Do you know some fun, easy pieces?

August 16, 2018, 7:58 AM · There's a Fun Fest next month that I'll be performing at. So I'm looking for some fun, enjoyable pieces. They have to be fairly easy (between beginner and intermediate), as I have to learn them quickly.
I'll do Greensleeves, Ashokan Farewell, the first movement of Vivaldi's Concerto in A Minor, Sad Romance, Crystallize, Czardas, but beyond that I need suggestions. I'm not really certain how long it will be yet.
So obviously it doesn't matter the genre. They can be classical, folk, etc.
For the pianists here: I think there's a piano there, so I might do that, as well. I was thinking of Murka, Rondo Alla Turca, Für Elise, Mariage D'Amour, maybe a Rachmaninoff Prelude. Do you have any suggestions for other pieces?
Thanks in advance.

Replies (15)

Edited: August 16, 2018, 8:07 AM · Boy Paganini, or if that is too much to learn in your time allotted, Infant Paganini.

Irish jigs are a lot of fun and there are lots of arrangements for intermediate and below. Devil’s Dream is a good one.

August 16, 2018, 8:33 AM · Thanks for replying so quickly! I will check on those.
August 16, 2018, 8:35 AM · Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star is a classic.

On a serious note, I know you don't have much time, but if you composed your own variations on a known tune, I'm sure it would go over well. Doesn't even have to be too complex. Just an exciting spin on an old song.

August 16, 2018, 8:57 AM · Mary Ellen - Infant and Boy Paganini - WOW! I never heard of those and they look really cool and there they are on IMSLP.org .

I used to love to assign "Devil's Dream" to beginners not too long after "Twinkle" - pretty much the same range of notes and most (kids and adults) found it so very exciting - although the name did put off some of the very "religious."

Edited: August 16, 2018, 9:20 AM · For the piano, I recommend the "Woodland Sketches" by Edward MacDowell. One of them is very famous, "To a Wild Rose." But overall they are quite playable and very crowd-pleasing. Another nice piece is the "Poem" by Fibich (one page, and very pretty). You also don't have any Chopin. There are several of the Preludes, Waltzes, and Mazurkas that are easy to learn and well loved by audiences. (By the way there are arrangements for the violin of much of what I've mentioned so far, but I'm talking about piano music here.) I would ditch Fur Elise -- that's just so repetitive and overplayed. If you have an equally skilled pianist friend to join you at the piano, the Schubert "March Militaire" is wonderfully fun. You don't have to take all the gratuitous repeats.

Based on the piano pieces that you mentioned, I'd like to recommend a nice book published by Henle of all Haydn's shorter piano pieces including his sets of variations (notably, no sonatas). Get this book! I promise you will have many days and weeks of enjoyment from it. The F Minor Variations is one of the most beautiful pieces written for the piano, and the C Major Fantasia is sheer joy. At the back of the book -- on the last page -- is an Adagio that would be great for your upcoming program.

August 16, 2018, 9:24 AM · I also think some Irish jigs such as Kesh jig and Swallowtail jig are really fun and sound pretty well on a basic arrangement without fancy ornamentation; I find Kesh easier and it's also usually played at a much slower tempo than Swallowtail. The Blarney Pilgrim is another very nice, not too difficult jig; it's somehow similar to Kesh and I have heard them played in the same set quite often. John Ryan's Polka is also very popular and fun to play. O'Keefe's slide and Skye boat song can also be played in quite simple arrangements. Les poules huppées and Far away are two nice, easy folk tunes (if you don't know them, check Katy Adelson's youtube channel). Scarborough fair... there are lots of them! And if I can play them in their basic versions, you can too! :-)

If you can play Vivaldi's A minor concerto (let alone Czardas!), I guess your level is way above the Suzuki 2 book pieces, such as Brahms' waltz and Boccherini's minuet, for instance, which are also fun and short.

La Cinquantaine by Gabriel-Marie is also nice.

Edited: August 16, 2018, 10:38 AM · How about some Cajun pieces:
T’en a Eu, T’en auras Plus - fast simple piece. Watch, you might hear some recordings where it’s being played in G on a tuned down fiddle. Play in A on regular fiddle.

Lake Arthur stomp.


Edited: August 16, 2018, 1:55 PM · Cotton, thanks for suggesting composing. I've only had one teacher who encouraged it, out of six. Unfortunately I stopped for a few years, but I'd like to start soon. Having the deadline of next month might be what I need to keep at it.
Paul, I don't care for the first part of Für Elise, but I do enjoy playing the level 7 part. As for being overplayed, there aren't any classical musicians in my immediate area beside me, so I don't think it'll be an issue. Beside that, people have told me the piece moved them to tears after I played it for them, so I'm guessing it would be welcomed.
I know a pianist who's better than me, but he lives a half hour away and probably wouldn't drive out just to play a duet.
Thanks so much for the suggestions! I never even thought of Chopin, for some reason. And thanks for the book recommendation.
Sue, thank you! I will check those.
I don't know the rest of the Concerto, just the first movement. For Czardas, I'm having a bit difficulty with the double stops and the sul ponticello (I think that's what it is played toward the middle of the piece?). I had it nearly perfect, but then rather stupidly stopped playing it for a few months, before picking it up again.
David, thanks!
August 16, 2018, 1:16 PM · On thesession.org there is a folk jig, "The Swift", that I posted a few years ago. It is an arrangement by Paganini of an 18th century Ligurian dance tune, and is that rarity - a Paganini piece that's within everybody's grasp. There are two versions, one in G and the other in A; I prefer it in A.

The link is https://thesession.org/tunes/12126, from which you can download the sheet music.

August 16, 2018, 1:51 PM · Thank you, Trevor!
Paul: do you know of any deep, dark pieces similar to Rachmaninoff's typical style but not as difficult? I can manage the Prelude I'm working on, at Level 8, but the others are beyond my capability. I love pieces that utilize the majority of the piano, rather than sticking to the middle or upper end, but unfortunately I can't find too many like that.
August 16, 2018, 2:48 PM · Andrew, glad you find my suggestions useful! I love teaching Boy Paganini, though I don't use it with every student. Some fun technique in a very accessible form.
August 16, 2018, 7:40 PM · Jeanette a few of the Scriabin Preludes are easy enough to learn quickly. Some are dark indeed, but no deep bass octaves. Pretty hard to match Rachmaninoff for that! Try Op. 11 part 2 No. 9 and 10. Op. 11 part 3 No. 13. Op. 17 no. 4, and op. 51 no. 2.

There are sunnier ones too, op. 13 no. 3, and my favorite is op. 17 no. 3.

Get the Dover edition. Its cheap and gives you many beautiful, underplayed pieces.

August 16, 2018, 7:43 PM · Thanks!
August 16, 2018, 7:49 PM · And did you know Rachmaninoff wrote a transcription of Kreisler's Liebesfreud? Thats a little too hard for me now.
August 16, 2018, 8:44 PM · I didn't know that, actually. It's probably too difficult for me right now, too, then, but thanks for mentioning it.

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