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Christmas carillon

This year it’s going to be a very strange Christmas for most of us, but we have to make the best of it while remembering to stay safe. Here’s our musical Christmas greeting, featuring the sound of a carillon. If you’re wondering what a carillon is, there is some information in the video.

With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

In the Bleak Midwinter (Sheet music level E)

In the Bleak Midwinter is a setting of a poem by Christina Rosetti (1830-94). The music is by Gustav Holst (1874-1934), who is best known as the composer of the orchestral suite The Planets. The sheet music can be downloaded below (underneath the video) or via the Sheet Music page.

This arrangement stays fairly close to Holst’s original setting for 4-part choir. A light touch on the sustaining pedal may be helpful in places, but be careful not to overdo the pedalling.

Deck the Hall (Sheet music level C)

This well-known traditional carol, which is often called Deck the Halls, needs no introduction. The free sheet music can be downloaded below (underneath the video) or via the Sheet Music page.

In this arrangement, both hands stay in position most of the time. But watch out for the right hand thumb-under in bar 11. Notice that all the notes in bars 11-12 can be found in the middle of the 2-octave scale of G major.

Goblins and Ghosts! (Sheet music level D)

Here’s a spooky piece which has been specially written for . The free PDF sheet music can be downloaded below (underneath the video) or via the Sheet Music page. Goblins and Ghosts! is a staccato study which will need careful counting. Remember that the spaces between the notes are just as important as the notes themselves!

If you enjoy Goblins and Ghosts!, why not make a video of yourself playing it and upload it to YouTube? For extra effect you could dress up in a Halloween costume! But don’t worry if you’re not able to learn it in time for Halloween, it would be good at any time of the year.

Introduction to’s scale videos

Do you wish you had a piano scale book that could play each scale to you, show you the notes on the keyboard and help you to prepare the fingering? If so, we think you’ll like the new series of scale videos from! This video introduces them and shows some examples.

The complete list of scale videos can be found on this page: Scales, chords and exercises. It will be updated when new videos are available.

Superb at-home recital from Mariam Batsashvili

In these difficult times, musicians are having to find unusual ways to perform. Here’s a recent recital given by concert pianist Mariam Batsashvili, from her home. The recital includes pieces by Chopin, Liszt and Paderewski, with spoken introductions to each piece. Watch and enjoy!

And here’s another stay-at-home concert from Mariam Batsashvili. More Chopin and Liszt, and a sonata by Haydn.

Wait, there’s more! This third recital features a selection of works by Liszt.

Animatedpiano challenge update: let’s include all the key workers

Our YouTube ‘fanfare challenge’ (see ) is still ongoing. But now, taking our cue from the UK’s Classic FM ( ), we’re extending the tribute to include all key workers. Delivery drivers, volunteers, workers in the food industry and emergency services, all the other people who are so vital to all of us, are worthy of support. So we’re going to change the title of the challenge to ‘Animatedpiano challenge: fanfare for key workers’. The basic instructions for the original challenge still apply. Remember that this is open to pianists (and other keyboard players) of all ages and abilities. So come on, don’t be shy, let those fanfares ring out!

Animatedpiano challenge: fanfare for health workers

Today (26 March 2020) people in the UK are being asked to applaud health workers. See the full story here:

If you can play the piano and make a YouTube video, there is another way that you can show your support for all health workers, wherever they may be. Take part in our challenge to play a ‘fanfare for health workers’. This is open to all pianists and keyboard players anywhere in the world, from beginners to professionals. You can do it at any time, any day.

Please don’t worry about your ability level or video quality, it’s the spirit that counts. If you can play major chords in a good strong rhythm, you can play a fanfare. Even if you’ve only just started learning and don’t yet know what a major chord is, you can still take part. Watch our ‘Animated piano note chart’ (see below), find the notes C, E and G in the middle of the piano, and play them separately or together in any combination. Congratulations, you’ve just played a fanfare!

When you’re happy with your fanfare, record it to video and upload it to YouTube with the title ‘Animatedpiano challenge: fanfare for health workers’. There is no time limit for submissions, so do it when you feel ready. Every so often we will search YouTube for entries and feature some of them on this site. So come on, what are you waiting for? Get to work on your fanfare and show your support. Let’s hear it for the health workers!