About These Books
450 Contemporary Piano Studies in 15 Keys Drawing on author and composer Charles Austin's extensive lifetime experience as an educator and working musician, this work of 30 pieces in each of 15 keys (five keys in each of three volumes) introduces and explores multiple styles—from Classical to Jazz, Blues, 'Country' and Latin, and is an invaluable resource for piano students and teachers at all levels.
These pieces can be played as sight reading pieces, or as quick studies, where the wide range of difficulty and complexity will allow both beginner and advanced students to be served. There is a wide range of difficulty and style in these pieces and enough depth, value and detail for most to be studied and performed as pieces on their own. Through chord symbols and other notation, the player will become more familiar with harmony, voice-leading, counterpoint, and the relationship of melody and harmony thus paving the way for improvisation and composition.
Pianists involved with of any area of piano or music studies will benefit from playing these pieces. The idea of reading and playing in all fifteen keys could be construed as unusual but in some professional arenas, a player often encounters unfamiliar keys. The aim of these pieces is to prepare the pianist/musician of the jazz/pop background to cope with this reality and to help those who have only studied classical piano to become exposed to contemporary jazz art and commercial music styles in practice.
450 Contemporary Piano Studies in 15 Keys consists of three volumes. Each volume contains original pieces in piano arrangements in various styles (jazz, classical, blues, rock, and pop etc.). They are designed to give the player some insight into styles, harmonic structure and voice leading, and a greater sense of what the notes are doing in a functional way.
Volume 1: C, G, F, D, B♭
Volume 2: A, E♭, E, A♭, B
Volume 3: D♭, F#, G♭, C#, C♭
Volume 1 begins with simple diatonic tunes in C major through two sharps and two flats which progress in difficulty through the factors of intervallic, chromatic, and rhythmic complexity. Volume 2 and Volume 3 are much like Volume 1 in terms of progress through keys. Each of these volumes has a general graduated level of difficulty. Each volume starts with quarter note pieces (Book 1) and progresses to eighth note pieces (Book 2) with each volume being a little more difficult than the one that precedes it in terms of keys and the other factors of difficulty mentioned.
Reviews & Reader Comments
"...these pieces are very inventive, covering the kinds of gestures/textures that jazz/pop pianists play with lots of groove and dynamic subtlety... I got through C, G, F, D and B-flat. I really like how you present the keys in this format; it's how I've always taught them. You deserve all the success you can stand from this very vital piano project."
"...filled with natural real sounding beautiful music. ...present different styles (classical, blues, jazz and others), various genres (waltz, ballade and so on). ...15 compositions written in each key with different modes (major, minor, pentatonic, diatonic and so on). The idea of the author is to introduce “hard” keys earlier with simple forms. This grand work is based on the life experience of Charles Austin as a jazz performer and a teacher... very useful for the classical pianist. It helps them to develop the connection between the emotions and the mind, the ability to make decisions and to accumulate attention on stage. Creation and improvisation skills make a performer feel free at the keyboard and to avoid stage fright. The student should study this book to get better sight reading skills, to improve rhythm, to dissolve technical tasks, to have nice concert repertoire..." (read full review)
"... a complete studies' method ... the pieces are beautiful and interesting, with a great variety in styles ... Besides their musicality, the pieces' difficulty greatly vary in such an extent, that one could cover several years of piano technique practice. The instructions given inside are crystal clear, offering great help to the students learning procedure, ultimately contributing towards better understanding. There are more than one ways to benefit from this method, from sight-reading to harmonic and structural analysis. In conclusion, I would recommend this truly colorful book, to piano teachers and students as an alternative and complimentary studies' books, to often-played or even "monotonous" other methods. An amazing work!" (from Amazon.com)
“This is no armchair text! This text is another worthy example of terrific international jazz education publications.”
"... one of the most innovative and creative jazz instructors and performers currently writing education material ...some of the most intricate and entertaining approaches for piano key studies ...450 Contemporary Piano Studies in 15 Keys should be in every public library as a fine reference work on jazz piano..."