August Free Sheet Music: Moonlight Sonata pt. 2 (transposed to E minor)

As promised I have posted Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (transposed to E minor) pt. 2 on my website today. Have you been playing pt. 1 during the last month? How is it going for you? Do you feel ready to move on to the second half of the piece? If not, no problem, print it today and start it whenever you feel ready. Practicing pieces in small sections is the best way to gain deep learning.

PRINT Moonlight Sonata pt. 2

Remember, I post my free sheet music for just 1 year, so print today! After a year you can purchase this arrangement on Sheet Music Plus.

In case you missed it, you can visit my July post to print Moonlight Sonata pt. 1, watch a demonstration video for pt. 1 of this arrangement, or print the original sheet music. Here is a demonstration video for today’s pt. 2, pages 3-6 I count it off in case you would like to play with me:

In other news, this week I am presenting as well as attending seminars at the National Conference for Keyboard Pedagogy, an online conference for piano teachers. It is inspiring and stimulating to share techniques, ideas and stories with other piano teachers! At this morning’s session one presenter shared this gorgeous poem by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, an abolitionist, suffragist poet, born in 1825:

Let me make the songs for the people, Songs for the old and young; Songs to stir like a battle-cry  Wherever they are sung.

Not for the clashing of sabres, For carnage nor for strife; But songs to thrill the hearts of men  With more abundant life.

Let me make the songs for the weary, Amid life’s fever and fret, Till hearts shall relax their tension,  And careworn brows forget.

Let me sing for little children, Before their footsteps stray, Sweet anthems of love and duty,  To float o’er life’s highway.

I would sing for the poor and aged, When shadows dim their sight; Of the bright and restful mansions,  Where there shall be no night.

Our world, so worn and weary, Needs music, pure and strong, To hush the jangle and discords Of sorrow, pain, and wrong.

Music to soothe all its sorrow, Till war and crime shall cease; And the hearts of men grown tender Girdle the world with peace.

With that I bid you a you a wonder-ful August, and enjoy tonight’s full moon! 🌝🌝🌝

With love and music, Gaili

Check out my website and my piano method and song books for adults over 50:

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:

June Free Sheet Music: Nocturne from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

📷 by David Holifield

Felix Mendelssohn wrote his Overture (Op. 21) for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1826 when he was just 17 years old, to great acclaim. Sixteen years later in 1842 he completed the score for the play (op. 61) to include his famous Wedding March and this gorgeous Nocturne which celebrates summer, marriage, fairies, nature and dreams.

CLICK TO PRINT A Midsummer Night’s Dream NOCTURNE

Demonstration of Nocturne from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

If you have used my Upper Hands Piano method books for adults over 50, you played the first page of my Nocturne arrangement in Book 4. However I have now expanded that arrangement to include some extra harmonies and the 2nd section of theme.

This is an intermediate arrangement. Beginners can play the top note in the treble staff- that is the melody line.

For the original sheet music click below:

I hope you are enjoying the increased hours of daylight! The summer solstice (and longest day of the year) is June 20th this year, and Midsummer Night is traditionally celebrated on June 23rd. If you start practicing today, you can play this Nocturne then!

Are you becoming more social after being vaccinated? I am loving getting together with friends and family I haven’t seen since March. There is so much joy in the ordinary pleasures of life. I am continuing to do porch concerts with neighbors and can feel that I am getting better at playing my accordion. I just got my piano tuned and am enjoying playing through this Nocturne as well as some old jazz standards I’ve wanted to learn. What are you playing right now? What are you struggling with in your music? Please leave us a comment, question or observation?!!

Have you been playing the Exercises in Thirds I recently posted? I’ve heard from a few students and piano teachers that the exercises are really helping students play with increased skill and speed, so I hope you will check them out!

Happy June, and have a happy, healthy summer. 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: 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

(Note: this sheet music will only be available for 1 year)

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

(Note: After June 2020 you may request this free sheet music by email: upperhandspiano@gmail.com)

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

(Note: After May 2020 you may request this free sheet music by commenting below or sending me an email: upperhandspiano@gmail.com)

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