Rosalind Carlson

Flexi-Fingers: Five Concert Pieces for piano

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Instrumental Music - Piano

"Five Concert Pieces", for piano

This piano book is the third in the series of "a new and exciting approach to keyboard technique".

Each of the five concert pieces has a pedagogic page to assist the teacher and student explaining the various features of technique that each piece encompasses.

This page also draws attention to the development of certain important pianistic features contained in the learning of each composition.

Rosalind Carlson says that the stimulus for each piece was derived from young children and events.

1.  "The Galloping Horse", September 1990, 40 seconds

Stimulus:  from a dressage 9 year old piano student who incorrectly played the A minor scale with a C#.  "I've used the C# in bars 7 and 19" says Rosalind.  The cantering horse takes off at full gallop in the middle of the piece on a tonic pedal point.

2.  "The Ice-Skaters", January 1992, 1 minute 15 seconds

Stimulus:  from a 14 year old piano ice-skating student.  "I went to the Ice-Skating rink one afternoon and froze for a couple of hours watching Kate and her male partner figure skating" says Rosalind.  "The result was this composition.  In the music the two ice-skaters glide together, then they pull up at the 'meno mosso' each time.  Half way through the composition the opening melody is transferred into the bass clef.  The chords are suggestive of the blades on the ice-skating boots."

3.  "The Graceful Ballerina", December 1990, 3 minutes, Introduction & Waltz

Stimulus:  "I had a most talented 10 year old piano student Alexandra Stableforth, who also excelled at ballet.  So I especially wrote this waltz for Alex," says Rosalind.  "To set the scene for the graceful waltz, I composed a short introduction based on flowing arpeggios.  The following graceful melody is cantabile in style."

4.  "The Menacing Mosquito", November 1990, 1 minute 45 seconds - a study based on Tones and Semitones

Stimulus:  an 8 year old piano student who for weeks failed to be able to tell me the difference between a tone and a semitone.  "In my frustration with Emma, this composition was written," says Rosalind.  "This is one of those annoying mosquitos that buzzes in your ear when you are trying to sleep at night.  You try to swat it with your hand, then it takes off 'Presto' flying around the room and ceiling.  Eventually you have success with this menace at the end of the composition."

5.  "The Babbling Brook", May 1992, 1 minute 30 seconds

Stimulus:  "My beautiful 17 months old granddaughter Brooke Leigh Carlson used to babble playing with her toys in the corner of my home kitchen in Arcadia while I was teaching" says Rosalind.  "The opening two bars contain the 'babble' figure upon which this composition is based.  There is an interesting ostinato figure in the centre.  Over this ostinato the staccato quavers are suggestive of sunbeams dancing on the water as the brook glistens in the sunlight.  So there is a double meaning behind the term 'babbling brook'."

Other information about the "Five Concert Pieces" for piano, by Rosalind Carlson

These five imaginative pieces are excellent for concert performances; for Australian piano pieces; for competition eisteddfod pieces; as well as for A.M.E.B. examination extra lists Grades 2 to 5 inclusive.

Features and Grading of the of the "Five Concert Pieces" are as follows:

1.  "The Galloping Horse"
      Allegretto - A minor - Grade 2

Pedagogic aspects: 
developing phrasing
      articulation skills
      staccato chords and notes
      changes in tempo

The central section is on a tonic pedal point

Note: The examination board ANZCA (Australian & New Zealand Cultural Arts Ltd) has published "The Galloping Horse" in their Grade 2 Examination Book (2005) Classical Pianoforte Series 2 as a List C examination piece.

2.  "The Ice-Skaters"
      Andante - F major - Grade 3

Pedagogic aspects:
      developing scale technique
      chord playing
      legato touch and phrasing
      fingering ability and agility

The piece is monothematic.

3.  "The Graceful Ballerina"
      Introduction and Waltz - D major - Grade 4
      Introduction - Adagio
      Waltz - Grazioso

Pedagogic aspects:
      The weighting of the hands in relation to a lighter left-hand accompaniment waltz figure to an important cantabile right-hand melody is developed here.
      Other skills are:
            playing in thirds
            arpeggios and phrasing
            scalic passages

This piece is in ternary form.

4.  "The Menacing Mosquito" - a study based on tones and semitones
      Andantino rubato - Presto - Grade 4

Pedagogic aspects:
      developing chordal control
      staccato touch
      arpeggios and trilling
      speed changes
      wide range of dynamics

This highly imaginative piece ends in C major.

Note: The St. Cecilia School of Music has published "The Menacing Mosquito" in their Grade 4 Piano Examination Book (2011).

5.  "The Babbling Brook"
      Vivace - A major - Grade 5

Pedagogic aspects:
      developing agile finger control
      active figure work
      wide pitch range of notes
      ostinato figure
      colourful dynamics

This piece is in ternary form

These piano pieces have all been used successfully as "Extra Lists" in A.M.E.B. Examinations.

Published by Flexi-Fingers in 1993.

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