Announcing official endorsement of American Popular Piano

Conservatory Canada is excited by the overwhelming success of our new Contemporary Idioms Programs for piano, voice and guitar.

Building on this success and to further assist teachers approaching this new curriculum, we would like to announce the endorsement of AMERICAN POPULAR PIANO as a recommended course of study for the Contemporary Idioms Curriculum for Piano.

This course of study will support teachers when preparing students for the examination requirements outlined in the Contemporary Idioms Syllabus for piano.

The American Popular Piano Series (APP), developed by Christopher Norton and Scott McBride Smith, offers a progressive course of study to guide teacher and student through contemporary styles of music. In addition, it offers a step-by-step approach to improvisation. This integrated, comprehensive program ensures the development of well-rounded piano fundamentals using a combination of classical and popular styles.

The repertoire found in APP meets the style requirements of a Contemporary Idioms examination (See syllabus requirements). A cross-over of repertoire levels will be accommodated as follows:

Conservatory Canada American Popular Piano
Level 1 Level 1 & 2
Level 2 Level 3
Level 3 Level 4
Level 4 Level 5
Level 5 Level 6
Level 6 Level 7
Level 7 Level 8
Level 8 Level 9 & 10 (in production)

Each level of APP includes a CD with backing tracks to the Ensemble pieces which can be used to fulfill the requirements for "bonus marks" on a Contemporary Idioms examination.

Although Conservatory Canada will allow students to fill all exam style requirements with APP compositions, we encourage teachers and students to explore repertoire of other composers as well.

(Appropriate repertoire can be found in Canadian Contemporary Repertoire Series by Mayfair Publishing or in Contemporary Piano Repertoire by Hal Leonard Publishing)

Regarding the Contemporary Idioms lead sheet requirement, although chord indications do not appear in APP repertoire until level 6, the program does introduce pop / jazz cadences with appropriate voicings as part of the Technic Chord exercises in Levels 3, 4 and 5. At these levels blues scales and modal licks are introduced over common LH chord progressions beginning with "6" chords and progressing through "7" chords. (For further "lead sheet" support please consult the Conservatory Canada Guide to Contemporary Idioms)

A list of repertoire styles for APP can be found on our website in the Piano Publications.

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