I first met Perth-based teacher and composer Jo Kotchie at the APPC conference in 2011. In July this year, we reconnected in relation to the presentation I was giving at the APPC in Toowoomba titled “Fast and Furious: Techniques and Repertoire for Boys” which inspired this blog series.
Jo has written a huge amount of music which has been picked up by Australian publishers Wirripang and is found on a number of exam syllabi including ANZCA and AMEB.
Most of her pieces that suit boys are around 1st – 3rd grade level which is perfect for teachers taking on new students around ages 10-12 and into the start of their teenage years. In my selection, I’ve mainly chosen pieces around Grade 1-3 level plus a few preliminary level – perfect for boys starting to learn in Year 7 and needing some cool music as they hit Year 8/9!
As well as the above links to Wirripang, Jo has her own website www.songrealm.com, featuring sample pages and recordings. To purchase her music, please head to her catalogue on the Wirripang website. I’d also recommend reading her APPC 2013 conference presentation handout for more information on her recent projects, music and collections.
The appeal of Jo’s music for boys is in the imaginative titles and tempo/performance indications (like “mysteriously and with a sense of trepidation” or “stealthily” or “with attitude”) as well as the rhythms, harmonies, use of the full keyboard and plenty of driving 5ths and rhythmic LH patterns. Title fonts are also appealing (surprisingly important for boys) and the typesetting is clear and teen-oriented (ie. no funny pictures, normal print size, etc.).
So, here’s my top-10! Click song title for PDF sample and recordings (where available).
Sorry – my uploader split the video into two files!
Of course, narrowing a composer’s output down to 10 pieces is really difficult, and I’ve had to leave out plenty of quality pieces, so please use this as an introduction to Jo’s music more than a definitive list!
Let me know if you’ve taught Jo’s music before and what you think of the above suggestions!
Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at topmusic.co and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.