Category Archives: Late Elementary Music

Carol of the Bells – Easy Piano Trio

Carol of the Bells Piano Trio

Carol of the Bells Piano Trio $7.99

3 versions of the score, 18 pages including cover page

Every year I write a piano trio (3 students at one piano) for my students to practice in advance and then play together at our Christmas group lesson. It has to be very easy to learn and simple to put together because there is no rehearsal! I usually have more than 3 students in a group, so I drag in keyboards as necessary. If there are beginning students who are not able to learn a part, I give them a percussion instrument to play along, and we practice that in advance, too. I added finger cymbals to Carol of the Bells. I want every student to feel comfortable. Since I started this tradition, my students have told me how much they enjoy it and look forward to it each year!

Today I am adding my trio arrangement of Carol of the Bells (18 pages $7.99) to the store section of my website. For the next week it will be on sale for $5.99. This is a studio license, so a single teacher may print unlimited copies each year.

There are 3 different varieties of scores included because that is what I need when I teach a trio, and I thought it would help you, too. There is the typical piano trio score, a teacher’s (conductor’s) score, and individual parts for each player to take home and practice. It adds up to 18 pages.

This trio is for 5 hands! The bass part uses only the left hand. Of course, you might want to modify that, and feel free to do so. This is a good part to give to a parent or an older student who is happy to sight read it.

I wanted this piano ensemble to sound as close to the original choral music as possible, so I found the original, public domain, choral score in Russian, and transcribed it for piano. The original Russian lyrics are not about Christmas at all, but is a New Year’s song!

I had two age groups work on this last year, an elementary group and a middle school group. I assigned it about a month before the group lesson time, and practiced it at their lesson with me playing the other parts. They loved it so much that they wanted to play it over and over at the group lesson!  I have a diverse group of students, and this was music that all my students were comfortable playing.



Filed under Christmas, Late Elementary Music

There’s a Little Wheel A-Turning In My Heart


I have very fond memories of teaching There’s a Little Wheel A-Turning to my elementary music classes in the 70’s.  It is a soothing kind of folk song, and it seemed to calm the children down.  For the second verse we would sing, “There’s a little song a-singing in my heart.” Sometimes the classes would make up more verses and now I don’t know which are part of the folk song, and which ones we made up.

I arranged this for some of my students who wanted a Valentine song that was more challenging. I didn’t want to make it TOO challenging, because there’s only 2 weeks to Valentine’s Day. That’s why I changed the 8th notes to quarter notes in the second measure. Also, I left out the dotted eighth notes in the melody because that just makes it look too hard. However, if you’re students can do it, add them in.

For those of you who use Finale, I had trouble notating the last measure . I wanted the final F to be a tie.  I had to make a different layer to do it. Is it done correctly and clearly? It’s hard to be a one woman publishing  company. When I learned to write music, computers took up entire rooms and there was no such thing as a personal computer, much less one that you could print out your own music. I’m totally self-taught on the computer!

One final note, children now days don’t seem to know folk songs! That’s why I like to arrange them and pass them out to children.

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Filed under Holiday Music, Late Elementary Music

Love Somebody, level 2

love-somebody_level2aI didn’t have plans to post this arrangement of Love Somebody, Yes I Do, because  I have already posted 2 versions, but my students have been enjoying it, so I thought I would share. If you have a young late elementary student, they might want a Valentine’s song. Like Christmas music, I wanted to arrange something they could play and enjoy right away. There isn’t much time left so I didn’t want anything too challenging. I have been using it with students in Level 2B of Piano Adventures.

There are several places in this piece that will test their sight reading skills. Let me know if they enjoy it!

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Filed under Holiday Music, Late Elementary Music

Twister by Wendy Stevens


Wendy Stevens is a piano teacher and a wonderfully imaginative composer. She has a new piece that is hot off the press from Hal Leonard. Any student who is around level 2 of a method book will enjoy this piece. The Hal Leonard Student Library is leveled differently than most of the well known method books. So this piece is labeled Level 3, which is about Level 2 in most books. 

Twister is an exciting, energetic piece with easy accidentals that  put it in C minor.  Since it is ingeniously written in 3/4 time,  a late elementary student can get the  feel of 6/8 before he has reached that point in his lesson book. There are no eighth notes and  it  is mostly written hands separately in five finger positions.  Since Wendy is a piano teacher herself, she knows what students like and what they are able to play at this level. Your students will impress their  family and friends with the fast sounding tempo, minor sound, and the broken C minor chords.  It is so much fun to play, your student will be happy there is a repeat and a long coda on the last page.

 The reason I am featuring this piece here is because, frankly, it’s hard to create an exciting sounding but easy to learn piece at this level.   I played this for a student at the suggested tempo and my student loved it, but sadly thought it sounded too hard. When I showed it to him, he was so excited, because it looks easy and he knew he could play it. I suggest you try this piece with a student at your recital this year. Hal Leonard has been publishing some good solos lately, so check them out. I hope they will publish more of Wendy Steven’s  music.

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Filed under Late Elementary Music