The 40 Piece Challenge- music I’m using

We’re into Week 4 of the teaching term here in sunny Melbourne and as the temperature is once again ramping up to 40 degrees C, it seemed like a good time to check in with how the 40 Piece Challenge is ramping up as well.

The response overall from students has been great, with around 90% of my students taking up the challenge, albeit with differing numbers of set pieces. So the challenge now is to find enough repertoire to meet the weekly consumption of music.

First port of call was to take a look at the music that each student already owns. It’s amazing how many pieces can be left out in the journey through any given book or are passed over in the name of progress. Some students also have books left over from sheet music splurges, and we’ve simply never yet got to looking at them. There’s been a certain amount of “Oh I forgot I owned this!”, or “I’ve wanted to look at this one for a while, but just haven’t got round to it!”. Sometimes the pieces aren’t actually ‘new’ to the student, but it’s been so long since we last encountered them that they may as well be coming across them for the first time

Classics like Betty Paret’s ‘First Harp Book’ or Samuel Milligan’s ‘Fun from the First’ provide loads of opportunity to find ‘little’ pieces that may have been skipped over. Bonnie Goodrich’s ‘Small Tunes for Young Harpists’ has a huge collection of easy pieces with a very similar note range. I’ve already seen one student who has issues with fluent note reading fly through the early pages of this with incredible accuracy. Her confidence is going up each week as suddenly note reading is not a struggle, or a chore that gets in the way of actually making music!

The focus at the moment is for pieces around the 1st-2nd grade standard, but I’m anticipating that will change as the challenge continues.



Betty Paret- First Harp Book

Samuel Milligan- Fun from the First Vol 1 and 2

Alfredo Orlando Ortiz- International Rhythmic Collection (esp. Vol 1)

Bonnie Goodrich- Small Tunes for Young Harpists

Sylvia Woods- Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp

Sarah Deere-Jones- 12 Easy Pieces for Traditional Harp





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