Favorite Icon, Full size
Songbook Review: Beginnings
Michele McLaughlin
Cover image of the songbook Beginnings by Michele McLaughlin
Michele McLaughlin
2011 / Michele McLaughlin
18 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Beginnings is the companion sheet music collection for Michele McLaughlin’s 2000 debut CD by the same name. The CD has remixes of “Tommy’s New Toy” and “Russian Music Box” that are not included (the solo versions are), making a total of eighteen songs. Several of these pieces are quite easy, and most are only two pages (plus repeats), so intermediate-level pianists should have no problem with most of these songs. Three of the pieces are in Gb major or Eb minor (six flats in the key signatures), but as long as you can remember to flat the Cs, the actual playing of those pieces is not difficult. These are note-for-note transcriptions expertly done by John Zechiel and David Shenton, with clear notation and uncluttered spacing. There are a few passages with octaves, but chords are fairly rare and there are no reaches beyond the span of an octave. The ease of playing these pieces should bring many hours of enjoyment, as the melodies are very accessible and the music is fun to play. My own favorites are “Russian Music Box,” “Scattered Showers,” and “All Alone.” All of Michele’s sheet music and songbooks are available on michelemclaughlin.com.

Below is a list of the songs in the book, listed in the order they appear on the CD. I have included the key signatures and how many sharps and flats are in those keys, the level of difficulty on a scale of 1-5 compared to Michele’s other pieces (with 1 being the easiest and 5 the most advanced), and the number of pages.

Dancing With the Wind - Key of C (no sharps or flats) - level 1 - 1 page
Michele’s Waltz - Key of C - level 2 - 3 pages
Russian Music Box - Key of C minor (3 flats) - level 4 - 2 or 3 pages
The Rest of Our Lives - Key of C - level 2 - 2 pages
Beginnings - Key of C - level 1 - 1 page
Scattered Showers - Key of Bb (2 flats) - level 3 - 4 pages
Harvey and Lori’s Wedding - Key of C - level 2 - 3 pages
All Alone - Key of Gb (6 flats) - level 4 - 2 pages
Flash Flood - Key of Eb minor (6 flats) - level 3 - 2 pages
Tommy’s New Toy - Key of D (2 sharps) - level 2 - 2 pages
Not Without Flaw - Key of Gb - level 3 - 2 pages
Fival’s Ballet - Key of Am (0 sharps or flats) - level 2 - 2 pages
First Winter Thaw - Key of C - level 2 - 2 pages
Un-kept Secrets - Key of Gb - level 3 - 3 pages
Twilight - Key of F minor ( 4 flats) - level 3 - 2 pages
When I First Met You - Key of C - level 1 - 2 pages
Starting Over - Key of A minor - level 3 - 3 pages
Friendships - Key of C - level 1 - 2 pages
September 7, 2011
More reviews of Michele McLaughlin songbooks