If you have free time over the summer, you may want to search for some new music to start learning. Summer holidays can be a great time for learning music since there is often more time than usual not just for practising, but for listening to music. Regardless of whether or not you’re taking lessons over the summer, I encourage all music students to practise at least a little and also take the time to listen to some music over the summer break. If you can, try to see a live performance. During the year, students are often learning pieces chosen by their teacher or pieces that are in their graded lesson books. So, in the summer it can be fun learning a new piece that you choose yourself! Maybe there’s a piece you heard another student play at a recital that you loved, something you’ve heard in a recording that you want to try, or music from a movie or TV show you’re interested in playing. If you’re a piano student and looking for a little inspiration, I’ve put together a list of what I think are the most beautiful piano pieces. This is only my opinion, of course! But I recommend listening to these pieces and, if you’re able, to start practising your favourite one over the summer break. Or if you prefer something easier or more upbeat, listen to other music and come up with your own list of pieces, and start playing one to make your summer practice more fun!
Beautiful pieces you will love playing on the piano:
- The Song of Twilight by Yoshinao Nakada.Written by Japanese composer Yoshinao Nakada (1923-2000), this piece from Japanese Festival (in Piano Pieces for Children) can also be found in the RCM Celebration Series Level 3 Piano Repertoire book.
- Rocket to the Moon by Jim Brickman. A pop song for solo piano, this piece by Jim Brickman (1961), an American songwriter, is in his No Words Songbook. There’s also an easy arrangement in The Essential Jim Brickman for Easy Piano Volume 1.
- For Susanna Kyle by Leonard Bernstein. From Five Anniversaries, this piece by American composer Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) is RCM level 6.
- Song without Words (Venetian Gondola Song), op. 19, no. 6 by Felix Mendelssohn. Written by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), a German composer, this is one of many pieces he titled Song without Words.
- Sweet Elegy by Catherine Rollin. At RCM level 7, this piece by American composer Catherine Rollin (1952) is from Lyric Moments, 3.
- Fur Elise, WoO 59 by Ludwig van Beethoven. This piece, which is in the RCM Celebration Series Level 7 Piano Repertoire book, was written by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), a German composer you’ve probably heard of! There are many easier arrangements such as the one in Piano Adventures (Faber) Performance Book Level 2B.
- Milonga del angel by Astor Piazzolla. Written by Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), this piece is from Serie del angel and is RCM level 8.
- Nuvole Bianche by Ludovico Einaudi. Although this piece is not listed, two of Einaudi’s pieces (I Giorni and L’Origine Nascosta) are in the RCM Popular Selection List at level 8. Ludovico Einaudi (1955) is an Italian composer and this piece is from his album Una Mattina.
- Snowflakes, op. 57, no. 2 by Selim Palmgren. This piece was written by Finnish composer Selim Palmgren (1878-1951).
- Aeris’s Theme From Final Fantasy VII by Nobuo Uematsu. Found in Selections from Final Fantasy, this piece was written by Nobuo Uematsu (1959), a Japanese composer, and is in the RCM Popular Selection List at level 9.
- River Flows in You by Yiruma. Also in the RCM Popular Selection List at level 9, this piece is by Korean composer Yiruma (1978).
- La fille aux cheveux de lin (no. 8) by Claude Debussy. From Preludes, 1, this piece by Claude Debussy (1862-1918), a French composer, is RCM level 9.
- Nocturne in F Minor, op. 55, no. 1 by Frederic Chopin. Also RCM level 9, this piece was written by Polish composer Frederic Chopin (1810-1849).
- Pavane pour une infante defunte by Maurice Ravel. A piano piece by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), a French composer, there is also an orchestral arrangement of this piece.
- Capriccio sopra la lontananza del fratello dilettissimo, BWV 992 by Johann Sebastian Bach. Written by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), this piece is in six movements.
- Land of the Misty Giants (no. 8) by Oscar Peterson. Found in Canadiana Suite, this piece by Oscar Peterson (1925-2007), a Canadian composer, is RCM level 10.
- Intermezzo in A Major, op. 118, no. 2 by Johannes Brahms. This piece is RCM ARCT repertoire and was written by German composer Johannes Brahms (1833-1897).
- La maja y el ruisenor by Enrique Granados. Written by Enrique Granados (1867-1916), a Spanish composer, this piece from Goyescas is RCM ARCT repertoire.
Kama Anderson, piano teacher