Simply Sophisticated Suite [Studio Use]

Simply Sophisticated Suite [Studio Use]


A multi-level suite of pop inspired showstoppers.

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This series materialized from my intentions to:

1. Borrow pop music chord progressions and grooves that have always influenced my arrangements and bring them to my original compositions. I wanted to practice what I preach in the 321 Challenge and see how I could change and add to ideas from others and make them my own.

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2. Compose pedagogically-considerate pieces with appealing patterns for elementary and intermediate students. Here’s my first attempt on creating original work beyond my intermediate arrangement of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

3. Write something accessible with style, hip chords that offers rich opportunities for exploring musicality.

A Favorite Place

Level: Late Elementary to Early Intermediate

Inspiration: Static or single-note melody (used over and over by Taylor Swift and many others artists through the ages) above the timeless “Heart and Soul” progression: I, vi, IV, V.

Character: Warm and fuzzy all over.

Description: If there’s one familiar place that gives you a cozy, comfy feeling, think about it when you play this piece. Chord symbols are not provided so that you can practice identifying and writing in chord symbols yourself. Improvise within the chord progression before and while learning the piece.

Technical considerations: Some fingering is provided as there are numerous hand shifts. This piece does NOT stay in one 5-finger pattern but is designed around 5-finger pattern positions, with 5ths and just a few larger intervals thrown in. Pedal harmonically except where indicated. The last chord was stumbled upon when my husband was reading through the piece. I decided to keep it as brings an extra dose of sophistication!

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A Different Place

Level: Intermediate

Character: Determined to move forward despite frustrating obstacles.

Inspiration: Lady Gaga in the soundtrack, “A Star is Born” and an artist named “Big Wild” who I learned about from my son, Levi.

Description: Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in one place when we’d rather be in another. This piece echoes the hectic even frantic pace of life and takes you on a journey to a different and hopefully better place.

Technical considerations: This piece demands a steady, driving pulse with strong left-hand accents to emphasize the “lopsided” groove. Instead of counting with 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &, count eight 8th notes per measure to help master the accent on beat 6 and other rhythms. Counting 8ths makes each 8th note seem “more significant”—as one of my students so eloquently put it. It will be easier to master the piece by memorizing it because of the many hand shifts. Consider learning it by rote or semi-rote.

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A Grateful Place

Level: Late Intermediate

Character: Introspective and reflective of what matters most in life.

Inspiration: Lady Gaga from the soundtrack from “A Star is Born.”

Description: The opening chord progression evokes heaps of emotion. Speaking from my own personal experience, playing this piece puts me in a calm, more centered place. It could do the same for you. The left hand drum and cool groove of the middle section and the peak and final “drop” propels the piece forward to the gentle return of the tranquil opening progression.

Technical considerations: Fingering is not provided as the patterns and chords may fit under the hands differently. Play the “slip notes” or grace notes just before the beat. The first and last sections should be played with great freedom. Linger and enjoy the space of each lovely chord!


This is a STUDIO License. You may duplicate for your students but please do not share with others outside your studio.

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