For young fingers, Thalia Myers has edited a collection of short piano pieces from Grade 1 to Grade 6 standard. All the music is by living British composers. From Jonathan Harvey's minimal Haiku to Timothy Salter's programmatic Cat being bold at first, there are useful and immensely varied exercises for learners in pedalling, in dexterity, in rhythmic subtlety and, above all, in paying close attention to the nature of the sounds they themselves have made.
CD: Seasons, Psalms and Celebrations By Sheila WilsonChester Music pound;8.95 The Christian year provides the framework for the 12 new songs in this collection. There are pieces specifically appropriate for the Church's major festivals, as well as more general celebrations of the seasons and the works of "our Heav'nly Father."
That elided letter "e" betrays the slight problems with scansion that are to be found here and there in the words.
The music is in a range of vigorous an effective popular styles. The CD provides complete performances as well as backing tracks from which the vocals can be learned. If you are not put off by a version of Psalm 150 ("Let everything that hath breath: Praise the Lord") that says "Ev'ryone shake, rattle and roll", then enliven your assemblies with some brash new sounds.
KEYCLUB: Pupil's Book One. By Ann Bryant. International Music Publications pound;4.95
This is the first part of a new piano course - the next two books and a teachers' and parents' guide are also available. It has a bright and breezy appeal, with animated hedgehogs taking the learner from a succession of simple Cs to five-note pieces for both left and right hand. There are thematic links to the songs, illustrating aspects of children's lives. Young players can also join a club and win stickers for their progress. Lessons take place in an imaginary Keyland; children explore a set of musical experiences that are both invitingly progressive and fun to do.