Keith Snell Series

Posted by: NancyM333

Keith Snell Series - 01/25/07 03:18 PM

I really like the Keith Snell series of books, and while I don't use them exclusively with my teacher, I think they provide a really good selection of pieces and the theory book to go along with them.

My question to teachers is about the Level 10 book. I've played several things from that book that seem very different in their level. Clair de Lune, for example, took much less time than Brahms' Rhapsody in G minor for me. I'm trying to decide if what he means by Level 10 is really "10 and above." I really like the Dohnanyi Rhapsody in C Major, but it sounds extremely long and difficult.

If you have used these books, have you found the level of difficulty pretty consistent through each book--Baroque/Classical, Romantic/20th Century and Etudes? It may just be some holes in my own technique that have me bogging down on some much more than others. Here are links to their contents if you want to take a look:

Keith Snell Level 10 Romantic/20th Century

And does anyone know if he uses a standard list to grade these pieces so I could choose from a larger selection at this level than what he has chosen to include?


Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Keith Snell Series - 01/26/07 01:01 PM

Hi Nancy,

I use the Piano Repertoire series heavily, as my students do Guild Auditions at the National level or above (10 or more pieces across the 4 major musical eras) although I am also using N. Jane Tan's series to give me some relief. For the most part, I use up to level 6. By that time, most of my students are well into composer collections and I generally use high end ones, such as the Henle, Schott UE, Peters, etc., as I feel students can profit from reading without editor's interpretations, but the fingerings are provided by top conservatory professors.

I expect my students to learn all the Inventions, two complete French Suites, 4 or 5 Mozart Sonatas, etc., so why not have them get fine editions right off the bat?

Back to your question. Each level contains repertoire which overlaps both the previous and next level. That is, in level 2, you can find level 1 pieces and level 3 pieces. I think Keith did this on purpose, because he put this series together for Kjos to address a need facing teachers in California prepping students for their state exams (at least this is what I remember him telling me). If the student plays the harder pieces in level 2, most examiners will not have a hissy fit if the student is playing a level 3 exam.

There is also a problem deciding repertoire's level of difficulty. Just look at Jane McGrath's listing, Maurice Hinson's listing, Francis Clark's, etc. Romantic and 20th cent works are all over the place. Even classical isn't exempt. I've seen Mozart K545 listed as low as level 5 and as high as level 9 (on Snell's scale).
Posted by: NancyM333

Re: Keith Snell Series - 01/26/07 03:14 PM

Thanks so much for your information, John. That clears things up for me. Five years ago I did a Guild program in order to get the Sonata Plaque, something I had wanted in high school but quit piano in a fit of teenager-dom. After playing all those sonatas, I have loved using the Snell series to get a more broad selection of pieces, and it helps to know I'm not in over my head before I start. Of course, my teacher also helps me, but when I'm looking for a new piece on my own, I don't want to fall in love with something that should be reserved for conservatory students. Sometimes it's hard for me to tell.

I enjoy all your posts. Thank you for all your contributions to this forum.

Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Keith Snell Series - 01/26/07 07:21 PM

Nancy - thanks for the kind words. I'm sure there are lots of teachers out there who could contribute a lot, but are either computer illiterate or don't have a lot of time on their hands. Right now, I'm at the "between" age. Over 62, so drawing social security, but less than 66, so cannot carry a full teaching load without being penalized! Can you believe it. Anyway, I'm catching up on my reading both at the piano and pedogogic writing. And also have a bit of fun time on the computer.
Posted by: NancyM333

Re: Keith Snell Series - 01/28/07 12:07 AM

John, that's too bad that you can't carry a full load, but I'm sure you have many decades left for teaching. I'm amazed at the teachers who teach for so long. It's definitely a calling to them. My own teacher is 73, and I don't think she plans on retiring at all. She teaches nearly 40 students. I know another teacher in her upper 80s who has a waiting list for students. When you're good, your gift doesn't fade much until your pulse stops, I guess!

We on PW are certainly the unintended beneficiaries of the IRS's policies. I should write them a thank you!

Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Keith Snell Series - 01/29/07 10:16 AM

Don't thank the IRS - they are just doing the bidding of Congress! And who knows why they came up with such a silly policy.