These books were conceived with a definite purpose. For years I was nagged by the need to have a collection of pieces that were appropriate for a specific holiday. I would spend hours in the music stores searching for the right level, for clarity on the page, for interesting accompaniment styles and for a choice of selections including the more popular ones as well as beautiful but lesser known songs.
Typical requests from the students would be, ‘What can I play at school for Halloween?’, ‘My church wants me to accompany a Christmas carol at a special program; do you have a version that’s not too hard but sounds good?’,
‘Can you teach me Happy Birthday to play at my Dad’s party next week?’,
‘My family will all be together at Thanksgiving and my Mom wants me to play something just before we eat; what can I play?’
It was really enjoyable to gather the songs, make up some original ones and then watch the students use them in different ways. Some like to play them at any time of the year, even off-season. ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’ has been the going-home music at the end of class ever since it first appeared in Book 1. All the students learn to play it with gusto.
I also like to use the books as sight- reading material and, of course, they are perfect for transposition. Used as a duet in Book 1, a piece, such as Jolly Old St. Nicholas or Away in the Manger, can be played as a solo when the student progresses a little more. “Group sings” are fun, too, with everyone joining in. A Book 5 and beyond is envisioned. If you have any suggestions for songs to include, please write me an e-mail from the contact page.