Piano teachers are fantastic sources for building your repertoire. However, as you become more comfortable with piano, you may find that you have a desire to learn several pieces on your own outside of lessons. Whether you want to learn pieces that are slightly below your skill level, or challenge yourself with a favourite song that is slightly above what your piano teacher has you working at, choosing a couple fun contemporary pieces to learn on your own can keep you feeling inspired and can be a great break from practicing your other repertoire. Plus, it is always fun to show your teacher what you have been working on in your spare time – as long as you haven’t been slacking on your other piano work, they are sure to be impressed!
Piece 1: Comptine D’un Autre éte L’après-midi – Yann Tiersen
This piece is so much fun. A repeating pattern in the bass clef accompanied by a simple right hand melody ensures that this will not take too long to learn. Yann Tiersen composed this piece for the French movie Amelie, and it is evocative of classic French music. It is also one of my favourites because it can be easily altered to fit whatever mood you are practicing in – whether it be meditative, frustrated, melancholy or joyous.
2. I Giorni – Ludovico Einaudi
This piece is another one that will not take an overly long time for most pianists to learn (it is generally regarded to be around a Grade 4-5 playing level). Despite its ease, it is a beautifully expressive piece that will allow you to work on your expression without having to worry too much about notes and fingering. As well, the song sounds like it is much more difficult than it actually is – enjoy impressing your friends with this one!
3. The Notebook Theme – Aaron Zigman
The Notebook is a powerful movie, and its soundtrack is equally as superb. Aaron Zigman creates an emotional piece that initially appears simple, but requires excellent technique and expression to do the music justice. This piece may take a while for you to get the hang of the expression, but once you do it is a fantastic way to relax your mind and let the emotion flow into your practice.
4. Forrest Gump Theme – Alan Silvestri
Another movie soundtrack piece, the Forrest Gump theme has a beautiful melody that is developed in several different ways throughout the music. This piece will take a little while to get the hang of, but it is truly a joy to play!
Do you have any suggestions for beautiful contemporary pieces for pianists of any level to play? Leave them in the comments – the more suggestions the better!