As ever, I've got a LOT of time for Chopin. And indeed Beethoven too. I'm currently studying a Chopin Nocturne, a Beethoven Sonata, reading about Romantic interpretation and enjoying a biography of Chopin too! But I like to explore where ELSE the piano can take me. I also believe that to help motivate students it is important to serve them a diet of more than just the standard classical repertoire.
Don't misunderstand me - I think it is crucial to introduce young people to classical music; I do not believe that it should be, or necessarily is elitist (though that's a discussion for another day); a life without classical music would be all the poorer as there is such an incredible amount of truly amazing listening to be enjoyed; classical music is our history of music and can help us understand and appreciate contemporary music... BUT neither music nor the piano are solely about classical music.
Here are four pieces that I have recently been enjoying and have asked all of my students to listen to.
The piano is being used in these pieces to create diverse sounds and experiences from folk music, to post-modern music, from electronic to jazz. I'm sure we can all think of many more contemporary pieces in different genres where the piano is used or even taking centre stage. What is so important is to show young students that ALL of these are valid musical experiences and piano lessons can help you to enjoy and be involved in any area of music.
I have simplified my Listening Worksheet that I ask my students to use - four pieces is a lot to write up! You can get a copy of the worksheet here: Listening Worksheet
I would be thrilled if, reader, you were to fill in the Listening Worksheet for these pieces and email them to me or please let me know your thoughts in the Comments. I would also love to hear of your favourite non-classical pieces using the piano. Happy Listening!