09 April 2020
By Ellie Palmer
Put your learning into practice with these 10 beautiful compositions; perfect for piano beginners!
1. Haydn: Minuet in G
Dating back to the 1760s, this Haydn piece is thought to be arranged specifically for military music. So, when playing, try to keep in strict time in order to maintain this ceremonious feel.
2. Purcell: Air in D minor
Generally considered to be one of the greatest English composers, Purcell wrote this small, 16-measure piece that focuses on right-hand positioning. Each section additionally explores various dynamics, making it a welcoming challenge for beginners.
3. Leopold Mozart: Minuet in F
Who better to produce a beginner’s level piece than the father of one of the most successful composers to ever live? Leopold Mozart, the father of Wolfgang Mozart, wrote numerous pieces like this when teaching his children the piano.
4. Stanford: Lullaby, No 5 from Six Sketches
Though Charles Villiers Stanford's music is less played today than that of his noted contemporary (and rival) Edward Elgar, Stanford wrote many well-crafted and enjoyable works, including the Six Sketches of 1918, in which this piece appears.
5. Telemann: Minuet from Ouverture in G
The name tells us this piece should be played like an elegant opening dance. Composer Georg Philipp Telemann was active during the Baroque era, which is when this piece was written. Poise will be needed in this beautiful piece!
6. Gurlitt: Sunny morning, N3 from Album for the Young
German composer Cornelius Gurlitt composed a remarkable number of works during his lifetime. These varied from operas, to educational works, to cantatas amongst others. Included in these works is a collection of 20 magnificent pieces called Album Leaves for the Young Opus 101. This piece will help develop your phrasing, dynamic range, and rhythmic skills.
7. Schubert: Ecossaise D977 No 5
Like Beethoven, Schubert wrote many sets of écossaises – the name means ‘Scottish’ and that may be where this quick dance originated. This piece is marked ‘allegretto’; so, keep your fingers close to the piano as this will help you to play at the fairly brisk speed required.
8. Diabelli: Vivace in C Op 125 No 7
A rather lively little piece of music, Austrian music composer published this Vivace in C right in the heart of the Classical era, which lasted from around 1750-1830. Fascinatingly, Diabelli is known for his creation of the waltz, which Beethoven used as the basis for his set of thirty-three Diabelli Variations.
Watch your speed in this Vivace.
9. Couperin: Les Coucous Bénévoles
Couperin was no twinkly-eyed portraitist but a rather acute observer of human (and animal) nature in all its absurdity and indignity, and his volumes of keyboard pieces contain subtly satirical musical comment on pompous old men, sartorial peacocks, country bumpkins and all sorts of other parodies whose precise nature is rather lost to history.
You can find a step-by-step lesson to this piece inside issue 107, available here.
10. Reinagle: Short and Easy Pieces Op 1 No 4
Born in Edinburgh to a Scottish mother and a Hungarian musician father, Reinagle entered the shipping trade while pursuing musical accomplishment.
Having met his idol CPE Bach in 1784, he emigrated to the US two years later and settled in Philadelphia, where he ran a concert series and a musical theatre. His Op 1 exercises probably date from his Edinburgh days.
Need more of a challenge? Check out our pick of 10 piano pieces perfect for intermediate and advanced players.