Sunday, 13 July 2008

VS moves into the blogosphere...

So why a blog? Well, space on the website - - is limited and it occurred to me that a blog would give more space to discuss music just published, along with anything else going on in VS Music Supplies.

So to get the ball rolling, in June I went to the London music show and browsed the stalls of publishers and wholesalers - watch out for a great new selection of gifts later this year! I met Christopher Norton, whose compositions are bestsellers all around the world. He gave me a guided tour of his new, co-authored publication, American Popular Piano and I listened to some of the audio which accompanies the books. This is a great new piano tutor which is going to be big, believe me. It gets kids away from the dry, classical-based tuition to a more intuitive, popular style of piano playing while still providing the technical content needed to develop skills for classical music. Many of the exercises are based on masters such as Czerny, but reinvented by Chris.

The key difference between this and other tutors is the use of the audio content. We are all getting used to playalong CDs (wish I had these when I was learning!) which give players the feel of playing with an orchestra or band. In American Popular Piano, this is taken one step further in developing improvisational skills as well as playing along, something sadly neglected in much instrumental tuition. We focus too much on reading music, not doing enough listening and these books will help redress the balance. The only downside for us Brits is the use of American terminology - whole notes, half notes, etc., but I'm sure we can live with that!


JS said...

If you linked American Popular Piano, then you are going to love the new series he did last year. The series is Christopher Norton Connections for Piano. It consists of eight books of levelled repertoire. The pieces in each book are a variety of styles - swing, lyrical, latin and character pieces. You can check it out at

I saw Christopher at the MTNA and then a workshop at my local music store. The music is fantastic and I love the fact that there are recordings for each and every piece which can be downloaded for free.

These pieces have become a regular source for repertoire for many of my students!!!!!

Ruth@VS said...

Thanks for that - I hadn't come across this series, will check out if they are available this side of the pond.

Had a look at the FHM website too, since you appear to be writing from FHM, perhaps you can answer the question?

Kind regards