Favorite Icon, Full size
Songbook Review: Piano Traveler, Songbook 2
Carolyn Downie
Cover image of the songbook Piano Traveler, Songbook 2 by Carolyn Downie
Piano Traveler, Songbook 2
Carolyn Downie
2008 / Carolyn Downie
Review by Kathy Parsons
Piano Traveler, Songbook 2 is the second volume in a series of educational teaching materials for piano students of all ages at a late intermediate playing level. Continuing from the first volume in the series, Carolyn Downie, a teacher herself, has written songs and lyrics that reflect the musical styles of a number of different cultures and time periods, introducing various musical concepts and rhythmic patterns that are fun to play as well as interesting and helpful to learn. The lyrics to the songs are research-based and give strong positive messages within the context of cultural lessons. There are seven songs included in this volume, and each is prefaced with an explanation of the musical form in a “what? where? when? who? and how?” format that also includes a discussion of the traditional instrumentation for each musical style. The actual pieces are quite simple, but grasping an understanding of the concepts and rhythmic patterns requires a bit of musical experience. The package also includes a CD recorded by Carolyn Downie which features each song in two versions - one that is fully instrumental (not just piano) and one that includes vocals. The styles that are included are Mbaqanga (South Africa), Ragtime (USA), Tango (Argentina), Raga (India), Sankyoku (Japan), Bossa Nova (Brazil), and Rimur (Iceland).

Carolyn Downie is to be commended for her vision and drive to celebrate cultural diversity in a strong and positive way. A portion of all proceeds from the book will be given to The Moss Foundation and Elevate Hope Foundation in support of children and arts education. The books are available from www.carolyndownie.com. Highly recommended!
May 29, 2009
More reviews of Carolyn Downie songbooks