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Many people know Bolcom for his "Graceful Ghost Rag," which I hope to tackle someday. I feel an affinity for William Bolcom because we share a city of birth (Seattle) and a birthday (recently), although he had a head start! He is 81 and, AFAIK, still composing and performing. Looking for lesser-known but accessible repertoire, I came across the "Seven Easy Pieces for Piano" that he wrote for his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, when she began to learn piano.
Can anyone suggest similar repertoire, by Bolcom or others, that would be engaging but not formidably challenging for someone in their first few years of learning piano?
If you like more contemporary pieces, you might be interested in Brubeck’s Nocturnes. They have a lot of accidentals so I would put them at an early to mid- intermediate level. All of the pieces are short.
I recently performed GGR at piano camp last month. I had started learning it about 4 years ago, got stuck, and then came back to it about 8 months ago. RCM grades it a 10. Like you said, it’s a piece you have to work your way up to. You need to be able to confidently play many many early advanced level pieces representing different styles before you can play GGR.
Re: Appreciating William Bolcom
[Re: Sam S]
#2862143 06/23/1909:53 PM06/23/1909:53 PM
The 7 Easy Piano Pieces "for Joan" start quite simple but ramp up; I'm preparing the first four for a performance class (a.k.a. piano party) in a few weeks. Well, maybe 3 of them. Well, maybe two. Well, maybe just no. 3 "Little Song"! It has been fun: my teacher and I are both finding them quite interesting. Even the simple ones have very clever and unexpected rhythms and harmonies. But I know it is a LOOOONG way from there to Graceful Ghost Rag! May I live long enough....
I'm also trying to track down sheet music for "Sleeping Cat" by Alan Hovhaness (another composer with a Seattle connection). It has apparently been in ABSRM grade 1 books at some time in the past. Anybody got a hint for where I could find it?
PianoGrlNW thank you for suggesting the Brubeck Nocturnes! I have listened to a few and they are right up my alley. There is so much great music out there to hear and to learn … anybody have more suggestions?
The University of Iowa Piano Pedagogy channel on Youtube is a fantastic resource. One of the key people behind that project is our very own Kreisler, and he explains the categorisation in his post that I've linked to below