Do you sometimes find it hard to source good-quality arrangements of piano sheet music (especially pop) that your students actually enjoy playing, that actually sound good and that are fun to teach?
Or are you a bit sick of the simplified arrangements of your favourite music (classical, movies, jazz...you name it!) that you find in method books or online and are you ready to explore some new options?
If you're a classically-trained teacher who prefers to teach music with the score and would love to work on more pop, jazz or film music with your students, then you need to check this out.
Noviscore is a completely new breed of 100% legal sheet music download sites that I recently discovered and know that you're going to love!
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Make your piano playing a really fun experience by making the most of the digital piano sheet music available on our website. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced musician, you can view and print sheet music that matches your own personal skill level. Most sheet music includes reading aids to help you with deciphering notes. You can also download an audio excerpt played by a professional pianist to give you musical direction. This will help you understand the piano sheets even better.
There are a few key features that set Noviscore apart from other sheet music sites:
One of the most obvious differences about Noviscore is the quality of arrangement. All pieces are all individually created by their own in-house team of pianists (not just downloaded from elsewhere). Not only do they sound good, they are well laid-out and very playable.
Here's what Noviscore says about its approach:
Regarding our catalogue, we have decided to provide quality and variety of offer (as opposed to volume) for each song. The sheet music we provide has not been simply downloaded from another site and posted up on our own. Each one has been carefully created by us. We are experienced pianists ourselves so we are eager to provide you with piano sheet music of high musical quality that is perfectly adapted to this wonderful instrument: the piano.
Want to see it in action? Watch this video of me explaining the site and how it works:
Finding good written arrangements of current pop music that beginners can play can be a real challenge and that's where Noviscore excels.
Let's say you have a student that really wants to learn Comptine d'un autre été from Amelie.
This is how the original looks:
The left hand is particularly tricky if played correctly and can be a real challenge for students with smaller hands.
Now here's the Level 1 version that is approachable by much more beginner-level learners:
Same key, same great sounds, but a much more approachable arrangement. And of course if this is too simple, you can check out Level 2 which sits between these arrangements.
This is the great benefit of working with Noviscore: not only do you get great arrangements, but you can find simplified ones where they just didn't exist before (or if they did, they were either illegal or terrible anyway!).
Noviscore has developed a couple of great tools to help beginner pianists learn to play music faster. One is "Reading Help" which includes some note names and fingerings on the score which will be of great benefit to students learning piano.
In Level 1, you can also download sheet music with "Note Names", which looks like the real music except notation is replaced by the letter names of the notes.
As a teacher, I wouldn't of course recommend this for use in teaching as it is designed for non-pianists to be able to play with a minimum of instruction.
However where I can possibly see this being useful is when you have a student who loves YouTube tutorials and learning things by themselves, they could potentially enjoy playing a piece that would otherwise be out of their league by learning it through a quasi-notational form rather than just copying someone online.
At least with the Note Names scores, they are starting to get an appreciation of how to read music and the movement of notes up and down the stave, etc.
Here's how the levels and pricing works on the music page:
These prices are similar to other online download sites, if not a bit cheaper. Using the Amelie piece for comparison, here's what the original arrangement costs across the three main sites ($US):
Sheet Music Plus
So while you could buy the original more cheaply on Sheet Music Plus, you will only have access to one version. The only advantage of paying more at MusicNotes is that you can transpose the score to any key.
But in my opinion, it's more than the cost, it's about quality of arrangements and that's where I put Noviscore first, even though it's not the cheapest.
Noviscore doesn't just revolve around pop music either (although admittedly this is where its strength is, in my opinion). On the site, you'll be able to find great arrangements of your favourite Classical, Jazz, Gospel, Ragtime, World, Christmas music and so on, all arranged at three levels of difficulty.
For example, perhaps you'd like to teach Chopin's Waltz in A Minor, but it's just a bit of a stretch for your student. Just head online and check out their Level 1 version:
Other favourite classical arrangements include Moonlight Sonata, Canon in D, Mozart's Piano Concerto No 21 Andante movement, Albinoni's Adagio and so on.
Here's a quick overview of some of the pros and cons of this site:
I get asked quite often how I go about providing pop music for students: do I have a library and lend scores out, do I purchase them and pass on the charges either directly or as part of a monthy/termly/annual charge or do I get the students to buy the music?
Of course, this will depend on your situation, however I find that given that pop music is so particular to a student's tastes, I think it's better to get them to purchase the songs that they want to play, or at least for you to buy it and pass the charge on.
Is it about the layout, the chords, the choice of harmony or just about how easy it is? Leave your thoughts below.
Tim Topham has one mission in life: to stem the tide of children quitting music lessons by helping teachers maximise student engagement through creativity, technology and innovation. Tim hosts the popular Creative Piano Teaching Podcast, 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, Californian Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.
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