Playing with the Prep Test

Happy New Year everyone! I must update this blog to show something other than Christmas carols.

prepThis one is especially for any piano teachers taking their students through the ABRSM Prep Test. The two tunes used in this test have been on the syllabus since January 1999 so it’s fair to say teachers and examiners are well used to them!

‘Boating Lake’ is my preferred tune of the two and is in a lilting 3/4 time with a melody that crosses over from one hand to the other. Sometimes these two things elude a student at first. To help them feel the beat and get a sense of the overall piece, I always improvise accompaniments to my student’s tunes so everything becomes a pupil/teacher duet.

Whilst doing so with ‘Boating Lake’, I realised that you can accompany this tune with a very simple four-bar idea repeated throughout the piece, simple enough for beginners to pick up by ear quickly and play themselves- ostinatoThe students really enjoy it and it helps them get a sense of ownership of the piece.

Then I got an idea to write some prep test level pieces that can be played in their own right, but fit with the actual prep test ones. Students can swap tunes with their teacher, play the pieces as duets higher or lower on the piano, or on another piano or keyboard if they have the luxury of two in the same room.

So here is Sailing, which will go with Boating lake –


And Springtime, which will go with Jogalong –


And while I’m on the subject of such things, if anyone is using the Micheal Aaron Piano Method, this two-bar pattern goes well with ‘The Swing’ repeated throughout.
Swing ostinatoIf they know chords, they can just play ‘um cha cha’ once on C, once on G.

Hope some of these things come in handy! If so, leave me a comment. I would love to hear how it went!


About Rosa Conrad

Teacher, writer, performer.
This entry was posted in piano, piano duets, sheet music and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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