Teaching Gillock’s delightfully appealing, Later Elementary Level music: “The Glass Slipper” (Video)
I have no reservation about the immense teaching value of William Gillock’s music from elementary through advanced levels. And while the titles in the first few volumes appeal to children, the pieces can be universally enjoyed by piano students of all ages.
In this spirit, I picked out “The Glass Slipper” from Accents on Gillock, Volume 2, Late Elementary, and savored its beauty as I fleshed out the learning challenges and how to meet them.
In the video instruction, I pointed to the melodically woven, slurred bass notes in groups of two and how to enlist a dipped wrist to wrist forward motion to realize their musical contour. Above these figures, in the treble, the students separately practices spongy wrist after-beat harmonic thirds.
The realization of an echo in measures 4 to 8, requires a lighter application of arm weight filtered through relaxed wrists into the fingers.
Balancing the voices between the hands, and following the crest of crescendo and its opposite, diminuendo becomes a continuous challenge in the outflow of gorgeously nuanced music.
As the student is bathed in beauty from start to finish, he’s more willing to meet the technical demands of this piece.
A middle section, provides a stark contrast to the page one offering, and takes off in an upward scale-wise direction. This is a whimsical portion of the interlude that strikingly sets it apart from what preceded.
The crescendo rolled from left into right hand peaks with an accented half-note that has a bass staccato played harmonic 2nd in between, gives the music a pleasing lift. A sequence of this scale figure up a step, intensifies it, before there’s a graceful transition back to the beginning theme.
The most wondrous cap to this composition is a longer scale-wise ascent to the final sustained tonic note, (with a touch of chromatics–half steps) A rolling motion underlies these passages.
A final soothing chord emanating from the melodic C wisps away, leaving behind a satisfying feeling of resolution. The sustain pedal enriches the closing cadence with warmth.
What an amazing piece of music to explore with a student on so many levels.
Another Gillock sampler, but for Intermediate students:
Blog: The Formative years of Piano Study and the basic building-blocks of learning
WILLIAM GILLOCK http://www.halleonard.com/biographyDisplay.do?id=240&subsiteid=1
“William Gillock (1917-1993), noted music educator and composer of piano music, was born in LaRussell, Missouri, where he learned to play the piano at an early age. After graduating from Central Methodist College, his musical career led him to long tenures in New Orleans, Louisiana and Dallas, Texas, where he was always in great demand as a teacher, clinician, and composer. Called the “Schubert of children’s composers” in tribute to his extraordinary melodic gift, Gillock composed numerous solos and ensembles for students of all levels. He was honored on multiple occasions by the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC) with the Award of Merit for Service to American Music, and his music continues to be remarkably popular throughout the United States and throughout the world.”