December Teacher’s Guide

December 2019 Issue

This issue features the life and music of G.F. Handel. To learn more about Handel and his famous Messiah, check out this interesting article by the Smithsonian

Handel pieces for students
Handel composed most of his keyboard works early in his career. Many of the easier pieces appropriate for intermediate students come from various Suites, which are usually made up of four to five movements, such as dances, airs, variations and chaconnes. Some of the most popular student pieces by Handel include Minuets in G minor, D major, F major, and A minor; Gavotte in G major; Prelude in F major and C major; Sonatina in B flat major; Sarabande in D minor (from Suite in D minor); Gigue in D minor (from Suite in D minor); Impertinence; Air with Variations (from Suite in B flat major; this is the theme for Brahms’ Variations on the Theme of Handel); Air in G major (from Suite in G major).

Collections of Handel’s keyboard music:
These collections include keyboard works by Handel:

Handel: His Greatest Piano Solos (Music Sales)
A Handel Anthology, ed. Heath (FJH)
Keyboard Works For Solo Instrument (Dover)

   Many compilations of piano literature from various time periods also include pieces by Handel, such as Succeeding with the Masters, Baroque Era Vol. 1 and 2 (FJH), Easy Piano Classics (Music Sales), or More Easy Classics to Moderns (Music for Millions Series, Vol. 27, Music Sales).

Elisabetta de Gambarini was the first woman in Britain to compose a collection of keyboard music. She wrote three books of lessons for the harpsichord starting with The Six Sets of Lessons for the Harpsichord. Unfortunately little is known about her today although her work was respected during her lifetime. To learn more about her go to:

Answers to December Puzzles

Logic Puzzle (page 11)

1st, Bentley, Flute, Blue
2nd, Jax, Cello, Yellow
3rd, Emma, Piano, Orange
4th, Courtney,Violin, Green

Quiz (page 15)
1. a 2. c 3. a 4. b 5. clavichord, organ, oboe, violin, and harpsichord. 6. b 7. b

You can renew or order Piano Explorer for your students at our online store. Or email us with your order or if we can answer any questions: [email protected]  (Address changes may be sent here as well.) Call 888-446-6888 toll free during business hours. Remember you may adjust your quantity at any time during the year.

Renew or Adjust Subscription Numbers

You can adjust group numbers or renew your subscription at any point during the year. We will prorate your subscription, and you only pay for the issues you receive.

Call 888-446-6888 or email [email protected].

Coming in January: Beethoven, Hummel, and the trumpet. The composition contest will be announced in the January issue.

Student Compositions

While we are continuing to print the winning compositions from this year’s contest, we would like to remind teachers that we also print non-contest music throughout the year (once we have published all of the winners’ pieces). Students can write music on any topic. We cannot return music, so students should keep a copy. Write the student’s name, age, address, and teacher’s name on the back of the music. All music must be original work. Send pieces to Piano Explorer, Music Corner, 1838 Techny Court, Northbrook, IL 60062.

Annual Composition Contest

The contest theme is announced in the January issue and online in January each year. Note you must subscribe to Piano Explorer to submit a composition. Note: we will not release information about the contest theme before January 1st - please do not call or email to ask for advance information. We want to be fair to all students and allow them to have the same amount of time.

100 Day Challenge

Encourage your students to try the 100 Day challenge. If they practice every day for 100 days, send their information to us and we will print their names in the magazine. We have heard from many teachers that this has been an exciting incentive for their students. If students are away on vacation or are sick, they must still do something with music each day. The specifics are up to the teacher but some ideas are: listening to music, studying their pieces without a piano, reading Piano Explorer, writing a composition, or researching a composer, piece or musical period.

Click here to print out a certificate for your students who complete the challenge.

The completed practice sheets continue to pour in. If you haven’t tried this with your students, you can still start now. Please email us names of students who complete the challenge to: [email protected]Include the student’s name, age, state, and teacher’s name as well as how many days of practice the student has completed. Please do not mail them in.

As one teacher said, “The 100 days of practicing has inspired my students to more than I thought each was capable!”

We will continue this challenge in the upcoming year, and students may start at any time. Check out the students who have played for 100 days at

Many teachers ask what students should do when they are sick or on vacation. We offer the following guidelines:

It is up to the individual teachers to decide what is best for their students. However, the one requirement is that students must do something music related every day – even on vacation. Teachers and students have been very creative about this. Some ideas for vacation practice have included listening to music, bringing their sheet music and studying it each day, researching/reading about composers, reading Piano Explorer, listening to music clips on, writing a composition, or doing a report on a composer, musician or time.  Others have found a piano where they are traveling or brought along a keyboard. The goal is for students to do something related to their music study for at least a few minutes each day no matter what so that practicing becomes a regular part of their lives.