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Songbook Review: Brown's Notes, Volume 2
Jesse Brown
Cover image of the songbook Brown's Notes, Volume 2 by Jesse Brown
Brown's Notes, Volume 2
Jesse Brown
2017 / Jesse Brown
12 pages / 31 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Brown’s Notes, Volume 2 is the second in a series of three books (so far) composed and selected for a specific level of piano student or pianist. A longtime piano teacher himself, Jesse Brown’s studio, cleverly called Music’scool, must be a happy place indeed! The twelve piano solos in this book are geared toward pianists at a late intermediate playing level and present a variety of music situations not often encountered in most graded teaching materials. I love the variety of styles and genres in these books, and this one includes an original hymn, blues, rock, “new agey,” ragtime, semi-classical styles and more. Several have swing rhythms, two are in Eb minor (yikes! Six flats!), and all have colorful, descriptive playing instructions. One lovely ballad is marked “Passionately,” and I think most piano teachers encounter situations where students play with very little expression. Here is a great opportunity to talk about that and then put it to use: i.e “What does it mean to play passionately? What can you do to make the piece feel emotional?” etc. Some of the rhythms are a bit tricky and it is necessary to count them to play them correctly. When the music is fun and sounds good, students are more likely to knuckle down and try to get them right.

I’ve been teaching piano for 37 years and am very excited about this series of songbooks! Jesse Brown has recorded several albums of his own music, which I love, and I think it’s great that he is sharing his talents with piano students and advancing pianists - hopefully all over the world! The songbooks are available from Jesse Brown’s website and Debra Wanless Music. Very highly recommended!

The song titles, the keys they are in, and the number of pages are:

Ask Hymn - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 1 page
Blue Glue - Key of A minor (0 sharps or flats) - 2 pages
Albino Skunk - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 2 pages
The First Snow - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 2 pages
Hello - Key of F (1 flat) - 2 pages
In Tenths - Key of D (2 sharps) - 2 pages
Get Black Here - Key of Eb minor (6 flats) - 3 pages
Spanish Rose - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 3 pages
Night Drive - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 3 pages
The Puddle Jump Rag - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 3 pages
Clayton’s Pigeons - Key of Eb minor (6 flats) - 3 pages
Evan’s Blues - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 3 pages
January 17, 2018
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