Galaxy Music recently welcomed the new Mix and Match performance method series from dynamic duo, Stephen Chatman and Tara Wohlberg. The series is designed as a rare, innovative mix-and-match complement to any standard piano method book. We sat down with composer Stephen Chatman to learn more about the vision behind Mix and Match.
1. What was the inspiration behind Mix and Match?
The audio tracks include both demo and play-along tracks for each piece. The best way to use this tool may be for the student to first listen to the demo recording of the duet, then learn the student part, and then play-along with the version which includes only the teacher’s part. The student may play the piece as a solo or live duet with a teacher, friend or family member.
2. What makes these performance books unique from other performance series?
Several factors make these performance books unique:
1) These books are a unique supplement to current method books, which systematically re-enforce pedagogical concepts.
2) Through original pieces and arrangements, I explore an eclectic sonic world, where students can play, for example, Happy Birthday (the first level 1 piano arrangement ever published) or sample a folk song, boogie, rag, minuet, Christmas carol or an arrangement of an timeless classic. Given my reputation as a composer and composition teacher, the original pieces are not typical pedagogical pieces. They are fresh, innovative and less conventional or predictable than pieces in other performance series.
3) The teacher duets, designed as concert pieces, are uniquely imaginative, harmonically rich, and engaging. Teacher accompaniments, while sometimes complex, are idiomatic and “audience friendly”.
4) The performance books loosely correspond in pedagogical approach to popular method books. However, they include very little written text, which would be redundant considering texts in existing method books.
5) The Mix and Match for Older Beginners book is a rare, essential addition to pedagogical repertoire.
3. Who is the Mix and Match series designed for?
The Mix and Match series is designed not only for any young beginner and level 1 piano student but also for any older beginner and level 1 piano student. The Mix and Match for Older Beginners (primer and level 1) performance book omits illustrations designed for children, young childrens’ themes or songs, and “pre-notation” pieces. Adult beginners really appreciate this album.
4. The series comes with audio tracks. What is the best way to use this tool?
The audio tracks include both demo and play-along tracks for each piece. The best way to use this tool may be for the student to first listen to the demo recording of the duet, then learn the student part, and then play-along with the version which includes only the teacher’s part. The student may play the piece as a solo or live duet with a teacher, friend or family members.