27/60 Active Repertoire

A recent post on www.pianodao.com reminded me that I had meant to do something about “active repertoire”

If you go here;


you can read all about it, and track back to the first post on this subject. The idea is that everyone,  Рthat is you, and your students, should have a couple of pieces which can be performed confidently, without music, at the drop of a hat, anywhere, any occasion.

So much of what we are learning is “in progress” and therefore not ready for a public outing.

I remember, when I was about eight, the rather old-fashioned and intimidating father of a school friend insisting that I should have a “party piece” to be able to perform on demand. “Mine’s the ‘Cake-Walk’ by Debussy”, he announced, and promptly sat down (at his beautiful Bluthner grand) and played it. “Now, what can you play,” he asked? and I legged it – too shy.

Now I usually play “Solfegietto” by C P E Bach in these kind of circumstances; short and flashy. or Kabalevsky “Little Story” from his Children’s Pieces if something more cantabile would be more appropriate. It doesn’t want to be too long, or too “intellectual”, or too stressful for the performer or listener. They don’t really want ten minutes of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, whatever Lucia¬† in the E F Benson books thought;

-from “Queen Lucia” by E F Benson;

…Perhaps as they softly assembled for departure, a little music would be suggested to round off the evening, and she saw herself putting down the soft pedal as people rustled into their places, for the first movement of the “Moonlight Sonata.” Then at the end there would be silence, and she would get up with a sigh, and someone would say “Lucia mia”! and somebody else “Heavenly Music,” …

My grandmother’s 90-year-old piano teacher, when I visited her back in the 1960s, taught me to pick out “God Save The Queen” on her ancient upright (I think she might have said “God Save The King”!) because “you never know when you might need it”.

As a priority, I shall make sure that everyone can play a minimum of “Happy Birthday”, a Christmas carol, and one of their old pieces by the end of this half of term. Starting with me.

Poppy divider

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