Are you looking for piano music that is a little bit different? Piano music with a bit of a jazz flair, interesting harmonies, and a sound more complex than its difficulty level would suggest? You should check out piano music written or arranged by Phillip Keveren.
Phillip Keveren has an impressive resume: he writes and arranges piano music for the Hal Leonard music company. Artists such as Sandi Patty, Travis Cottrell, and Sara Groves have used his arrangements and compositions. I attended a recent piano workshop he presented, and he told us that an arrangement of his was recently used as bumper music between NPR segments. When you hear his music, you’ll recognize the quality of his work.
Phillip Keveren Piano Music Levels
Mr. Keveren writes for all ability levels. At the workshop I attended, he walked us through the levels on his music, which I found a bit confusing. The easiest pieces are classed as beginning (levels 2-3), big note (level 3), easy (level 4-5), and piano solo (late intermediate/advanced). I am not fond of the “easy” designation of the level 4-5 material, and Mr. Keveren mentioned during his talk that he was unhappy with it as well: “easy” for who?
As I browsed through his music, I could imagine playing “easy” level music for performances and it would sound very nice.
Phillip Keveren’s “feel”
What sets Keveren’s piano music apart is its feel. Most pieces have a jazzy sound, and some have a Latin flavor as well. Even his elementary-level pieces in the book “Musical Moods” evoke definite emotions at a very simple level.
Student and Teacher Encouragement
Mr. Keveren was an excellent workshop presenter, and I felt renewed in my enthusiasm for teaching piano. He emphasized tailoring musical choices to each student’s tastes – something that is easy to do today, with the many musical choices available. He encouraged teachers to find each student’s strength and then compliment and work from that. He used his own two children as examples: a daughter who liked to learn things thoroughly, and a son who liked to take a broad approach to many things, mastering none fully. Neither approach is right or wrong; they’re just different.
Phillip Keveren Piano Music Choices
Phillip Kevern has arranged and written so many musical pieces that a comprehensive list would be huge. Some genres he has written in include Christian music, international Folk Tunes, Christmas music, Disney and other pop tunes, movie themes, jazz pieces, wedding music, and patriotic pieces.
Some personal favorites of mine:
The Nutcracker – big note level (makes the familiar Nutcracker tunes accessible to pianists at a gr. 3-4 level)
Santa Swings – easy piano level (pretty, “new” harmonies on traditional Christmas songs)
Disney Songs for Classical Piano – piano solo level (Keveren blends classical themes with Disney favorites – lots of fun!)