Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Building My Music LIbrary: Popular Repertoire

While some of my students claim to have no idea what they'd like to get out of piano lessons, most students come to their lessons with a playlist in mind- a list of songs they'd really love to be able to play on the piano. The reason behind the request can be something as simple as the fact that they heard the song on the radio, on TV, or in a movie, or maybe it's a song that was a favorite of someone special to them. Whatever the reason, I always try to honor those special requests whenever possible.

Over time, it seems that more and more students are requesting popular titles over classical or sacred music. Unfortunately, the majority of the repertoire I currently own is classical or sacred! ;) So over the next few years I hope to build a good collection of additional repertoire for my lending library that students can borrow. Why buy for my personal collection rather than make the student buy the book? For the simple reason that they usually are only interested in one song from the book, and I hate to make they buy an entire book for one song. Plus, this gives me a good core of popular music to draw from for future requests.

I've been taking baby steps toward this goal by buying a few books here or there when requests are made- seeking solid repertoire that I know will be an asset to other students as well.

Some of my favorite recent acquisitions have come from the Hal Leonard Supplementary Collections. I have a student who eats up any broadway musical tunes, so the Broadway and Movie Collection was perfect for her. Another student who has been requesting some Disney music will benefit from these books as well.

I've also been making use of some of Alfred's 5 Finger Piano books for my youngest students. Harry Potter has been requested frequently, and the 5 Finger Movie Heroes collection has music from Harry Potter as well as Star Wars (another frequent request).

I'm always looking for good suggestions for my lending library- especially as it's still in its infancy. Any suggestions out there for great collections of popular music? Broadway or movie hits?


  1. I purchased "Today's Hits" arranged by Mona Rejino and have used it with many students. It is intermediate level and the arrangements are very pianistic which can be a problem with pop music. The favorite song so far is "She Will Be Lved" by Moroon 5.
    By the way, I have separated my personal blog from my piano posts. Please join me at www.busybpiano.blogspot.com

  2. Just went to the Alfred workshop in Rockville, MD (Maybe you were there?). Loved their Gershwin and Joplin collections. Also they have a Justin Bieber and a Kelley Clarkson song in their Pop and Movie Hits Level 3.

  3. The books I purchased have several arrangements by Mona Rejino, and I agree that they are well-arranged. I'll have to check the "Today's Hits" series.

    Valerie- thanks for your suggestions as well! I have several students who really enjoy Joplin, so I'll have to look into that collection.