May/June Teacher’s Guide

Benjamin Britten

Have students listen to his famous Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and describe the sounds of the different instruments. What makes each one sound different from the others? Compare the various families of instruments. What is similar and what is different?

Edward Elgar

Many students will attend graduation ceremonies this June. They may not have realized that the famous graduation march was written by Elgar.

Music of England

While English music is less commonly known than the classical works of other European countries, it has a rich history of folk music in particular. It has also been a center for theater and musical performances for centuries. Many famous European performers and composers came to England to make their fortunes. Some came for a series of performances like Haydn, while others remained there for the rest of their lives and became British citizens.

Recital Manners

May is a good time to review concert manners with students – both from the perspective of a performer and that of an audience member. Developing poise under pressure is an important skill that will help students in future endeavors (both musically and otherwise) and learning to sit patiently and politely for others’ performances in an era of cell phones and other distractions will also serve them well.

Composition Contest Winners

We had a great response to the contest again this year with many wonderful pieces fitting the desert theme. Congratulations to everyone who participated!

Younger Division
1st Place:
On the Dunes of the Desert, by Julian Lowenhar, age 10, NY, Teacher Diana Wan

2nd Place:
Sand Surfing, by Mason Betley, age 10, WI, Teacher Robin Steinweg

3rd Place (tie):
The Camel’s Journey, by Parker Collins, age 10, UT, Teacher Julie Williams

3rd Place (tie):
Racing Cheetahs, by Kylee Neil, age 8, MT, Teacher Jessica Olson

Honorable Mentions:
Sahara Sunrise, by Lydia Fried, age 9, NJ, Teacher Pamela Weiler

Desert Rain, by Joshua Baucom, age 10, NC, Teacher Nancy Siedschlag

Older Division
1st Place:
Kangaroo Mouse Boogie, by Cody Hundhausen, age 15, MT, Teacher Jessica Olson

2nd Place:
Antarctica’s Mountains, by Sarah H. Miller, age 15, MO, Teacher Leann Rodman

3rd Place (tie):
Rattlesnake Attack, by Ransom Martin, age 11, VA, Teacher Tasha Locke

3rd Place (tie):
Desert Lark, by April Shi, age 13, NC, Teacher Dianne W. Higgins

Honorable Mentions:
The Caravan Departs at Dawn, by Colleen Leacock, age 14, CA, Teacher Lydia McCool

Desert Fugue and Rondo, by David Youngblood, 16, VA, Teacher Jacinta Whiting

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.

2017-2018 Schedule of Composers

September: J.S. Bach
October: Haydn
November: Rossini
December: Tchaikovsky
January: Satie
February: Spanish Composers
March: Grieg
April: Liszt
May/June: Britten
July/August: Copland

The 2018-2019 schedule will be announced in the July/August issue.

Answers to April Puzzles

Word Search (page 7):

Quiz (page 15)
1. c 2. a 3. Enigma Variations, Pomp and Circumstance (other answers possible) 4. c 5. a 6. Handel, Field, Clementi, J.C. Bach (other answers possible) 7. various answers 8. c 9. b

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.

Print out a certificate for your students who complete the challenge.pdf

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

Music Corner: Encourage students to submit music to Music Corner throughout the year. Music must be a student’s own work although you may help them write it down. It can be hand written or done with a music program. Please keep a copy as we cannot return music. Write the student’s name, age, address, and teacher’s name plus any relevant information about the music on the back of the first page.

Send music to Music Corner, Piano Explorer, 1838 Techny Court, Northbrook, Illinois 60062.