Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ANZCA Modern Grade 5 Boogie - Honky-Tonky

This tune is in Ternary form - a piece in three parts. Parts one and three are pretty much the same and part two is sandwiched in between. You might also notice part two is a 12 bar blues fest.

This piece reminds me of a cat playing around for some reason, hence the accompanying pic.

Honky-Tonky - Gerald Martin

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ANZCA Modern Grade 5 Jazz - Jazz Ostinato

An Ostinato refers to the repeating pattern you can hear in the bassline in this particular tune. Ostinatos were big news in Medieval and then Baroque times (we're talking about kinda around the year 1620), but this one is more about cool basslines in a jazz bar. The right hand starts off kinda modest and off-beat, and then gets really fancy by the end. It's all a bit hypnotizing.

Jazz Ostinato - Gerald Martin

ANZCA Modern Grade 5 Blues - St James Infirmary Blues

I like this one. Sad, intense, and with a loud ending. This is a good one if you want to play something super dramatic. It's from the Joy of Boogie and Blues, such a great book.

St James Infirmary Blues - Gerald Martin

Monday, February 6, 2012

ANZCA Modern Grade 5 Latin American - Maracas

This tune's infused with the rhythm of life. Or something. It's a bit peppy and a bit cute.

Maracas - Glenn R Hunter

Friday, February 3, 2012

Grade 6 Joplin Fest

Grade 6 has some of the most famous rags by Scott Joplin. Lots of people will recognise them as soon as you play the opening notes. The Easy Winners is a big favourite of mine.

Check out the story of Joplin's life on Wikipedia. Link here: Scott Joplin's Life

  • The Easy Winners
  • The Entertainer (this is the real version of the simplified Grade 1/Grade 2 piece)
  • Leola
  • Peacherine Rag (this link is a piano player version)
  • Pine Apple Rag
  • Silver Swan Rag - this one is from a piano roll - there are less notes in the real version. Read the notes below the video to get the story as to why.
  • Swipesy

    (image from Muppet wiki)
  • Grade 5 Joplin Fest

    Scott Joplin - basically the guy who invented Ragtime, an icon of American music. If you think about the music they usually use to accompany silent movies, that's pretty much the style Scott Joplin pioneered. While he had his sights set on becoming a classical composer, he's still best known for his 'Rags' - little did he know, he was setting the foundations for popular music all the way up to today.

    There's a bunch of tunes by Scott Joplin on for Grade 5. They just about all sound super impressive and fiddly, but once you get the hang of your first rag, they feel so great and easy to play.

    Here are links to youtube videos of the Joplin rags on for Grade 5:

  • The Cascades
  • Country Club
  • The Favorite
  • Kismet Rag
  • Original Rags
  • Paragon Rag
  • The Strenuous Life
  • Weeping Willow

    (image from Virginia Tech Music Biographies)
  • Thursday, February 2, 2012

    ANZCA Modern Grade 5 Latin American - Not Happy

    This one had to have a grumpy turtle as the mascot. I slow down at the very very end, but you're not actually supposed to... I just got a bit too dramatic there.

    Not Happy - Ian Ladd

    ANZCA Modern Grade 5 Pop/Rock - Fraggle Rock Theme

    It disturbs me that the young of today do not know Fraggle Rock. Here I am, thrilled that the Fraggle Rock Theme is on the Grade 5 piano syllabus, but nobody knows the TV show! I guess it is from the '80s...

    Here's a link to the theme song on youtube: Fraggle Rock Theme. It's pretty groovy. Feel free to learn it for Grade 5!

    Here's the webpage I got the above picture from - it pretty much explains the show and all the characters. Fraggles at

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Note reading help!

    Here's an awesome note reading game/tester thingy for those wanting to sharpen up their skills reading individual notes. Go to 'Settings' and enable bass clef reading to get pro at left hand notes.

    Note Trainer

    Try it out every now and then for a couple of minutes and suddenly you'll be sight reading with waaaaaaaaay less stress.

    (Image: digitalart /

    ANZCA Modern Grade 5 Jazz - Cool Jam

    I managed to learn yet another tune from the ANZCA book today, so here it is, and yes, I do realise the picture contains random jars of lentils, but just go with me on this.

    Cool Jam - Glenn R. Hunter

    ANZCA Modern Grade 5 Jazz - Time's Up

    Here's another one from the ANZCA Modern book, Jazz genre.

    Time's Up - Kerin Bailey

    ANZCA Modern Grade 5 Jazz - Solid

    Here's a tune from the ANZCA Modern Grade 5 book, Jazz genre.

    Solid - David Urquhart-Jones