When I was growing up, we had to go to the library to hear various recordings of our pieces. With technology, it is much easier to access various performances of pieces - but only some pieces. I have decided to record my exploration through student repertoire that hasn't received as much screen time (or any at all)...First up: Conservatory Canada's Pre-Grade 1 repertoire.
This summer, I bought Practice Personalities: What's Your Type? by Thornton Cline in the hopes of gaining new information to help my music students practice more efficiently.
A look at Paul D. Sayre's Beginning major scales Technique & Theory Workbook. Smart design and text, I can see it meeting the needs of certain groups of students and look forward to the release of the next book in the series.
A look at four tools that I have come across in my attempt to help my piano students understand chords, key signatures and the Circle of Fifths better.
My first impressions on the Piano Teacher's Resource Kit.
You may be intimidated the first time you crack open a fake book. However, if you're familiar with (or at least willing to learn) your chords, then that's half the battle. A fake book contains pieces written out in lead sheet form. That is, you see the melody and chord symbols written above:
The idea is that you "fake" - or create - your own accompaniment. Throw down a pop groove on "Happy Birthday" one day. The next day, you could play it in ragtime style.The possibilities are endless.
Plus, with the music condensed in this format, you can have hundreds of songs in one book. It's so much easier to bring one fake book to a gig than 10 music books.
These are some of the fake books that I've collected over the years. They are also the ones I shared with my fellow music teachers when I did a presentation to the Piano Pedagogy Group last month:
Fake Books for Beginner to Intermediate Students:
Everything is in C Major. For an added challenge, you can ask your students to transpose them into other keys once they've learned the pieces.
|look inside||Your First Fake Book Arranged by Alexander Citron. For Guitar, Piano, Keyboard. Hal Leonard Fake Books. Vocal Standards and Pop. Difficulty: easy-medium. Fakebook (leadsheet notation). Vocal melody, lyrics, leadsheet notation and chord names. 158 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.240112) (7) ...more info|
|look inside||The Easy Christmas Fake Book - 2nd Edition (100 Songs in the Key of C). By Various. For C Instruments, Melody/Lyrics/Chords. Easy Fake Book. 160 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.240209) (7) ...more info|
There are other books as well, such as gospel and country.
Fake Books for Intermediate to Advanced Students as well as Music Teachers:
|look inside||The Disney Fake Book - 3rd Edition By Various. For Guitar, Piano/Keyboard, Vocal, C Instruments. Hal Leonard Fake Books. Disney. Difficulty: easy-medium. Fakebook (spiral bound). Vocal melody, lyrics and chord names. 288 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.240039) (6) ...more info|
|look inside||The Best Fake Book Ever - C Edition - 4th Edition (C Edition). By Various. For Guitar, Piano, C Instruments, Keyboard. Hal Leonard Fake Books. Difficulty: medium. Fake book. Vocal melody, lyrics and chord names. 856 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.290239) (16) ...more info|
Tip: Get the full-sized version. I first bought the mini-version and that was useless at gigs since the print was too tiny and I was playing in a dimly lit area.
I really like how the songs are listed by era as well as in alphabetical order.
|look inside||The Ultimate Christmas Fake Book - 4th Edition (for Piano, Vocal, Guitar, Electronic Keyboard & All C Instruments). By Various. For Piano/Keyboard. Hal Leonard Fake Books. Christmas. Difficulty: easy-medium to medium. Fake book. Vocal melody, lyrics and chord names. 157 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.240045) (17) ...more info|
I now take this book to gigs but will sometimes sneak in the Reader's Digest Merry Christmas Songbook when I don't want to think too hard.
This jazz fake book has been recommended to me by several gigging musicians:
|look inside||Just Jazz Real Book - C Edition (C Edition). By Various. For Melody/Lyrics/Chords. Fake Book. Fake Book. Jazz. Difficulty: easy-medium to medium. Fakebook. Vocal melody, lyrics, chord names, black & white photos, discography and introductory text. 400 pages. Hal Leonard #FBM0003. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.321416) (5) ...more info|
This is listed on Conservatory Canada's Contemporary Idioms Syllabus. However, these are best used in a combo situation. Personally, I find using a fake book to play Latin music in a solo situation pretty challenging - for now:
|look inside||The Latin Real Book - C Edition (C Edition). By Various. Arranged by Chuck Sher. For C Instruments, Melody/Lyrics/Chords. Latin Jazz and Latin. Difficulty: easy-medium to medium. Fakebook (spiral bound). Melody and chord names. 572 pages. Published by Sher Music Company (HL.240138) (2) ...more info|
This may seem odd, but as my jazz piano instructor, Derek Stoll told me, it really doesn't matter what you play so long as people hear the tune and the chords are right:
|look inside||Classical Fake Book (Over 850 Classical Themes and Melodies in their Original Keys). By Various. For Guitar, Piano, Piano/Keyboard, Melody/Lyrics/Chords. Hal Leonard Fake Books. Classical Period. Difficulty: easy-medium. Fakebook (spiral bound). Standard notation, chord names and vocal melody (on some songs). 646 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.240044) (8) ...more info|
Useful at wedding gigs!
|look inside||Wedding & Love Fake Book - C Edition (5th Edition). By Various. For Melody/Lyrics/Chords. Hal Leonard Fake Books. Love and Wedding. Difficulty: easy-medium. Fakebook. Vocal melody, lyrics and chord names. 480 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.240041) (6) ...more info|
A few of my students past purchased these fake books and have enjoyed them:
|look inside||The Ultimate Pop/Rock Fake Book - In C (4th Edition). By Various. By Various. For Guitar, C Instruments, Piano/Vocal. Hal Leonard Fake Books. Pop Rock, Rock and Pop. Difficulty: easy-medium. Fake book. Vocal melody, lyrics and chord names. 584 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.240099) (28) ...more info|
|look inside||The Praise & Worship Fake Book (An Essential Tool for Worship Leaders, Praise Bands and Singers!). By Various. For C Instruments. Hal Leonard Fake Books. Worship. Difficulty: easy-medium to medium. Fakebook (spiral bound). Vocal melody, lyrics and chord names. 432 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.240234) (20) ...more info|
I recently purchased the Praise & Worship one. I should use that for sight reading.
Pianists - make sure you buy the "C" edition fake books!
If you need some guide books on how to read lead sheets, check out my earlier post, Jazz Music and Improvisation Guide Books.
Hooray! It's the last week of lessons. My students and I are looking forward to some time off. This week, they've all heard me stress the importance of doing some music practice during the summer so they don't waste the time, effort and money that they, their parents and I as their teacher have invested throughout the year.
The following are some of the "fun music" suggestions I have given them to make their "Summer Learning Projects" as enjoyable as possible:
- Star Wars: A Musical Journey Episodes I-VI (Available in 5 Finger Melodies, Easy Piano and Advanced. Also available for other instruments.)
- New Moon - The Twilight Saga (Piano Solo) also available in Easy Piano
- Harry Potter Magical Music
- Glee (P/V/G and Easy Piano)
- Disney Fake Book
I also compiled a listing of websites in a recent article Where to Find Free Piano Music Online (new link to come). An honourable mention goes out to Piano Squall's website with loads of video game and anime theme songs. I wanted to put his site on the list but there are constraints on article length.
(c) 2010 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada.