Paul Sheftel is an American pianist, teacher and composer. He has published a lot of collections of piano pieces for piano students. Sheftel is also a pioneer in the creation of instructional materials using MIDI technology, some of his collection of pieces go with MIDI accompaniment. Most of the pieces are for late elementary and intermediate piano students. There are several things I like in his works:
-modern and refreshing sounds
-explanations of the difficulties in each piece
-students really like his compositions
-you can prepare one whole piece in a single lesson
He has a very well developed website, paulsheftel.com, where he explains in depth each of his books; in addition to several sample of his pieces. Also, for all of you interested in Midi materials, he shows the MIDI accompaniments of the books that contain this material.
In other posts I included youtube recordings of the pieces I mentioned. In this case, the best way to know Paul Sheftel´s work is going to his website and watching he himshelf talking about his materials.
The titles of his pieces are often very funny too, for example, there is a book called I Haven´t Practiced... . Each piece´s title finishes the excuses one can come up with in order to avoid practicing such as: “But my nails are short” (I haven´t practiced but my nails are short), “That Much” or “Can You still love me?”.
He also has books for 4 hands, I have one called Further Festivities and it contains several interesting duets.
Here I´m going to talk briefly about the books I use more by Paul Sheftel.
As it says in its cover, in this book you can find: “Scales, intervals and triads combined in three logical groupings. A unique musical composition follows each teaching concept”. My favorite pieces from this book are: “Ascents and `D´scents” and “Toccata in Thirds”.
In Perfect Accord:
The book contains 11 original pieces, all of them based on chords. Some of them are focused on a single chord position and others combined two or three diferent positions. As in most of his books, each piece contains study notes where the author explains how the piece is formed. “Waltz” is my favorite piece of this book, In Perfect Accord.
Keyboard Challenges and Patterns for fun books 1 and 2:
These three collections of pieces are very similar in their ideas, Keyboard Challenges, Patterns for fun 1 and Patterns for fun 2. Pieces designed around a single idea developed in an attractive manner. The two “Patterns for fun” books include suggestions for practice for each of the pieces. My favorite ones: “Ins and Outs”, “Climbing”, “Progression Rock” and “Fishin´for the third position”.
Interludes and Interludes 2
In these two books, Interludes and Interludes 2, the idea is the same as in the previous ones. The pieces are a little bit more complicated than in Patterns for fun and Keyboard Challenges but they are not so difficult. As always, I mention my favorite ones: “Nocturne”, “Strawberry Ice Cream” and “Prelude”.
In case you don´t know who Paul Sheftel is yet, I´m sure that you and your students are going to enjoy him.