Arabian Dance, from The Nutcracker
Arabian Dance, for elementary piano players. (See another page, Arab Dance, for the same piece arranged for Intermediate students!)
It's that season of the year again, when the thoughts of little dancers (and big!) turn lightly toward -- The Nutcracker!
Here in my town it seems that no sooner has a dance performance of Tchaikovsky's most famous ballet music wound down, but it's time to plan the next one.
In reality, it is only every two years. For my husband, it's too often. But I love love LOVE the music of The Nutcracker!
Of all Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker pieces most familiar to young kids, "Coffee" or "Arab Dance" is the one most approachable for young pianists.
Yes, it's repetitious. Mesmerizing. It may even put listeners to sleep.
But for some musicians, it's the kind of music that winds its way around your imagination and carries you to far-off lands.
Scroll down the page for the link to the printable PDF.
I've never been happy yet with any of the arrangements available for students of Arab Dance, so I finally decided to arrange my own.
This is the first of two versions: a "Middle C"-type arrangement (though it is far more difficult than those kind of pieces generally are).
I did a bit of extra notation work in this "Middle C" version as far as details go. I carried over from the Schirmer arrangement many of the dynamic markings just for those younger students, to help them DREAM as they are playing this evocative piece.
You have the opportunity to pronounce the deliciously fun Italian words "MOL-to espres-SIV-o, e can-TA-bi-le", which of course means "very expressive and singing!"
"Dol - CIS - simo", as you may know, means "sweet, very!" and at the end, you have the fun of encouraging students to say "mor-EN-do sin' al fine," which means "Dying until the end."
Then you can talk to them about the Latin root word of morendo: morte, or death. Words give kids power.
This is a new song in my studio, so initially I didn't have a real good idea how students would do with the odd hand coordination. (That's one reason for the excessive amount of fingering throughout this easy version, but especially in the first couple of lines. )
Now I can report that one young girl had no issues with the notes and fingering, but the timing was a bit of a challenge at first.
This piece will be REWARDING, but perhaps a bit of a struggle for some, even if the notes are familiar. I'm interested to hear how your students do with it.
One thing I advocate: LOTS OF PEDAL! That will create atmosphere, even if the right notes aren't always there!
And don't forget to check out the intermediate arrangement of Arabian Dance!
The printable PDF link for this Christmas music:
Download Arabian Dance for elementary piano players, free
I Love You, Lord sheet music - a beautiful arrangement for advancing piano students, plus a guitar tabs sheet that is very easy. In the keys of F and G.
All My Trials & Hold On - whether these are gospel or spiritual songs, they are bluesy in feeling, & satisfying to play! See what your students think.
This free piano sheet music PDF for beginners is really a fiddle tune! But don't tell your piano players, as it makes a rambunctious, easy duet! Now with Part 2.
Best piano books - or at least, the ones I find myself using over and over again in my music studio! Here are my favorites.
Free hymn sheet music to touch hearts, "Softly and Tenderly" is about going home -- the final home. Easy & advanced piano versions, lead sheet & guitar tabs.
Songs Old & Songs New
All the first-year material I give my beginner students.
Piano keyboard sheets, scales, chords, note-reading exercises, and over 256 pages of music!
Queen Esther in the Bible
This beautiful song book for piano & voice "Esther, For Such a Time as This", available as a digital download, tells the riveting story of the time when Jews in ancient Persia faced a foe named Haman, and how a brave young queen risked her life to save her people.
A good choice for a singing story-teller, an operatic group, a short theater production, or a class of children!
This book is also available from Amazon as a paperback.
Just the Black Keys
This book is available as a digital download from this site. Visit this page to see some free examples from the book.
It is also available from Amazon as a paperback!
This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.
And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!" They will be spending more time at the piano.
The Adventures of Tonsta
A perfect read aloud storybook
for little boys or girls.
The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble.
With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes.
Lots of trolls in this book - including one who gives him a Christmas gift!
Available at Amazon
Sign up for "Take Note!" to see what's new every month.
About the Author
Hi, I'm Dana! (Say that like "Anna".) I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.
Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.
You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.