American Popular Piano is an integrated, comprehensive course of study by Christopher Norton, bestselling creator of the million-selling Microjazz series, and Scott McBride Smith.
“Why can’t I play more music like this?” asked a fourteen-year-old piano student. “My friends like to hear me play cool music.”
Why not, indeed? J.S. Bach taught his sons using the music of his time – popular dances, preludes and exercises by living composers. He expected
his boys to thrive in the musical world of their time.
American Popular Piano has been developed on the same principles. Students working in this series will:
• develop traditional pianistic and musical skills through music in contemporary, popular styles;
• be motivated to practise by working on music that is familiar, fun, and that they can’t wait to play;
• nurture their creativity and spontaneity through a user-friendly modular approach to improvisation;
• enjoy regular ensemble playing;
• find pleasure in a lifelong relationship with music!
The integrated, comprehensive course of study provided by American Popular Piano ensures the development of well-rounded piano fundamentals using a
combination of classical and popular styles. Each of the eleven levels – from reparatory for the first year of study, through the progressive levels 1-10 – includes
a Repertoire Album with an Instrumental Backings CD, a supporting Etudes Album,
a Skills Book, and a Technic (technique) book.
Each Repertoire Album contains a wide selection of pieces in three distinct categories:
• Lyrical: develops beautiful tone; reinforces careful listening; nurtures musical expression; improves finger control;
• Rhythmic: instills a steady beat; improves counting; refines articulation; ensures secure syncopations; internalizes the pulse;
• Ensemble: hones listening skills; encourages regular ensemble playing; offers rich musical textures even in early studies; reinforces musical continuity.
Instrumental Backings CDs
Included in Repertoire albums, though also relevant to Etudes albums.
At each Level certain elements are enriched by accompanying instrumental backings – the Ensemble pieces in the Repertoire Album
and the Improvisation modules in the Etudes Album.
• provides convenient practice and performance tempos for realistic support of the learning process;
• stimulates daily ensemble playing;
• creates a full band improvisation experience;
• makes reaching a polished performance just plain fun!
Each Etudes Album complements the corresponding Repertoire Album with traditional technical etudes in both classical and popular styles and through a revolutionary, module-based approach to
• Technical Etudes: builds solid fundamentals by focusing on specific technical and musical elements; offers an enjoyable approach to improving facility;
• Improvisation Etudes: delivers a practical framework for learning improvisation; integrates effortlessly into traditional piano lessons;
module structure provides intuitive, progressive development from the very first level; encourages creativity and spontaneity; trains critical active listening skills.
Each Skills Book rounds out the comprehensive course of study. Paced to enhance progress in the corresponding Repertoire and Etudes Albums, the module structure ensures a smooth integration of Ear-
Training, Sight-Reading, and Technique.
• Ear-training: reinforces the aural development already achieved through the repertoire and improvisation etudes;
• Sight-reading: time-effective module structure leads to regular practice – the single most important contributing factor to success;
• Technique: provides a structured and measured approach and prepares for the challenges ahead.
Each Technic Book sets out progressive exercises in three broad categories to build the physical skills necessary for successful piano study.
• Scales: presented in a variety of rhythms and articulations, develops fine motor skills, finger strength, and ease with keys appropriate to the level;
• Chords: practised over the entire keyboard, refines large muscle motion, reinforces clean attack, and prepares harmonic understanding;
• Drills: providing structured focus on specific elements, improves tonal evenness, dexterity, and articulation.
For more information on Christopher Norton, plus a complete list of his available publications, click here
For all the latest on Christopher Norton and Microjazz, visit the composer's own website at www.christophernorton.com.