To be honest, I wasn’t that thrilled about reviewing these two books because I thought they might be kind of, well…weird. They are written by a contemporary composer and are simply called, “Blue” and “Purple.” The subtitles were even more scary, “Contemporary Music with a Harmonic Twist” and “Jazz and Blues,” respectively.
I’m not much of a fan of the dissonant, atonal music that often characterizes 21st Century compositions. And I’m quite picky about what Jazz or Blues music I like. But when self-published composer Dror Perl asked if I would review them for him, I acquiesced. And I’m so glad I did! What a pleasant surprise as I sat down to run through the pieces last night and found myself actually enjoying them. 🙂 They are best suited to an intermediate student, but even a more advanced student, I think, would benefit from exploring some of the compositions.
When discussing why he wrote the books, Dror Perl says, “I wrote the music in this series for my students out of the need for music that would help teach chords and harmony, improve sight reading, and refine technique, yet still be fun and interesting for them and me. My aim was to create music that would keep my students excited about piano and that would help our lessons become richer.”
The Blue book was my favorite of the two, and I particularly liked the haunting melody of the closing piece, “The blue city.” All of the compositions provide a great opportunity for harmonic awareness and beautiful melodic voicing. It would also be a nice introduction to 20th-21st Century music for an advancing student.
The Purple book is full of mostly-fast, mostly-swing-rhythm pieces that are sure to grab the interest of those students inclined toward Jazz music (and that seems to be a large number of my students!). The compositions fall well under the fingers and make for fairly quick learning. They are the kind of pieces that are helpful to hear ahead of time, so I recommend letting students listen to samples on the website or learning them yourself so that you can demonstrate them to your students.
Now, for the great news: Dror Perl has offered to giveaway one copy of the Purple book to a Music Matters Blog reader! Just leave a comment below and I’ll use a random number generator to draw a winner next Thursday, March 3, at noon (CST). I think you and your students will have fun with these!