Since I’m always on the lookout for new piano music for my students I was happy to stumble upon a posting by Kristen Yost where she mentioned Africa by Neeki Bey. This book features ten songs including a hymn and a freedom song from South Africa, a pop song from Kenya, an Egyptian folk melody and more. The book is written for late beginner through early intermediate but I am using it with my beginning teen students.
Besides being a great addition to my collection of world music, what I most like about this book is that the students are encouraged to listen and then imitate. In addition to the CD which has three tracks of each song (slow, med, performance tempo), the notes in the book suggest that the students “feel the groove” by swaying with the music, marching, clapping, tapping, etc. (This is a great way to develop those ear training skills!)
In the spirit of getting our students to just “Go Play” I recommend taking a break from dry and wordy explanations of rhythm, articulation and melody. Pick up the book, listen to the CD, try out the pieces, sing along and have fun.