It’s sad that so many teachers stick only to the AMEB grade books when there is so much great music out there, and quite a few gems are already listed in the syllabus under the “Manual List” for each grade.
The only problem is, unless you learned those pieces when you were a kid, it’s difficult to know what’s good without listening to them all on youtube!
Hence my post today… my aim today is to recommend some of the “manual list” pieces (i.e. pieces that students may present for an exam that aren’t currently in the published exam books) for each grade that I believe are excellent teaching pieces and that my students have enjoyed playing (the most important thing!).
Please take the time to watch these on youtube if you are unfamiliar with them – you may find some gems that really suit your teaching style!
Another great reference for pianists and teachers (although not related to exams) is Jane Magrath’s Piano Teaching and Performance Repertoire.
This is a summary of pretty much all the great piano pieces written in the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods that would suit students up to about AMEB Grade 8 level.
The book is sorted by period and composer and has very detailed notes and recommendations, including approximate level of difficulty.
Anyway, back to my list!
Please note I haven’t listed all the details about each piece, rather I’ve just given enough information for you to find them on the syllabus (pls excuse any spelling mistakes – took a while to type!). Let me know your thoughts! Level 2 pieces to come…
Milne – Chase – LIST C
Norton – Struttin – LIST C (great fun – all my kids like it)
Duvernoy – Moderato No 3 – LIST A
Steibelt – Adagio – LIST B
Bartok – Toyshop Tune, The Lost Cat – LIST C (good for something different)
Shostakovich – March No 1 – LIST C
Duvernoy – Study No 4 and no 15 – LIST A
Kabalevsky – A little fable – LIST A
Purcell arr Milne – Air in D minor – LIST A
Attwood – Sonatina – LIST B
Beethoven – movements from Sonatina in G Major – LIST B (I prefer the 1st movement, but both are similar)
Lichner – various – LIST B (worth looking into)
Bartok – Gypsy Dance – LIST C (this is my all-time Grade 2 favourite. Boys love it), also The Vagabond
Gillock – I like Gillock generally but haven’t investigated these yet. Worth looking into. LIST C
Kabalevsky – Night on the River – LIST C
Norton – Foot Tapper is a huge winner, Skipping Rope and Cheeky also good – LIST C
Bach – Praembulum and Preludes listed – LIST A
Bertini – Study in D major – LIST A
Duvernoy – Allegretto in A Minor – LIST A
Heller – Study in C major No 1 – LIST A
Norton – all are great fun!! – LIST C
Bach – invention 1 and 4 – LIST A
Burgmuller – L’hirondelle – LIST A
Kabalevsky – Etude in A Minor – LIST A
Bartok – Tanzlied – LIST C
Goedicke – Miniature – LIST C
Norton – any listed! Favourites are Rhapsody and Habanera (but they are tricky). Haiku and Wombling – LIST C
Shostakovich – Clockwork Doll – excellent as program music, fun for kids – LIST C
I found some more great articles about choices for AMEB exams at the pianopiano blog:
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.