Ask the Experts: Repertoire for Teens

Last week I asked some of my favorite blogging friends to help me create a post about some of our favorite repertoire for teens and tweens. I’m so happy that I did this little project with them, because now I have some really wonderful pieces to add to my repertoire library.

I hope you enjoy this contributor post. My hope is to do more of these in the future. (P.S. – If you have a topic you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments!)


Recommendations from
Megan Desmarais from
A Very Piano Blogย 

Stars and Wind, by Catherine Rollin
This piece is satisfying for both early and later intermediate teens. It is beautiful, lyrical and flowing. It is mostly made up of patterns so an early intermediate player can catch on to the patterns, even if they aren’t a strong reader or player yet. It will really give them a confidence boost since it sounds so impressive. For a busy later intermediate teen, this piece comes together quickly so it is a satisfying accomplishment amongst more difficult repertoire.

Hallelujah, arranged by Phillip Keveren
We love this beautiful, pianistic arrangement of Leondard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Students often request this song, and this is the best arrangement I have found of it. It flows perfectly and doesn’t just sound like a guitar transcription. It’s not too difficult, but it does have a key change, interesting voicings between the 2 hands and some big chords that make it exciting and engaging for a more advanced student.


Recommendations from
Nicola Cantan from Colourful Keys

Smooth Sailing, by Jennifer Eklund
Teen beginners love this one because has that beautiful, lyrical quality that they want and it’s easy enough to be learned within the first month or so of lessons with an older beginner. Very satisfying!

Boogie, by Christopher Norton found in Microjazz 3
This is so much fun for the intermediate teenagers. It’s got a great groove with the left hand boogie pattern and it jumps around the keyboard without actually being too difficult technically. Also, teachers will love it as it’s a great opportunity to talk about grace notes and articulation.


Recommendations from
Tracy Selle from
Let’s Talk Piano

Darkfall, by Jacki Alexander
This lyrical solo is perfect for a teenager’s emotional side! The entire Momentum book is a lovely mix of easier pieces and some tougher selections too.

Ragtime for Elise, by Martha Mier
This is a lovely jazz spin on the Fur Elise that we all know and love. My teens love to let loose and have some fun with this one! It’s found in the Classical Jazz, Rags, and Blues Book 2. (The entire series is fabulous! Even the Christmas books!)


Recommendations from
yours truly…

Shadows by Moonlight, by Ryan Chesser
Last year several of my teens played this piece. It has a beautifully flowing melody that captivates you from the very first phrase. As a teacher, I love this piece because it’s a great study in hand balance and rubato, and since it’s in G minor it’s just tricky enough to keep students on their toes, but easy enough to make it accessible.

The Hunters, by David Carr Glover
I grew up in a house with four girls who took piano lessons. This was never one of my pieces, but I’m pretty sure all 3 of my little sisters played this at one time or another! It’s one of those pieces that students will want to play over and over… it’s powerful, dark, mysterious, and best of all, fast. It’s a great study for contrasting dynamics, quick scales, and broken chords.

P.S. Looking for more about teen repertoire? Check out my post about Introducing Lead Sheets, and be sure to take a look at the Engaging Teens webinar.

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What are some of YOUR favorite pieces for teens and tweens? Share in the comments below… maybe I’ll feature your recommendations in a future post!

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3 Off Bench Activities for Young Piano Students

4 Comments

  • by Donna Posted March 20, 2017 1:13 pm

    Andrea Dow & The Piano Book Club selections: fantastic for teens!
    Guardians of Arranmore
    Amadeus Anthems
    PopWaltz Prophecy
    How to Rock your First Recital

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted March 20, 2017 1:22 pm

      Yes! I love all the books that you’ve mentioned here ๐Ÿ™‚ They’re excellent resources for teens! I really wish they’d make these books available for purchase for teachers who missed them in the book club.

  • by Vicki Posted March 22, 2017 6:09 am

    Student favorite: Images of Spain by W.T. Skye Garcia. Students absolutely love the expressive drama in this suite. If you haven’t used this in your studio, do so! It has been a favorite in mine for years.

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted March 22, 2017 8:45 am

      Thank you for the recommendation, Vicki! I’ll be sure to check this out!

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