Here are various pages which can be used to help students learn to find notes. They make a handy references as students begin to commit the staves to memory.
Feel free to share and suggest improvements!
Gelassenheit is for me synonymous with nirvana.
It’s a word that comes from German and doesn’t translate easily. I love those words. They give you permission to devote a whole paragraph to their honour. You’ll need at least a paragraph to describe the exotic decadence of loanwords to your monoglot friends. Although Gelassenheit is not yet accepted into English, if I have my way, it will be. English is just one big quilt anyways, what’s another stripe?
Gelassenheit comes into English and breaks into some very different translations, like a river that breaks into smaller ones and covers a wider terrain: composure, calmness, serenity, repose, imperturbability.
It’s the noun form of the adjective gelassen, which translates to cool-headed, composed, or poised. Gelassen comes from the verb lassen which does a lot of semantic heavy lifting. It’s in partnership with a lot of other verbs, but essentially boils down to let, or to leave be. Now you see how the word “composure” doesn’t capture the aspect of release that is part of Gelassenheit?
Strangely enough, I did not brush elbows this word from any of my German classes or the endless sea of vocab lists that comes from them. Instead I encountered it in an article on spirituality and jazz, where the author described it as “’releasement’, the unbinding of all preconceptions and expectations”. That’s some risky territory. In a musical context it means “openness, the willingness to let go and forego ownership to the music at hand”1. This word is my new friend. I have a lot to learn from it. You don’t have room for creativity if you don’t have room for mistakes. Oh hi Miles, I hear you there. Lil Doc Davis has a word for us all.
[Public Safety Announcement:
Until Gelassenheit is seen for what it is the English language, it will keep masquerading as calm, cool, and released. You’ve been warned! The meaning it carries is operating under various false identities! It only shows a fraction of itself at a time. Educate yourself! Until Gelassenheit is exposed for what it is, it will continue to enjoy the cushy status of italicisation of foreign words. Wake up people!]
So the moral of the story is that I’m growing into this idea of release where music and artistry is concerned, and that I’m a nerd because I make friends with words.
One of the first things I ask my new students is what kind of music they like to listen to and would like to play. Keeping a personal connection to the music that one is learning is of utmost importance to me. It can provide a reason for persevering through the challenges of mastering the piece. I tend to approach repertoire song-by-song rather than songbook by songbook because variety is more than the spice of life. It’s the salt, the sugar, and the siracha! But every student is different. If there is one band that means the world to them, or one album that they have listened to in over and over, then buying an entire book of the same artist would make sense. Yet in most cases, diversity is key. There is such a wide diversity of music that you might never uncover if you don’t go digging.
I hope this list will be a good starting point for you. Most of the resources on this list are free, but require some sort of registration. 1-2 are of a “use at your own risk” type of legality, because they operate peer-to-peer. 3-9 are either licensed, public domain, or a mixture, so undertake at your own discretion, and keep in mind the ways you plan to support the artists and creators in the ways they make the world more beautiful. Nothing is free! Except maybe the watermarked Google image results that give you only the first page of a song. You can do better, and this list will help you.
If there are sources of sheet music that you have had experience with that aren’t listed here, feel free to chime in below in the comments! I plan to update this resource as I discover more sources. This list is just a consolidation of my years of sleuthing around on the internet, intended to save you time and frustration.
UPDATE: Here are more resources that others have used, but I haven’t included them in my list because I haven’t used them much:
Public Domain Choral Music
Leave me playing the piano
and I will beomce aware of what I know
and feel more deeply all the things I feel
to the maximum, the surreal
just like a trapeze artist in trance
my voice flies, a javelin that cuts through silence
the thought of you ringing through a solitary evening
lyrics emerge on a journey toward a deeper meaning
when I am alone, I wonder where
your breath readjusts the air.
– Heidi Savoie