to lose ground on your piano progress, read my post called The Think System, about how you can maintain your piano skills whether you are in flight or enjoying a luxurious day on the beach

If you are new to this blog, welcome! And thanks for joining us. I have written a series of piano instruction books called Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to Spark the Mind, Heart and Soul, as well as piano songbooks called Songs of the Seasons. You can check them out below or on my website.

Happy young summer, and let me know what you think of Tico Tico! With love and music, Gaili

September Free Sheet Music: Clair de lune

Clair de lune

I have had many requests for easy sheet music to Debussy’s Clair de lune, and so have transposed it to C and simplified it for the intermediate piano student. I have also arranged a one-page EASY version of Clair de lune for the beginner.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT Clair de lune (intermediate and/or easy)

Note: I can only keep each free sheet music arrangement on my website for a year. But I have reissued it here.

Here is a performance of this intermediate arrangement of Clair de lune:

Clair de lune, (translation: “moonlight”) is the third movement from the Suite bergamasque by French composer Claude Debussy. It has been featured in many films for its beautiful, emotive quality. I have written in fingering, but as always it is only a suggestion, and you can change it per your own comfort.

Labor Day feels like the beginning of the end of summer. Are you sorry to feel the air chilling and the days shortening? Autumn is my favorite season so I am happily anticipating the days ahead. Perhaps you or your students can learn Clair de lune to play for your family on Thanksgiving! Remember that sharing your music is a gift to your loved ones, and planning to play for an event is a great way to get motivated to practice. 

For those of you new to my blog, let me tell you quickly that I am a piano teacher of over 30 years, who has spent the last decade doing research on how the brain learns and retains musical information. I’ve used principles of the learning sciences to write a series called Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to Spark the Mind, Heart and Soul (available on Amazon.com), and am currently writing a series called Piano Powered, for children and young adults. I have an article coming out in the magazine American Music Teacher soon about teaching older adults, with an article about the best ways to learn and retain music, to follow. 

Thanks for subscribing to my blog. Feel free to request simplified sheet music for pieces you love (written before 1923!) and reach out with your questions, comments, observations and celebrations. I love to hear from you! With love and music, Gaili

Gaili Schoen

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

UpperHandsPiano.com

PianoPowered.com

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

July Free Sheet Music: Triumph of Time and Truth plus new WEBSITE and BLOG

blog.upperhandspiano.com
Arc de Triumph

In these troubled times, listening to and playing beautiful music helps us stay positive, empathetic and receptive. One of my favorite pieces is the gorgeous [listen:] Aria – Sarabande from Handel’s Triumph of Time and Truth. There is much pain and searching, but ultimately love and hope triumphs. I have adapted this piece for piano in both a short and long form. The first page is the short arrangement, and pages 2-4 contain the full piece. 

CLICK TO PRINT TRIUMPH OF TIME AND TRUTH                 (only available until July 2019)

Those of you who have been following Upper Hands Piano’s blog will notice that I have a new look to my website! It has been quite a laborious experience constructing the new site. I have an aversion to learning computer technology, but I know that it is important for my brain to learn new, difficult tasks, so I have soldiered on and triumphed as well!

Two problems remain:

I had to change my blog address. It is now blog.upperhandspiano.com.

The other problem:

Most of the links from previous blogs no longer work. In the coming weeks I will open each post and reload the links, but if you encounter a problem with a link before I can get to it, please send me an email at UpperHandsPiano@gmail.com and I will send you the sheet music or other link directly. I apologize for this glitch- I didn’t realize when I changed servers that I would lose my blog address.

On the free sheet music page, look through the other piano arrangements and see if there are any additional titles you might like to print as they are only posted for a year. Some favorites that will soon be deleted are Fascination (August) and The Water Is Wide (September). Please let me know hat you think of the new website! Or let me know if you encounter any issues with this blog or features on the site. 

May you have a joyful July 4th celebration and enjoy the fruits of summer. 

With love and music, Gaili

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

UpperHandsPiano.com 

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