Music

Favorite Rote Repertoire Pieces for Piano

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been compiling a notebook of Favorite Rote Repertoire pieces for piano. A while back, Nathalie Herres, a Music Matters Blog reader and piano teacher from South Germany, contacted me with a suggestion for a couple of classical piano pieces that she recommends teaching by rote for various reasons. They make a great addition to the various educational compositions in the notebook, so I’ve added them for future reference. She gave me permission to share her list and comments for anyone else who may be interested! Here’s the list of what I’ve included in the notebook thus far, with Nathalie’s comments [in brackets] on the classical repertoire:

April Showers by Paula Dreyer, from Little Gems for Piano, Volume 1, Beginner Level

Arabesque by Burgmuller [First I teach the tricky part bar 17/18.]

Au Contraire! (Variation in 3/4 time) by Paula Dreyer, from Little Gems for Piano, Primer Level

Ballad by Samantha Coates

Bitterroot Mountains by Valerie Roth Roubos, from Stories in Sound, Book 2

Burleske from Notebook for Mozart [Many piano methods introduce sixteenth notes rather late, and hitting the octave jumps can be quite challenging for beginners. However, many students like the happy tune and enjoy playing something Wolfgang A. Mozart may have learned as a child.]

The Clown by Kabalevsky

Cross Current by Ted Cooper, from Solo Adventure, Book 2

Current by Paula Dreyer, from Little Gems for Piano, Primer Level

German Dance by Haydn [The d”  and the grace notes often look a bit intimidating to students at that skill level and there is a lot of unison and repetition. By learning without the sheet music one can also focus better on a lively articulation.]

Musette in D by Bach [ I usually start with the hard bits (bar 18/19 then bar 13/14) and then do the easier parts. Teaching by rote makes hitting the jumps easier (like with the Burlesque, which is actually a good preparatory piece for the AMB Musette).]

Oh, Purple Sage by Dennis Alexander and Amy Greer, from Repertoire by Rote

Praeludium Harpeggiato by Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer, from Clio Suite [This is one of my favourite rote teaching pieces for adult beginners. It sounds great and the movements of the hand are easy to memorize. The rhythmic pattern is easy and always the same.]

Reflections by Paula Dreyer, from Little Gems for Piano, Primer Level

Retreat by Paula Dreyer, from Little Gems for Piano, Volume 1, Beginner Level

Scherzo by Kabalevsky

Stomping Grounds by Paula Dreyer, from Little Gems for Piano, Volume 1, Beginner Level

Toccatina by Kabalevsky (page 17)

I know there have been others I’ve used over the years, and I’m sure that there are many more great piano pieces to teach by rote, so if you have suggestions of what you have used with your students that has worked well, please let me know! I’m excited to keep adding to my Rote Repertoire notebook, and I’m hopeful that someday (maybe by the time I’m done teaching!) I’ll be completely organized!


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