Monday, May 26, 2014

Piano Adventures: Jack and the Beanstalk

The piano series I usually teach from, Piano Adventures, has a song in the Level 1 Performance book entitled "Jack and the Beanstalk."

I hadn't thought anything about it was especially blog-worthy; musically I like how it uses a step-wise ascending pattern to portray Jack climbing up the beanstalk, and at the end the student gets to portray Jack "falling" down through falling not clusters that they enjoy playing. But I did realize recently that in the words, this song omits the giant entirely.

I'm sure it has to do mostly with finding words that fit in a short little song, but I also wouldn't be surprised if the creators of the series wanted to avoid hinting that Jack caused a violent death. We in the fairy tale world lament how these stories become so sanitized and made family friendly, but I do understand how you'd want to avoid being sued by the three upset parents out of the thousands of happy parents and teachers. Being Level 1, this book is generally played by fairly young students anyway.

Also-their bio in Amazon says that the creators of this series, Nancy and Randall Faber, have been commissioned to write a version of "Snow Queen" for narrator and orchestra. This could be a great way to introduce young kids to that fairy tale, especially those who have so recently been exposed to/obsessed with  "Frozen"! I can't find any other information on it though, if anyone else knows any details please chime in via the comments...

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