Art Used With Permission of Elena Cobb
Sometimes I see music that looks so appealing I just have to review it. This is the case with Higgledy Piggledy Jazz and the beginner book My Piano Trip to London, both by Elena Cobb.
Who is Elena v. Cobb? She is a classically trained and highly experienced pianist, educator, composer and publisher from England.
Elena believes that if a child doesn’t enjoy the music assigned by the teacher, the child is an unhappy student. So she decided to compose jazzy, child-orientated tunes for her piano students to motivate them and inspire them to practice – and they loved them!
Higgledy Piggledy Jazz for piano is at the late elementary to intermediate level. Besides the adorable title and cover of the book, the pieces have cute names such as Super Duck and I Ate All the Chocolate. If you want background tracks for the music, it’s there on her web store, recorded by a live jazz band. These background tracks make the music come alive for students, and helps them learn to play with a steady beat and not stop and start. The tracks are recorded at different tempos, to assist with learning to play along. Also on her website you will notice different versions of the book, including versions for alto sax, clarinet ensemble, guitar, and ukulele.
Art Used by Permission of Elena Cobb
I also want to mention the book My Piano Trip to London. This is a method book for average age beginners that starts with learning the keyboard and progresses to hands together. There are teacher duets for the music and cute illustrations that are not babyish for the older elementary child. As the child progresses through the book, different sites and attractions in London are explored, with music for each one. Is that a cute idea, or what! I especially think this is a good book for teachers in England and the UK. This is an interesting book for teachers in any country who are looking for something different.
Some interesting things about this book is that there are no finger numbers so that the teacher can use whatever works best for the student. Positions vary, so this is not a middle C position book. I’ve noticed in my own compositions that I sometimes have to mark out the fingering that I originally added in the music and change it for a particular student. Maybe I should start leaving off fingering. Teachers are smart enough to add their own!
Two other things I would like to mention about this book is that it uses both UK and North American terms for rhythm, so students will see both quarter note and crochet, for example. For counting, there are both Kodaly syllables and alternate words, and of course, teachers can always use numbers.
The bottom line is that you have probably never seen a book like this! It can be used as a method book as well as a supplemental book to any method. I have a lot of followers in England, and I want to encourage you to check this out for your students!
Elena’s books are available as a traditional music book from Amazon and SheetMusicPlus. They are also available as digital downloads from her website www.elenacobb.com. If you buy the digital books, there is an unlimited digital download license available, which means you can print out just what you wish to use.
Every Friday, Elena offers free resources to the members of her Facebook group ElenaCobb.com Publishing Discussion Group. It includes original scores and exercises published by her company.
Disclosure: This review was my idea and not solicited by the author. I received digital copies of the books for review. Regardless, I only review music and books I believe will be of interest to my readers. The opinions are my own.