I finally had a chance to sit down this morning and play through all 21 etudes of Nikolas Sideris' Sketch Music. One can immediately tell that Mr. Sideris is a piano teacher, because each etude focuses on a specific playing technic or reading and playing skill, eg, rhythm.
Having used Kabalevsky's etudes for 30+ years now, it's refreshing to have something new sounding which takes us into the 21st century, and out of the early and mid parts of the 20th century.
I'm not intending on a piece by piece critique here, but will say that most all of the necessary playing technics are covered, except pedaling, and I plan to add that in some of the etudes. Also, you may find some alternate fingerings helpful for some of your students, but as teachers, we do that all the time, anyway, so this isn't unexpected. I have to admit to changing a few tempos as well (which is our prerogative, isn't it!)
The technical range (playing difficulty) is from EE (Guild ranking Elementary E) to Intermediate F. In other words, with average students, this would be a most useful alternative etude book for students over a 3 - 4 year period; gifted students would probably work their way through in 12 to 18 months. Using Snell's Piano Repertoire rankings, I'd distribute these etudes from levels 1 through 6. You can do your own conversion to other systems.
BTW, as with any new publication, you'll find some interesting errors. One of them is that the computer somehow missed the time signature on several etudes. Turn this around and use it as an opportunity to have your student figure out the meter.
For those of you who've had it "up to here" with some of the mindless adherence to rules of various judges, Mr. Sideris includes a composition of only 4 measures. So if your student is playing a theme and variations of 12 pages, and the audition allows that to count as only one composition, then turn the tables and add this little etude as an offset. Enjoy watching them sputter as they read and reread the rule book and find that this is completely legal!
So, to wrap up, you can see that I enjoyed the new offering and will definitely find a place in my teaching repertoire for it! I hope others will brave the distribution system and try this Sketch Music on for size.
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA