Most Resent 50 Top Piano Players of the World


To come up with the top 50 pianists was not easy at all. I had to narrow it down to some criteria. Therefore, I chose artists from the late 19th century to date.

Here you will find 4o classical piano players ( some of them composers as well), five top jazz pianists and five best loved pop artists.

In this process I had to omit the everlasting, classical piano greats like Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Anton Rubinstein etc. And my favourite Rachmaninov even though he fits into this category.  In my blog post No.9, I have focused on some of the afore mentioned and that was another reason why I decided to focus on others who have contributed much, especially to classical piano music.

These artists have commitment, dedication and intense focus (apart from talent). They have given a great amount of time to interpret the music for the pure enjoyment of the public.

This post took longer than I expected because I could not help listening to their music whether it was classical, jazz or pop. 

In my humble opinion, they all belong to the category of Genius.

I have arranged them in the chronological order, starting from the oldest in each group.

classical music

1. Teresa Carreno (1853-1917) (María Teresa Carreño García de Sena)

Teresa Carreno was born into a musical family in Caracas, Venezuela and was first taught by her father. Her teachers noticed her talent, and made her debut when she was eight in New York, the year they emigrated. In the following year in 1863 Carreno performed for Abraham Lincoln at the White House. Her style was full of vigour and power so much so that she was called the Valkarie of Venezuella. 

Carreno toured Europe extensively, performing and later settled down in Berlin. 

Teresa Carreno

Teresa Carreno

Teresa Carreno died in at her apartment in New York as health had deteriorated.

She dazzles me with her vigour of tone and touch and the precision with which she handles passages with octaves.

Schumann- Fantasie Op. 17 (1);

Venicia; I love this one for the delicate, smooth playing.

2. Josef Hofmann (1876-1957)

Josef Hofmann  was born in Krakow, Poland to musician parents. His mother was a singer of light opera and his father was the professor of piano and harmony at the Warsaw Conservatory. Hofmann was a gifted child and started his music lessons  when he was only three and gave his first public performance when he was five and the Warsaw Opera House. At the age of nine, he toured Europe performing which included, performing with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Society.

By the time he was 11, he was performing 80 concerts an year! In USA,the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children stepped in citing that he is suffering due to ill health. A benefactor offered his father $50,000 on the condition that he would not appear in public concerts until he was 18. Hofmann remains as one of the greatest pianists of any age.

Steinway had special pianos with narrower keys for his smaller hands.

Josef Hofmann

Josef Hofmann

Hofmann had the effortless style of playing giving his interpretation of the piece which he believed was appropriate.

Josef Hofmann died in Los Angeles, California.

My choice: Hofmann plays Hofmann, “Penguins”; I like the element of fun in it.

Chopin- Scherzo No. In B flat minor;

Beethoven- Piano Concerto in E flat Major (Emperor);


3. Alfred Cortot ( 1877-1962)

Alfred Cortot was born in Nyon, Switzerland whose father was French and mother was Swiss. He started his music studies when he was nine in at the Paris Conservatoire, as his family had moved to Paris. Cortot made his debut in 1897 performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor. Op.37.  Cortot  was very enthusiastic about Wagner’s music because he performed the piano duet at the same event and liked Wagner’s music very much. This gave him the opportunities to conduct as well.   He is considered as the greatest interpreter of Chopin’s music; Hope you enjoyed it.

Alfred Cortot

Alfred Cortot

Alfred Cortot died in Lausanne, Switzerland.

My preference; Chopin-Ballade No.1 in G minor. Op.23;

This is different to so many other interpretations that I have listened to in the ornamentations and dynamics. He had no problems in making changes in the score which amounted to his creativity in contrast to most modern players who are more worried about making mistakes rather than making music.

He had no problems in making changes in the score which amounted to his creativity in contrast to most modern players who are more worried about making mistakes rather than making music.

Scriabin- Etude No.12 (Piano Roll) Op. 8; 

Chopin- Piano Concerto No.2 Op.21 with Orchestre de Radio Paris; 

Rare video ( in French);

4. Nicolai Medtner ( 1880-1951)

“Inspiration comes, where thought is saturated in emotion, and emotion is imbued with sense.” – Nikolai Medtner

Nicolai Medtner was born in Moscow, Russia who was an outstanding pianist in the 20th century apart from being a  recognised composer of music in the romantic style. Medtner spent years in exile in Western Europe, mainly England where he chose to live later. He wrote music, mostly for piano and for himself to play, which included sonatas, chamber music and many songs. He was sponsored by Maharajah of Mysore who paid for his almost entire output which is a highlight in Medtner’s life.It is also a one of the greatest achievements in the 20th century.


Nicolai Medtner

What is obvious to me about his music is that it is demanding and yet charming with full of nostalgia supporting for what he is fondly known; his strong brain and soft heart.

Nicolai Medtner died at his home in Goldern Greenn, London.

My choice: Medtner- Sonata NO.1, Reminiscenza, Op.38, performed by Sviatoslav Richter;

Medter plays Medtner- Piano Quintet (with Aeolian Quartet);

Medtner- Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, performed by Medtner with London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Issay Dobrowen;

5. Artur Schnabel (1882-1951)

“To many of the last generation, there was but one Beethoven pianist and his name was Artur Schnabel.” Harold C. Schonberg in The Great Pianist.

Artur Schnabel was born in Lipnik, Austria which is a part of Poland now. He started his piano lessons at six by following his sister’s lessons, when her teacher noticed his talents. Later he went to Vienna to study with the best teachers that Austria had then.

Schnabel became a recognised soloist after having performed in a series of solos with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Until 1921 he only performed in Europe and decided to sail to USA.

He went after challenging music which was just beyond his grasp, the music he considered as better than it can be performed. He was the first to record Beethoven’s 32 sonatas. Schnabel was a gifted composer who composed three symphonies, five string quartets and a concerto. 

Artur Schnabel

Artur Schnabel

My favourite: Foxtrot Dance for Piano, composed by Artur Schanbel, performed by Donald Isler;

He incorporated classical into pop so cleverly. You can compare it with a modern foxtrot!

Mozart- Piano Sonata K.333-1st movement;

Beethoven- Complete Piano Concertos with London Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Malcolm Sargent;


6. Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982)

Arthur Rubinstein was the youngest of seven children. He started the piano when he was four and gave his first concert at the age of seven. At 12 Rubinstein made his debut in Berlin where he played Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major K.488. Her was supported by patrons during his music education from the ages 10 to 17. He relied on his talent to learn quickly.

He is well known for his recordings of Chopin’s music. I remember my father’s albums of his recordings of Chopin’s nocturnes and waltzes.

Arthur Rubinstein

Arthur Rubinstein

Among the 20th century pianists, Rubinstein is one of the titans. His technique was remarkable and brought his own interpretation of the music with his natural calm style.

My favourite: Chopin- Nocturnes (complete); clear, crisp and soothing.

Chopin- Polonaise (Heroic) and Manuel de Falla- Ritual Fire Dance;

Saint Saëns-Piano Concerto No.2-part 2 of 2 (HD), with London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andre Previn;


7. Dame Myra Hess (1890-1965)

Myra Hess was born in London and began piano lessons when she was five. As her father insisted, she had to make public performances to earn money while continuing her studies at Guildhall School of Music. She won the Steinway Medal and the Ada Lewis Scholarship during this time. A year later Hess entered Royal Academy of Music in London where she graduated and won the Mac Fareen Gold Medal.

During the WWII she held lunchtime concerts at the National Gallery in London with the sole purpose of uplifting the spirits of the general public. She simply loved playing the piano and believe that music helped people spiritually.

Dame Myra Hess

Dame Myra Hess

Her fun-filled exuberance is shown in her performances which I enjoy very much. I am sure you would too. 

Her music, at such uncertain times must have uplifted much broken spirits; given hope and made many happy.

My favourite: Brahms- Waltz in A flat Op39.No.15;

Love the way she brings out the lilting melodies.

Scarlatti- Sonata in C minor, K 11;

Bach- English Suite No.2 in A minor, BWV 807;


8.Wilhelm Kempff (1895-1991)

Wilhelm Kempff was born in Brandenburg, Germany, began his music lessons at four with his father who was an organist in the Lutheran church. Kempff first started with the violin and then moved on to the piano. His debut was at six and Potsdam. Kempff enrolled with Berlin Musikhchschule in 1914 and studied piano and composition. He won the Mendelssohn Prize for composition and piano playing in 1917. He played Beethoven’s Concerto in G Major at the Berlin Philharmonic in 1918. Until 1951 he toured only Europe and in 1951 toured London and USA in 1964. Kempff made his name with his performances of Beethoven and Schumann.

Wilhelm Kempff

Wilhelm Kempff

What fascinates me is his rhythmic cleverness, invention and energetic harmonics; refreshing.

Wilhelm Kempff  died in Positano, Campania, Italy. ( a previous blog) 

Here is the link for my blog post for his performance on Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

My favourite: Brahms- (op. 10, 24, 76,79,116,117,118,119)

Schubert -Impromptu op.90 (D 899) No.3;

Beethoven-Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor; with New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Bernstein;

9. Claudio Arrau (1903-

Claudio Arrau was born in a small town in Chile whose parents were from Spain and Scotland. He had his first piano lessons with his mother who was a piano teacher. His first recital was when he was just five years! The then president of Chile was so impressed by him that he was sent to Germany to study piano. He studied there for 10 years and made many appearances which brought him to the international circuit. The education in Germany made Claudio a great interpreter of Romantic music.

His career spanned eight decades. He was most recognized for his 19th century works. He played Beethoven’s sonatas with much energy and physical power.

Claudio Arrau

Claudio Arrau

The day he died was declared a national day of mourning in Chile as a mark of respect of his clarity.

My favourite: Debussy- Suite, Bergamasque; . It is his resonant , deep sound that makes his performance so different from the others.

Grieg – Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 with Royal Concertgebow Orchestra (Amsterdam), conducted by Dir. Cristoph vonDohnayi;

Mozart- Piano Sonatas;


10. Rudolf Serkin (1903-1991)

Rudolf Serkin was born in Eger, Bohemia (now Cheb, Czech Republic) to Jewish Russian family. They moved to Vienna when Serkin was nine. He made his public debut at the age of 12 with Oskar Nedbal and the Wiener Symphoniker.

Serking launched his concert life in 1920 while living with the great Adolf Busch in Berlin. His first USA appearance was in 1933 at the Coolidge Festival in Washington D.C. and in 1936 launched his solo concert career with New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Arturo Toscanini.

He made many recordings mainly of composers of classical era.

Rudolf Serkin

Rudolf Serkin

Rudolf Serkin died in Guilford, Vermont, USA.

 My favourtite: Brahms- Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat Major;

Schubert- Impromptus for Piano,D 935;

Beethoven- Piano Concerto No.4;


11. Vladimir Samoylovych Horowitz (1903-1989)

Vladimir Horowitz was born in Kiev, USSR where he left in 1925 and visited Russia only once just before his death. Horowitz’s early lessons were with his mother who was also a pianist. He enrolled with the Kiev Conservatory in 1912 where he studied until 1919.

Horowitz acquired the reputation as a virtuoso after his extensive performances in Kharkov, Moscow, Kiev and Leningrad. It was not necessarily that he got paid with money, he intact got ‘paid’ with food in Leningrad in 1922, for his 23 concerts!

He was a world famous pianist and performed extensively throughout Europe and USA. Other performers believe that he knew all the repertory. What I read about him was that his own Steinway travelled with him, dismantled, and each key wrapped in tissue paper! He did not put music into categories. He played them from his heart. He was fascinating and humble with an electrifying touch. He was an icon.

Vladimir Horowitz died in his home in USA but was buried, in their family plot, in Milan according to his wishes. 

My favourite- Scriabin- Etude No.12, Op.8;

Vladimir Horowitz

Vladimir Horowitz

Horowitz brought tone , colour and excitements in his playing. He was one of the greatest of pianists of our time.

“I am a general. My soldiers are the keys and I have to command them.” Those were his words about his music.

Scriabin- Piano Sonata No.3, 16 Preludes;

Rachmaninov- Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor, with New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta ( in 1978);


12. Maria Grinberg (1908-1978) 

Maria Grinberg was born in Odessa, Russia whose father was a Hebrew scholar and mother who taught piano privately. She continued with her further music education at Moscow Conservatory. She won the Second Prize at the Second All-Union Pianist Competition in 1935.

Grinberg went through a traumatic period when both, her father and husband were executed as “enemies of the people” in 1937 by the Soviete Government. The political situation in the USSR greatly affected her career so much so that she could only travel to the West when she was 50, which was after the death of Stalin.

Maria Grinberg

Maria Grinberg

I appreciate her courage and her determination that she had, to keep her art despite, all the hardships and trauma she had to encounter for no fault of hers or her family’s.

My favourite: The Princes of the Piano which is a compilation of piano music of famous piano music composers. This is volume iv;

Schumann: “Symphonic Etudes” Op. 13;

Mozart: Piano Concerto No.24 in C Major,K 491, conducted by Victor Dubrovsky;

13. Gina Bachauer( 1913-1976)

Gina Bachauer was born in Athens, Greece started learning the piano at the age of five who showed her aptitude for the piano. She gave her first recital when she was eight in Athens. Bachauer had her music education at the Athens Conservatory and later continued her education in Paris at the Ecole Normale de Musique.

She had the rare opportunity of learning from Rachmaninov and this is her magnificent performance of his Prelude in C sharp minor, Op No.3;

Bachauer’s repertoire was wide covering from Couperin to Stravinsky; was best at in the 19th- and early 20th-century repertoire.

She impressed her audience with the strength and breadth of her keyboard command and essentially balanced musicianship.

Gina Bachauer died of a heart attack in Athens on the day she was to perform with National Symphony Orchestra of Washington,D.C.

Gina Bachauer

Gina Bachauer

My favourite: Stravinsky- In Petrushka’s Room; – Brahms’s Variations on a Theme from…;

Saint Saens- Concerto No. In G minor, Op.22, with London Orchestra, conducted by Alec Sherman;

14. Jorge Bolet (1914-1990)

Jorge Bolet was born in Havana, Cuba. He started playing at five years of age. His first teacher was his sister and at the age of 12 he was sent to Curtis Institute for his music education. Bolet became an expert on Romantic music, a worthy tribute to his teachers.

Later he became a US resident and joined the Army during the war. During this time when he was in Japan, he conducted the Japanese production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado.

One of his teachers was Leopold Godowsky, whose arrangements for Chopin Etudes is considered as most difficult pieces ever written which Bolet had recorded.

He was mainly recording for Decca.

Jorge Bolet

Jorge Bolet

His tone is full and rich which is so Romantic music. He is well known for his percussive way of playing bringing out the strength of each note.

My favourite: Liszt- Venezia e Napoli- Tarantella;

Chopin-Etude in A flat No,25 Godowsky arranagement;

Grieg- Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.16 with Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin, conducted by Riccardo Chailly;


15. Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997)

Sviatoslav Richter was born in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, whose father was an organist. Richter was self-taught mostly, even though his father gave him the early music lessons. He played any music that came his way and developed an exceptionally well technique. He was playing opera by the age of eight.

Young Richter grew up in Odessa as his father was a teacher at the Odessa Conservatory. During his stay in Odessa, he played as a rehearsal pianist. His first public performance, in 1934 was at the Odessa House of Engineers. The performance was a great success and Richter’s career as a virtuoso was sealed.

Salvatore Richter

Salvatore Richter

Sviatoslav Richter’s technique was incomparable to any other pianist; it was full of imagination especially in romantic works. He played Schumann and Chopin with such shading that the sound was beyond anyone’s imagination. He could produce the inner voices of Schubert and Bach with extraordinary clarity. The main feature of his playing was the improvisation.

Richter performed widely in the West though he never left Russia. He lived mostly in Paris and Germany towards the latter part of his musical career. He died in Moscow from a heart attack, as reported by Russian Cultural Ministry.

My favourite- Prokofiev- Sonata No. 7 in B flat major 3/3 Osaka Live; 

He lived mostly in Paris and Germany towards the latter part of his musical career. He died in Moscow from a heart attack, as reported by Russian Cultural Ministry

Liszt- Piano Concerto No.1 in E Flat (LEGENDARY RECORDING!!!);

Documentary-The Enigma;


16. Emil Gilels (1916-1985)

Emil Gilels started his lessons at the age of six and teacher from the Institute of Music and Drama in Odessa heard him perform at the age of 12 and decided to prepare him to enter the Moscow Conservatory. In 1931 he won a scholarship from the Ukrainian government. He won the All-Union Competition when he was 16 and after graduating from Odessa entered the Moscow Conservatory for further his musical education.

Emil Gilels

Emil Gilels

Gilels was a short and stocky person with short fingers that played fiery music as well as tender sweet music equally well. He had immense energy that created special sounds for each style he played.was a short and stocky person with short fingers that played fiery music as well as tender sweet music equally well. He had immense energy that created special sounds for each style he played.

It is reported that  Emil Gilels died in Moscow due to kidney failure.

My favourite: Rameau- La rappel des oiseaux;, it is simply exquisite.

Bach/Siloti- Prelude in B minor;

Dmitri Borisovich Kabalevsky- Piano Concerto No.3 in D Major, Op 50, with Soviet Union State Radio and Television Orchestra, conducted by Kabelvsky himself;

Hope you enjoyed his music as much as I did. Now let’s have a look at another brilliant pianist.

17. Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (1920-1995)

“Here is a new Liszt”-Cortot

Arturo Michelangeli was born in Brescia, Italy and started to learn the piano when he was four at the Instituto Musicale Venturi. But he furthered his studied in Milan where he studied composition as well. Michelangeli received his soloist diploma at the age of 14 and launched his concert career.

His extraordinary talents were recognised and got the opportunity to enter the prestigious Geneva International Competition where he won the first prize.

The famous words of Cortot helped his international career. Michelangeli played in England in 1946 and in US in 1948. He was involved in many international music festivals and spent much time to his teaching activities in Bologna, Venice and Bolzano Conservatories, including master classes.

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli died in Lugano, Switzerland due to ill health.

Arturo Benedetti Michelangelli

Arturo Benedetti Michelangelli

He was admired and loved for his impeccable touch and the melody he brought through with spine tingling piano work with many recordings.

My favourite: Rachmaninov-Piano Concerto No.4,Op.40;

Debussy- Preludes (Book 1 );

Maurice Ravel-Piano Concerto in G major with London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sergiu Celibidache;

Master Class Documentary;

18. Georges Cziffra (1921-1994)

Georges Cziffra was born in Budapest, Hungary to a very poor family. He was a sickly child and self-taught the piano and started improvising. Cziffra was employed by a circus to perform when he was five and was fortunate at nine, as he was spotted by Franz Liszt .

Georges Cziffra

Georges Cziffra

Cziffra went through a very difficult time during the war being imprisoned and released in 1953. Due hard work during the prison term, his wrists and feet were injured and once he recovered after his release, he started playing the piano and built up a career as an international star.

Georges Cziffra died in 1994, of cancer.

He displays so much of emotions that he makes his piano weep. My favourite; Liszt- Grand Galop Chromatique; and 

Virtuose Magicien;

Liszt- Hungaria Rhapsody No.6;

Saint Saens-Etude en forme de Waltz Op.52 No.6;


He rose above all the hardship and setbacks to pursue his passion. His story is an example for everybody.

19. Ivan Moravec (b.1930)

Ivan Moravec was born in Prague, Czech Republic whose father loved opera and music. He had a large a collection of gramophone records which he listend to with his young son. Moravec started his piano lessons when he was seven and made his debut with Prague Radio at the age of 16. At 18 he won the first prize from the Conservatory in Prague but could not pursue his music for the next six years as suffered from pain from a previous skating accident.

Moravec returned to performing only in 1954 and toured Europe performing and after his performance in London in 1959 he was recognised for his talents and started recording with Connoisseur Record Society

Ivan Moravec

Ivan Moravec

His interpretations are very much personal with subtle differences to each modulation.

My favourite; Chopin- Barcarolle;

Debussy- Feux d’artifice;

Smetana- Polka in A minor with London Symphony Orchestra;

Hope I am keeping your interest alive! My main idea is to give you as much information as possible in one place.

20. Alfred Brendel (b. 1931)

“One of the defining performers of our age”
- Boston Globe

Alfred Brendel is an Austrian born in Vizmberk, Czechoslovakia, now known as Loucna and Desnou, Czech Republic. His parents were

Alfred Brendel

Alfred Brendel

non-musical. During WWII at 14, he was sent to Yugolsavia to dig trenches. There he was hospitalised because he was affected by frostbites.

Brendel was the first pianist to record Beethoven’s complete piano works.He has performed extensively in concerts and festivals with leading orchestras and conductors world over and as result he has a vast discography.

My favourite: Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.32;

Franz Schubert- Piano Sonata No.21 in B flat Major,D 960;

Robert Schumann- Piano Concerto in A minor;


21. Glen Gould (1932-1982)

Glen Gould was born in Toronto whose musical talents were observed from a very young age. He became a concert pianist when he was just 15. Gould started being recognised through radio, television broadcasts, recordings, compositions and many more, in his early twenties.

Gould’s mastery was in performing baroque music. Even though he disliked early-Romantic music, he thrilled his audience with Classical late-Romantic and early 2oth century music. He has a vast array of recordings of a wide range of classical music.

Glen Gould died in Ontario, Canada of a stroke. Many tributes flowed in at his 30th death anniversary.

What impresses me most is that he avoided the sustain pedal as much as possible using finger technique to bring out the essence of what the composer intended for.

My favourite: Goldberg Variations; more than 2 million views! Speaks for itself.

Glen Gould

Glen Gould

J.S. Bach- Invention1 and 2;

J.S. Bach- Brandenburg Concerto No.5, performed and conducted by Glen Gould;

Interview (The Art of Piano);

You certainly would have heard of him and may have already listened to him. He had to be here!

22. Martha Argerich (b. 1941)

Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires and started her piano lessons when she was just five. Her debut was at eight when she played a concerto by Mozart. Argerich won the Geneva International Competition and the Ferruccio Busoni International Competition at the age of 16.

Martha Argerich

Martha Argerich

She is a concert pianist who has worked with many famous conductors. Chamber music is her other line of work for which she was interested in from the age of 17.

Martha Argerich is a great supporter of young pianists. She founded the Martha Argerich Piano Competition in Buenos Aires where she is the president of the jury.

My favouriteMozart- Sonata KV 521 (part 1/2), Argerich and Kissin piano for 4 hands;

An amazing performance by two amazing pianists; the chemistry between them is electric!

Prokofiev- Sonata n. 3 – Martha Argerich – live 1967;

Ravel- Piano Concerto in G Major with Orchestra Sinfonia Nazionale della Rai, conducted by Andrej Boreyko;

Interview in Stockholm for the Nobel Prize Concert 2009.flv;

23. Maurizio Pollini (1942)

Maurizio Pollini was born in Milan to a non-traditional artistic family. He developed his musical career as a result of having listened to classical records from a very young age, encouraged by his parents. Pollini was fortunate have all the resources available to him and performed at the age of nine for the first time in public. He won the first prize in International Chopin Competition when he was 18 where Arthur Rubinstein was one of the judges who was much impressed by Pollini’s performance.

He is particularly famous for his contrasting performances of both modern contemporary and classical music. He had been a Deutsche Grammophon artist  for four decades with many awards to his credit. His recordings show his graceful touch. 

Maurizio Pollini

Maurizio Pollini

He was in total command of his instrument and brought his own style and the musical version of many a composition.   

My favourite; Chopin- Nocturnes complete;

Chopin- 24 Preludes recorded with DG;

Mozart- Piano Concerto No.21 in C Major, K467 with Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, conducted by Riccardo Muti;


24. Daniel Barenboim (b. 1942)

Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires and started his piano lessons when he was five, with his mother. He continued his music studies with his father and had no other teacher. Barenboim gave his first concert when he was seven in Buenos Aires. His mentors were Artur Rubinstein and Adolf Busch. His debut as a pianist was in Vienna in 1952 and then onwards he was giving concerts in USA and Europe.

His first gramophone recording was in 1954 and then onwards, he had recorded a wide range of classical music.

Barenboim started conducting around the same time as he was making recordings. He mostly conducted the English Chamber Orchestra which lasted for more than ten years.  

My favourite,  Beethoven- 32 sonatas;                                  

Daniel Barenboim

Daniel Barenboim

Beethoven Sonata N° 29 ‘Hammerklavier’;

Beethoven’s 9th @ BBC Proms 2012. 1080p;

Interview with Charlie Rose;

25. Murray Perahia (b. 1947)  

Murray Perahia was born in New York and started playing the piano from about the age of four. Her furthered his musical studies at Mannes College where he majored in conducting and composition. His friendship with Vladimir Horowitz was an inspiration to him. Perehia won the Leeds International Piano Competition in 1972 and in 1973 had his first concert.

Murray Perahia

Murray Perahia

Perahia performances are distinctively direct. As a result his sound is exquisitely clear.

He is characteristically poetic and has a light touch has won hearts world over, including mine!

Felix Mendelssohn- Fantasy in F-sharp Major Op.28 ( Scottish Sonata);

Beethoven- Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat Major (Emperor), with Academy of St. Martin in the Fields;

Interview of Mozart Piano Concerto 25;

26. David Helfgott (b.1947) 

David Helfgott was born in Melbourne to Polish Jewish parents. He started learning the piano when he was five. He won the ABC Instrumental and Vocal Competition six times! He won a scholarship at 19 to study music at Royal College of Music, London. Helfgott won the Dannreuther Prize for the Best Concerto Performance and Marmaduke Barton Prize while he was with the RCM.

David Helfgott

David Helfgott

His finger work is incredible and mesmerising. 

Rimsky-Korsakov- Flight of the Bumble Bee; This is my favourite too.

Rachmaninov- Piano Concerto No.3, Mvt 3 with Metropolitan Orchestra, conducted by Sarah-Grace Williams;

He may not have been as well know as others, but he certainly is very popular in his country and the region.

27. Garrick Ohlsson (b. 1948)

Garrick Ohlsson was born in Bronxville, New York, USA and entered the Westchester Conservatory of Music in NY at the age of eight. He entered the Juilliard School in New York City at 13 and graduated with BMus in 1971. He won the Busoni Competition in Italy, in 1966 and went on to win the Montreal Piano Competition two years later. Ohlsson made his debut in New York in 1970 and became the first American to win the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in the same year later.

Ohlsson gained worldwide recognition as one of the finest pianists of his generation. He is 6′ and 4″ and has the widest stretch of hands that I’ve ever known; right hand octave+4 and left hand octave+5!

Garrick Ohlsson

Garrick Ohlsson

Ohlsson’s repertoire is wide and diverse with different eras and composers.

What I like in his performances are his command in extreme dynamics.

My favourite: Schubert- Piano Sonata No.17 D 850; notice the contrasts in dynamics.

Alexander Scriabin- Desire Op.57 No,1 an “Two Pieces” Op59;

Alexander Scriabin- Piano Concerto in F sharp minor, Op.20 with Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Libor Pasek;


28. Dame Mitsuko Uchida (b.1948)

Mitsuko Uchida was born in Atami near Tokyo. She moved to Vienna at 12 as her father as a diplomat got a posting there. There she studied the piano at the Vienna Academy of Music. Uchida won the Beethoven Competition in Vienna in 1969 and the second prize at the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition and also the second prize at Leeds Piano Competition in 1975.

She also plays chamber music apart from piano solos and concerti.

She is a naturalised British classical pianist and received her DBE in 2009. In the same year her recording of Mozart Concerti Nos.23 and 24 with Cleveland Orchestra which she conducted and the played the solo part, won the Grammy Award.

Mitsuko Uchida

Mitsuko Uchida

I like her interpretation of any composition; she adds originality to it with a flowing nature making the music to run through you.

My favourite, - 12 Etudes;

Chopin- Piano Sonata No,2 in B-flat minor, Op.35;

Mozart-Piano Concerto No.25 C Major K503, conducted by Riccardo Muti;

Interview 2008;

29. Grigory Sokolov (b. 1950)

Grigory Sokolov was born in Leningrad, Soviet Union and started his music education at the age of five. At seven he entered Leningrad Conservatory (now St Petersburg). He gave his first major recital in Moscow when he was 12. Grigory became internationally known when he won the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in 1966 by a unanimous decision. He is considered the world’s greatest living pianist. He is a natural pianist who amazes his ecstatic, sold-out audience, with his great repertoire and enormous strength. Isn’t she wonderful?

Grigory Sokilov

Grigory Sokilov

What fascinates me most about him is that his exquisite finger work and little use of pedal.

Couperin; Le Tic Toc Choc; ,look at the fingers dancing on the piano!

Jean Phillippe Rameau; La Poule;

An interview with him  shows how he is absorbed in his music and the piano itself.

30. Jeno Jando (b. 1952)

Jeno Jando was born in Pecs, a little town in Hungary. His early lessons were given by his mother and entered Liszt Adademy to further his musical studies. Even though Jando had major successes after his graduation, he believes that winning the third prize at the Beethoven Piano Competition at 18 that gave him the opportunity to have the international experience.

Jando has won many acclaimed piano competitions world over. He has recorded for Naxos all the piano concertos and sonatas of Mozart. His repertoire is wide spanning from baroque to modern eras.

Jeno Jando

Jeno Jando

My favourite is Bartok’s Microkosmos for its clarity and simplicity; I did Bartok’s Six Hungarian Dances for ABRSM Advanced Certificate and it was Jeno Jando’s recording that I listened to. Here is Nos. 97-153;

Liszt- Hungarian Rhapsody; ,delightful!

Haydn- Piano Concerto No.3 in D Major;

31. Michael Houstoun (b. 1952)

Michael Houstoun was born in Timaru, New Zealand. He had won every major piano competition in New Zealand by the time he became 18.

He is a well known and well loved pianist in his country who has inspired many a young musician.

Michael Houstoun

Michael Houstoun

He won the third prize at the Van Clibrun International Piano Competition in 1973, which was his first international appearance. He furthered his studies in USA and London afterwhich he returned to New Zealand in 1981.

He is perfect in timing and brings out the emotions that the composer intended; un hurried and mellow.

Debussy- Clair de Lune; This is my favourite as well.

Shostakovich- Piano Concerto No.1, Op.35 with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Lyndon-Gee;

32. András Schiff (b.1953)

Andras Schiff was born in Budapest whose parents were Holocaust survivors. He began piano lessons when he was five and made his debut by the time he was nine. Schiff started his formal studies at Ferenc Liszt Academy at 14. His recognition came when he won the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1974. He launched his successful concert and recording career in 1975 when he took the top honours in Leeds and Liszt International Piano Competitions.

Andras Schiff

Andras Schiff

I like him particularly because prefers the traditional classical music over flashy modern day pieces. Also his devotion to the art to bring in the best emotions rather than the technicalities that the music demands, although he masters it brilliantly.

Masterclass at the Royal College of Music;

Bach- English Suites;

Bela Bartok- Piano Concerto No.3 with Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ferenc Fricsay;

Radio Interview;

33. Krystian Zimerman (b.1956)

“Krystian Zimerman played with spellbinding concentration. This was the evening’s emotional core.” (Daily Telegraph, January 2013)

Krystian Zimerman was born in Zabreze, Poland and started learning the piano when he was five with his father who was also a pianist. Two years later he entered the Katowice Conservatory where he completed his music education. He won the top honours at the Ludwig van Beethoven International Piano Competition in Hradec, Kralove in 1973. Zimerman won the first prize at the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, which was the stepping stone for his international career. The ultimate breakthrough came to him when he was invited by Artur Rubinstein to Paris, to perform in 1976.

Krystian Zimerman believed strongly in the welfare of the musician.

Krystian Zimerman

Krystian Zimerman

What I love about him is that he is a perfectionist who pays a great attention to detail. The special blend of tone, superior control and intensity of emotion that he brings into his playing makes him stands out.

Beethoven- Piano Concerto No.4 in G Major, Op 58, with Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein;

Debussy- Preludes Livre 1.;

Interview with BBC;

34. Evgeny Kissin (b 1971)

This is my most admired performer.

“All the hall marks of his genius – and one does not use the word lightly – were on display: the rich, sonorous tone,  the dazzling fingerwork and,  above all,  the inspired fantasy.   So compelling is Kissin’s pianism,  so fresh his response to even the most familiar phrases, that one hangs on every note. The end of the slow movement found me gripping the armrest of my seat, mesmerized by the poetry of his reading.”            The Times, 10th May 1999

Evgeny Kissin was born in Moscow in 1971 and began to play piano by ear from when he was about two years. He entered Gnessin School of Music in Moscow, which was a special school for gifted children, when he was six. Kissin made his debut at ten by playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto K. 466. He gave his first solo recital when he was 11 and was known internationally by the age of 12.

Berlin Festival in 1987 was his debut in the (West previous blogpost). This was with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Herbert von Karajan. He was hailed as a remarkably mature pianist at 16, after this performance.

Recording companies were clamouring for him. His discography is second to none and his records too have won many accolades.

He returned to the West again in 1988 with Vladimir Spivakov as the conductor.

He has won the most prestigious awards from UK, USA, Russia and many other countries.

Despite his brilliance and genius he is humble and has a likeable personality.

Kissin lives in London since 2002 and continues to enthral his audience.

I like all his performances this one in particular for the deep understanding of the music he shows. I find him at his best when he is playing Rachmaninov who was a brilliant composer and a performer himself.

My favourite: Rachmaninov-Piano Concerto NO.1 IN C minor;

Incredible pianist; 

As a child (12): Chopin- Concerto No.1 (excerpt); 

Evgeny Kissin

Evgeny Kissin

The maturity he shows in his playing, even as child is remarkable.

Prokofiyev-Sonata No.6. Op 82, Vivace;

Chopin and Schumann- miscellaneous (2010);

Liszt – Etude d’exécution transcendante No.10 (2013 Live);

Interview with BBC Proms;

35. Lang Lang (b.1982)

Lang Lang was born in Shenyang,Liaoning, China. His father’s ancestry were the Manchu Niohuru family which had a line of Qing Empresses. Lang Lang started his piano lessons at the age of three and won the first prize at the Shenyang Piano Competition when he was five, which was also his first public performance.

Later he entered Central Conservatory of Music and won the Xing Hai Cup piano Competition in Beijing in 1993. In 1994 he won the first prize in the International Competition for Young Pianists in Ettlingen, Germany. From then onwards he went on to win many competitions and soon he was a well known as a pianist, internationally.

Lang Lang

Lang Lang

Lang Lang is the first Chinese pianist to have played with Berlin Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras along with some in the USA.

It is fascinating how he makes East meets West at the piano.

Here’s something truly spectacular that it is like a dream. Lang Lang, Dee Dee Bridgewater & RSO Jazz Open Stuttgart 2013;

Tan Dun: Eight Memories in Watercolours Op.1 Nos.1-4;

Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No.1, Part 03 with Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, conducted by R. Cahilly;


36. Yundi Li (b. 1982)

Yundi Li was born in Chongqing, China and his fascination with music was noticed as early as three year of age. Li started by learning the accordion. He urged his parents to send him for piano lessons and won his first competition when he was 12 to enter the music school in Sichuan Province.

Li won the Stravinsky Competition in USA at 13. Then onwards he won many prestigious awards including Frederic Chopin Competition in Warsaw at the age of 18.

He is another one to add to the list of large number of wonderful professional pianists storming the world from China. 

Yundi Li

Yundi Li

He has done many recordings with Gramophone so far.

He is a great inspiration for all the budding young pianists of China. He is simple, unaffected by fame apart of being a gifted and a proficient pianist.

My favourite: Live in Concert from the Festspielhaus Baden Baden; .He executes this hefty programme with the deftness of a virtuoso.

Chopin- Nocturne No.2 Op9. ;

Prokofiev- Piano Concerto No.2 with The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Yannick Nezet-Seguin;


37. John Chen (b. 1986)

“A prodigiously talented young man whose early achievements would make many more mature performers envious”-Music critic William Dart, New Zealand Herald.

John Chen was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, naturalised in New Zealand. Chen started learning the piano at the age of three and obtained the Master of Music degree from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. After winning his first competition when he was nine, Chen won many competitions thereafter. His first official performance with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra was at 15 years, when he performed Prokofiev’s Concerto No.3.

I have been to his performances before he became famous! What a humble, simple young man he is. We are very proud of him here in New Zealand.

John Chen

John Chen

Chen’s main interest is with 20th century French music and recorded with Naxos many compositions from Modern era composers.

His brilliance lies in his technique whether he plays baroque or modern; he is able to bring out the intentions of the composer.

My favourite: Mozart- Piano Sonata in G Major, K 283; ; beautiful technique.

Rachmaninov- Etude Tableau in D minor. No.4, Op.33;

Schumann- Piano Concerto in A minor, with Ludwig Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Ludwig;

38. Yuja Wang (b 1987)

Yuja Wang was born in Beijing in 1987 and started learning the piano at the age of six. She had her music education in Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. Wang won the concerto competition at Calgary’s Mount Royal College in 1999. She had two years’ study there and entered the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia where she graduated in 2008.

Wang’s international fame came to her most unexpectedly when she filled in for Martha Argerich at Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No.1 with Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2007. The critics raved about her performance and in the following year she substituted for Murray Perahia. Then onwards, she had made a name and won the hearts of the concertgoer.

She has wide range of music recorded.

I like her technique and clarity; she has the ability to bring out new emotions in what she plays.

She has both beauty and the brains. And not only that, she carries out herself well, as much as she carries out her emotions in her music.

Yuja Wang

Yuja Wang

My favourite is her interpretation of  Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No.1 in G minor op.25;

As a child (<12): Mozart Sonata in C Major, K545;

Ravel-La Valse; It is elegance. It is passion and it is mind boggling!

Shostakovich- Piano Concerto No.1;

An interview with her shows her as a normal easy going person;

Interview with BBC;

She is placed well, in a world predominantly male, even in the 21st century.

39.Danil Trifonov (b. 1991)

“Hearing Trifonov is like having a deep-tissue massage: you keep wanting to pull away from the sheer intensity of it, and you come out feeling as if your reality had been slightly altered. His recital [was a knockout] . . .” Washington Post, January 2013

Danil Trifonov was born in Nizhny Novgord, to professional musician parents. They recongnised his musical talents from a very early age and supported him to develop it. Danil started learning the piano at the age of five. His first performance with orchestra was when he was eight which was memorable for him for another reason too; one of his baby teeth came off while performing at this concert! But he realised the importance and the value in playing music when he broke his arm at 13 when he was going to his piano lesson; he fell in the slippery snow and broke his arm which kept him away from playing for more than three weeks.

Danil Trivonov

Danil Trivonov

Trifonov came to the limelight in 2010-2011 when he one three prestigious competitions. He was the winner at Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and the Arthur Rubeinstein Competition in Tel Aviv while he became the third at Chopin Competition in Warsaw.

Why I like him is that he has a sense of vivid imagination apart from the energy he puts into making it both, sensitive and thrilling.

He is a young performer as well as a composer.

I love the way he makes the piano sing.

Chopin- Barcarolle in F sharp Major;

Rachmaninov- Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini with Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta;

He shows the signs of a mature pianist even at this young age.  Don’t you think, that it would be our privilege to hear him more, in the future?

40. Benjamin Grosvenor (b 1992)

Benjamin Grosvenor was born in England to father who is a drama teacher and a private piano teacher mother. He is the youngest of five brothers. Grosvenor started studying the piano with his mother when he was six. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music. He received the  Queen’s Award for Excellence for the best all-round student of the year, at his graduation as BMus in 2012.

Benjamin Grosvenor

Benjamin Grosvenor

His first public recital was at a local church in 2003. Grosvenor performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No,21 as his first concerto with Westcliff Sinfonia. In the same year he won four competitions-The Southend Young Musician of the Year, The Essex Young Musician of the Year, The Emanuel Trophy and The EPTA Trophy to become the youngest ever winner of them. He was just ten.

Since then, he has won many prestigious awards and continues to thrill his audience and recorded music of various composers.

My favourite: Liszt Piano Concerto No.2, Part 01;

As a child (11 years); Scarlatti- Sonata in F sharp minor, K 25;

JS Bach- Gigue from Partita No.4 in D;

Benjamin Britten- Piano Concerto, Part 03; Grosvenor is able to show the classical and the jazziness of the work brilliantly.

Interview BBC Proms;


41. Arthur (Art) Tatum (1905-1956)

Art Tatum was born in Toledo, Ohio; he was a self-taught pianist who was partially blind and learned to read music in Braille. Tatum became famous in the 1930s. He was greatly influenced by Fats Waller who was an innovator of Jazz. Tatum got into the local music scene as a teenager. Tatum was a talented improviser and performed and recorded as a soloist .

Art Tatum

Art Tatum

The ornamentations and improvisations are clean and clear making it sound yet so simple.

Art Tatum died in Los Angeles, California from complications of a kidney decease.

My favourite; Begin the Beguine;

Tiger Rag;

Solo Masterpieces;


42. Thelonious Sphere Monk (1917-1982)

Thelonious Monk was born in North Carolina but his parents move to New York City when he was four and he would spend his next five decades of his life there. He started learning piano when he was 11 but already knew how to read music because he used to watch his sister practise the piano. He took part in weekly amateur competition at the Apollo Theatre so many times by the time he was 13 and they banned him from taking part anymore!

He dropped out of school at 17 to pursue his music career. Monk preferred playing for small bands as could experiment and improvise. His improvisations and style led the step to modern jazz.

His music is still fresh and appealing. I am sure you would agree.

Monk’s first recording was in 1944 although he did not record under his name until 1947.

Thelonious Monk died in Weehawken, New Jersey.

Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk

Monk’s style is unique in that it is percussive with unusual repetitions and dissonant sounds.

My favourite: Thelonious Alone in San Francisco (full album); The music is refreshing despite the fact that it was recorded in 1959.

Well, You Needn’t, with Jazz 625;

Monk’s Dream (full album);

Documentary (full);

43. Bill Evans (1929-1980)

Bill Evans was born in Plainfield, N.J. whose mother was a Ukrainian descendent and father, Welsh. Evans started piano lessons at the age of six along with the violin and the flute. He had access for classical music sheets as his mother was a classical pianist. Evans first learnt the classical piano but late developed an interest with Jazz. He confessed that learning classical piano helped his technique. He played for bands as a teenager and formed his own trio with his friends in 1950.

You will see the innovator in Evans who gets into your soul.

Bill Evans

Bill Evans

Evans was first noticed by other musicians when he played “Concerto for Billy the Kid”. He started recording from 1955 which led to signing up with Riverside label.

My favourite; Take 2- Autum Leaves;

In Memory of His Father, solo;

Bill Evans Trio- How My Heart Sings! ( full album);

Interview; (the last, in 1980)

44. Herbert Jeffery Hancock (1940-1968)

Herbie Hancock was born in Chicago, illinois and started studying piano when he was seven. Hancock was a classical pianist, playing Mozart with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra but enjoyed jazz. He admired and respected classical composer Gershwin who did much for jazz and blues. In 1956 he entered Grinnell College with idea of becoming an electrical engineer but later switched on to music.

His debut album was “Takin’Off” which set the jazz recording career.

You’ll never get tired of watching him or listening to him.

Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock

He has won an Academy Award and many Grammy Awards.

He had the ability to bring out each note separately and yet make harmony.

My favourite: Water Melon Man; A truly jazzed up old time favourite.

Jazz Fusion, Cantaloupe Island;

Takin’ Off (full album);


45. Armando Anthony (Chick) Corea (b.1941)

Chick Corea was born Armando Anthony Cores in Chelsea, Massachusetts, USA and started learning music when he was four. Corea learnt the basics of piano music from his father who was also a musician. His father took him to many musical events and first drew his inspiration for jazz from Bud Powell although he was studying classical music at the time.

Corea performed his father during his young days but started gigs on his own while in high school. When it came to jazz, he studied the music of Horace Silver () and later Corea’s trio had many of Silver’s tunes.

He made many recordings and won 20 Grammys.

Chick Corea

Chick Corea

He dedicated many compositions of his, to his childhood and dedicated “Armando Rhumba” to his father.

His music is beautiful, mellow and resonant.

My favourite; Armando’s Rhumba;

Legends of Jazz:

The Ultimate Adventure 2007 (full album);



46. Jerry Lee Lewis (b.1935)

Jerry Lee Lewis was born in Ferrday, Louisiana, which was a small community. He self-taught the piano and was one of the early showmen of the 1950s in rock music. His talents were apparent from a very early age and his father mortgage his family farm to buy young Lewis was 10.

Lewis gave his first public performance at the age of 14 and mesmerised the crowd. Lewis dropped out of school and focused on building a career with his music.He had a set back when he married his 13 year old cousin but Lewis continued to perform and made a comeback later. His name is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1986.

True King of Rock and Roll? Yes. Definitely. You agree?

Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis

His finger-work and improvisations makes him a world class piano player.

My favourite: Boogie Woogie Man;

Whole Lotta Shaking Going On;

Live in Concert 1983;

Full album Rock and Roll;


47. Sir Elton John (b.1947)

Elton John was born in Pinner, Middlesex, England, as Reginald Kenneth Dwight. He is a successful, popular pop artist and the biggest icon of music in the 20th century. He self-taught piano when he was only four, and soon his talents were discovered. Dwight won a scholarship at the age of 11, to Royal Academy of Music, London where he studied for six years.

Dwight  joined is first band Bluesology in 1961. The band was backing touring American soul and R&B musicians by 1965. In 1966 this band was the supporting band for Baldry’s which toured England. Dwight was not happy with the band and started searching for other openings but failed. Although Dwight failed the audition with Liberty Records but, he was given a pile of lyrics for which he wrote music. He corresponded with the lyricist and started recording under the name Elton John.

The recordings were not much of a success for John until he released his first album in 1970 in the USA which made him a huge international star.

 His creativity is unmatched; he will even sing about your stove! Click on “creativity” and it’s there in my blog under point no.6.

Sir Elton John

Sir Elton John

He had equal success in Broadway too. He composed for Billy Elliot (2008) which won 10 Tony Awards.In 1994 he wrote the music for the blockbuster The Lion King and entered Rock and Roll Hall for Fame in the same year. He re wrote Candle in the Wind (which was originally and eulogy for Marilyn Monroe) for the tragic death of Prices Diana in 1997. It became the fastest selling hit of all times both in UK and USA. His hit singles are unmatched today with an impressive discography and a filmography.

Elton John was knighted in 1998.

This is my favourite ; Crocodile Rock;


Greatest hits album;

Live full concert 2013;


48.William (Billy) Martin Joel (b. 1949)

Billy Joel was born in Bronx, New York and the family moved to Levittown, which is a famous suburb in Longisland. His father was an accomplished pianist but it was his mother who encouraged him to study the piano. Joel started playing when he was four showing great promise. He had already joined his third band as a pro, by the time he was 16!

Joel’s first album Cold Spring was disappointing which was released in 1971 but bounced back in 1973 with Piano Man featuring the song Piano Man. Then onwards Joel went on to make many successful albums.  

His songs are timeless. They are popular with the young ones of today too.

Billy Joel

Billy Joel

He was indicted to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, with worldwide song sales. He received Kennedy Center Honors in 2013.

My favourite: Up Town Girl; I love the melody and the video clip; so entertaining!

Piano Man;

Greatest Hits (full album);

Must See/ hear! Piano Man (again!!); Now wasn’t that brilliant?


Live at Wembly Arena,6.8.84;

Just can’t get enough of him!

49.Richard Clayderman (b.1953)

Richard Clayderman was born Philippe Pages, in Paris whose father was a piano teacher. Pageslearnt the basics of music by listening to his father giving lessons. His grandfather bought him and old piano when he was six, as he was showing his talents with the piano. Pages won many local competitions and entered Paris Conservatoire when he was 11 where he won the first prize at 16. Then onwards his destiny was planned.

In 1977, his career took a turn to carve his destiny as a great romantic music player when Olivier Toussaint and Paul de Senneville, Directors of Delphine was looking for someone to perform a romantic ballad called Ballade pour Adeline which was written for Paul’s daughter. By now he has become Richard Clayderman. It has sold nearly 22 million copies since 1977.

Clayderman travelled the world giving concerts and people adored him for his style in music and pleasant demeanour. He made classical music less “formal” which appealed to the masses.

Nancy Raegan nicknamed him “The Prince of Romance” after the concert at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1984.

He recorded his music with many orchestras and had an estimated 800 million viewers on his tour in Shanghai in 1987. He was named China’s Favourite Pianist and the sales of his albums soared.

He plays pop in a classical style and classics in a pop style. Whichever the way, his music appeals to everybody. 

Richard Claydernan

Richard Claydernan

I listened to so much of his music during the 80s and tried to play my favourites like him. Mind you, I can play Ballade pour Adeline quite well!

I love his performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and that’s how my daughter heard about Gershwin first! I introduced classical music for my children through his Classic Touch which is pure entertainment.

Ballade pour Adeline;

Gershwin- Rhapsody in Blue, performed by Richard Clayderman;

The Classic Touch with London Symphony Orchestra;


50. Yoshiki Hayashi (b.1965)

Yoshiki Hayashi was born in Tateyama, Chiba, Japan and started taking piano lessons when he was four.

Hayashi showed great interest in the music of Beethoven and Mozart and started composing music for the piano around the age of ten. There came a decisive point in his life when his committed suicide when Hayashi was still a child, which made find solace in rock music.

Hayashi formed his first band Noise in 1982 and found his own recording label Extasy Records in 1986 which he owns in Japan and Los Angelese. He formed the legendary Japanese rock band, X Japan.

His breakthrough came in 1989 when they release the album Blue Blood which stayed for more than 100 weeks in Oricon charts at No.6. His blockbuster album was Jealousy in 1991 which sold millions. It made the mark for his albums to be known internationally.

Hayashi is a well known name in Asia and is a rising figure in the West. 

Yoshiki Hayashi

Yoshiki Hayashi

Hayashi was not only a rock music artist but also a talented classical pianist. His Eternal Melody which is classical album. It performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the producer was George Martin who was the producer for Beatles.

He composed the theme for Golden Globes 69th Premier in 2012.

His body movements tells a story when he is at the piano.

My favourite: Anniversary- celebration for Emperor and Empress; Very artistic and beautiful in presentation.

Piano solo from X Japan;

Yoshiki Classical- Live in London;


The list will go on, as it should be.  I sincerely hope, that I have given you something not only useful but also enjoyable. My intention was to give you as much information as possible so that you don’t have to waste your time searching the web.

You must be having your favourites too, whom I would have omitted. Please let me know about them for it will be beneficial to us all.

Seven Secrets to Play Better and Have Fun in Piano


As teachers, we all want our students to do better. Music teachers are not different out of which, the piano teacher faces the hardest challenge.

Why are piano teachers different from other music teachers?

Well, to begin with, it involves both hands and all the fingers. Other instruments have only one line of music to play.

Then there is a wide range of keys to tackle; all other instruments have a limited range.

And of course, the size of the instrument! While the wind and string players can be easily in a group class, piano players can’t.

How to have fun learning music

Students who learn wind or string instruments, can take it to anywhere and practise; but piano practising cannot be done like that.

The worst is, if you are living in an apartment, the neighbours could complain about the noise! [Read more...]

The Best Ever Notes on Basic Piano Layout


You may want to give a basic idea of the piano to your child, before he starts proper music lessons. You may also wonder how you could do it because you don’t have a music knowledge!

In this blog, I try to explain in the most simple way about the layout of the piano as well as basic note identification. My aim is to give you an all-round view with necessary information so that you don’t have to search the web and waste your time.

When I mention ‘keyboard’, I refer to the set of black and white keys of a piano, keyboard or any other related instrument. [Read more...]

The Best List of 20 Easy Piano Sheet Music for Children and Beginners



All right. Now that you have bought a piano, found a teacher, and prepared yourself, you are waiting for your child to play MUSIC! But all what he is doing is, just playing notes! Not much tunes.

You asked the teacher and she says to be a little patient. It takes time; in fact, all good things take time. Even making cheese!

But you are not the type who will sit and sulk around until somebody else does something. You try something of your own. Get the help of that All Mighty…Google.

You try all kinds of titles and come up with Sheet Music. That’s it.

What is Sheet Music? Originally it was a hand written piece of music but these days it could be computer printed. Whichever the way, the sheet has music and a lot cheaper than buying a book. Also, you can choose what you want unlike buying a book which may have what you don’t want.

There are versions which can be downloaded to smart phones and tablets. We’ll look at them as we go along.

As the title promises I give you 20 sheet music in various formats and sites so you don’t have to search.  It is all here. The first 10 are for the beginner at the early stages.


1. Hot Cross Buns

(i) This is from YouTube and can’t get any easier.

(ii) Here’s another easy video tutorial with notes in PDF for Hot Cross Buns, from easymusicnotes.

(iii) This is from Hoffman Academy. It is a simple straightforward explanation and you can understand it without any problem.

blog7 HCB 3

The first song










2. Good King Wenceslas

blog7 GKW1L

Learn about the good king here









(i) This printable sheet music shows a very simple way to play Good King Wenceslas by makingmusicfun.

(ii) Now on a different key- F major shown by Thomas Lemmon;

(iii) Here, I give you access to useful tunes which you and your child easily learn. Click on the image to get started.

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MUSIC 30 A/B-Eckstein Audio Exercises








(iv) If you want to learn the basics of music on the Android, this is the one.

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Best Android apps for learning music








3. Old MacDonald

(i)Here’s a very easy version by Online Image Arcade: 

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Easy to play Old MacDonald














(ii) Here is an easy piano tutorial by Peter PlutaX”;

(iii) This version on F major is well explained by piano4children.

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Old MacDonald by piano4children








(iv) This is an app for the iPhone:

Learn music with Hello Kitty









(v) Now for the Android; click on the image.

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Little Piano Master- Android Apps













4. Mary Had a Little Lamb

  (i) explains clearly how to play this all time favourite.  

(ii) Appcrawlar will show you various sites that are useful.


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Learn Mary Had A Little Lamb here.













(iii) This is a very easy to follow done music by Piano Numbers.

Mary Had a Little Lamb-another way to play










(iv) RealViewPiano, explains well how to play Mary Had a Little Lamb.

(v)  iPlay Piano is an iPad/iPhone app which has 12 well loved children’s songs including Old MacDonald.

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iPlay Piano by












(vi) has this useful app for Android users:

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Learn rhymes using piano








5. Humpty Dumpty

(i) Here is a simple arrangement by for both hands. Learn them separately or if your child is not up to it yet, the right hand music is enough, which is easy; download and print.

(ii) This is an easy print to follow:

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by Teachers Pay Teachers









(iii) This is a slightly advanced version uploaded by longwinter2000. The pianist’s name is unknown but  she plays it very well. Congratulations!

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A good pianist in the making










(iv) Printable sheet music for Humpty Dumpty and other nursery rhymes in this site. Go click!

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Humpty Dumpty sheet music







6. Row Row Row Your Boat

(i) This is a great piece by makignmusicfun; preview and print.


Easy to play version by













(ii) This from YouTube by HiFi Lessons

(iii) Another fun way of learning to play Row Row Row Your Boat by educational-freeware :

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A fun way to learn with Educational Freeware












(iv) Pianolessons4children gives you the same song on different keys.










(v) Tiny Piano; a fun app for iPad, iPhone and iPod. You can learn to play by slowing down the speed; Row Row Row Your Boat is one beside many others- not only Moonlight Sonata!

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Download free on the Appstore







(vi) This is a fun way of learning Row Row Row Your Boat and other nursery rhymes by Google play.

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Nursery Rhymes Piano Tunes- smartphone applications












7. London Bridge

(i) YouTube has this very simply explained by Pianosongdownload;

(ii) This is another way of learning it by zebrakeys. The music is very clearly explained with the images of a keyboard.


Zebra Keys by












(iii) This is a really simple version of London Bridge by iowacreativemusic; in fact, it cannot get any simpler.

(iv)A very easy way to learn from YouTube, by yahiamsa89:

(v) iPad Apps for London Bridge and other songs.

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iPad Apps-Technology Made Easy









(v) Install Kids Piano on to your Android to learn London Bridge and other nurser rhymes.

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Kids Piano












(vi) has a traditional sheet music!

blog7 london bridge2 for more nursery rhymes









8. Little Bo Peep

(i) Little Bo Peep on a sheet.


Little Bo Peep








(ii) John Thompson’s piano music for Little Bo Peep uploaded by Babak Na;

9.Yankee Doodle

This is enjoyed by new learners of all ages!

(i) This is really an easy version of this song and there is the option for free download by music-for-music-teachers.

(ii) The following version by pianomother is suitable, if your child has completed the first book.

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Yankee Doodle Easy Piano Score










(iii)  Now try the YouTube uploaded by PianoSongDownload:

(iv) I will give you the Appcrawlr again to access music for this which has the options for any device.

10. Incy Wincy Spider

(i) Letsplaykidsmusic gives you more information about nursery rhymes.

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Incy Winsy Spider;

(ii) This Little Pianist gives a good rendition of Incy Wincy Spider, uploaded by jasminetmy;

(iii) Here is another easy fun way by Dream English Kids.

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Easy and fun with Dream English Kids








(v) And finally, a real sheet music! It is written for the clarinet but good for the piano too.


Incy Wincy Spider by Capotastomusic

Incy Wincy Spider by Capotastomusic












Here are 10 more easy,popular piano tunes for your child who is doing slightly “advanced” music. Therefore, I have chosen pieces on different keys.

1. Ode to Joy by Ludwig Van Beethoven ( Symphony No.9 in D minor)


9th Symphony with Gramophone

9th Symphony with Gramophone

Beethoven, wrote Ode to Joy towards the end of his career. It is from the 9th Symphony. He was deaf when he wrote this and often ill during this time. He had never heard it played. He was the conductor at the premier performance of this magnificent piece and when the crowd applauded it only he knew that it was much appreciated!

Here is the full Symphony also called The Choral uploaded by obtica1;

This is an unedited performance of Ode to Joy, uploaded by Linda Weaver:

Ribal (8) playing Ode to Joy on the piano;

(i) Here is a beautiful simplified version of Ode to Joy, arranged by A.L. Christopherson.

(ii) This is a video tutorial by Piano Turoial Easy;

(iii) Here’s an iPad app. 

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Ode to Joy







 2.God Save the Queen


Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II

God Save the Queen” is also called “God Save the King” during the rule of a king. The origin of the score is unknown. After Great Britain, the melody became popular with Germany and Scandinavia; later with USA. The same melody is used with different words in different countries. In USA it is only second to “Star Spangled Banner”.

This is a formal performance by London Philharmonic Orchestra uploaded by Becca Nuttall;

Here is God Save the Queen on piano, uploaded by Klafmann Occidental;

(i)  Free sheet music at gives this beautiful and easy notes in F major;

(ii) has one on G major which is also simple. 

(iii) Here is free sheet music on G major using both hands equally, by; download to MIDI and MP3

(iv) This is how to play God Save the Queen on Piano Synthesia, uploaded by Pr0pagandaFilms;

3.Westminster Chimes

This is the most famous melody for clock bells ringing on each quarter. It is also known as the Cambridge Chimes because it is place

The Elizabeth Tower of the Palace

of its origin, the church of St Mary the Great, Cambridge. The clock is also well known as the Big Ben.

I love this performance by Alan Chan on the piano.

What if composers throughout the ages composed this melody? Uploaded by Michael Caditz, Lulu Hung gives the picture!

A simple version is played by this Little Performer (whose name is not available) uploaded by cfrankwu;

(i) How to play Westminster Chimes on the keyboard by LetterNotePlayer, uploaded by John Nelson;

(ii) Night Music #2 Improvisations is interesting:

(iii)  You can download, audio file or video file with

4.Star Spangled Banner

Originally, this flag was raised in 1812 after war with Britain, to

The Star Spangled Banner

celebrate the victory. The stripes and stars of this flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write this song which became the national anthem of the USA.

This is a beautiful performance by the New York Philharmonic; 

And now, Tom Clemens plays it on the electric piano;

(i) Download this easy piano sheet music forStar Spangled Banner by

(ii) Learn how to play The Star Spangled Banner on the piano with; 

(iii) Here’s another “How to Play…” by Joe Raciti; very well explained.

5. Jingle Bells

It would be interesting to know the origin of this famous Christmas carol. It was written by James Lord Pierpont in 1850 or

image from

1851,in a little town called Medford, Massachusetts. The Medford sleigh raced to Maldon Square, when he was in a tavern at Medford which inspired him to write this delightful piece, which underwent a few changes to make the one we sing today. What’s more, Jingle Bells has the honour of being the first Christmas carol to be played in outer space in 1965!

Here is a jazzy performance by Glenn Miller Orchestra;

This is a fantastic performance by Jonny May ;

Found this cute performance of JB, uploaded by Francesca Ko;

(i) A simple version of Jingle Bells with pictures.

(ii) A step by step piano sheet music lesson plan to teach Jingle Bells by Let’s Play Music.

(iii) This is a simple version for both hands on C major, uploaded by Music Workshop

(iv) Appcrawlr has it for any device.

6. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Originally this was an English lullaby, lyrics coming from an English poem in the 19th century. The tune is from a French melody called”Ah! vous dirais-je,

DLTK Growing Together

Maman”. This was published in 1761 and later Mozart made it famous by composing the 12 variations which Aika Dan (11) plays so beautifully.

Listen to Andrew playing a funky version uploaded by Zophia Marti;

(i) Mahalodotcom has uploaded this easy to follow, how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star; 

(ii) This is another good video tutorial for Twinkle Twinkle… uploaded by Capotastomusic 

(iii) Ah! Here is a real sheet music by; it’s on F major.

(iv) This is the Little Piano app for you to install into your Android which shows how to play this song among others.

(v) Find here an app for iPad or iPhone by and see the demonstration uploaded by rowdyruckus88; 

7. Aura Lee

George Poulton composed a tune in 1861, for the words by William Whiteman Fosdick.,during the age of minstrel shows. They call it Aura Lee which was a

Cover of Confederate version,1864

simple ballad. Later Elvis Presley made it famous as ” Love Me Tender”. Most people (including me) knows Elvis’ song. Here we are fortunate to listen to Aura Lee sung by Jim Reeves uploaded by ‘tukkerenflets’;

Love Me Tender by Elvis Presley uploaded by IsuruAparna:

This is a duet of Aura Lee played by two Budding Young Pianists. It’s beautiful and upload by Rosendo Arato;

(i) Easy free piano music sheets by Capotastomusic has uploaded this version on F major;

(ii) has Aura Lee on G major. Check Onlinesheetmusic for more.

(iii) Learn to Play Piano has this tutorial for Aura Lee on F major; I think it’s bit too fast but for your child who is very familiar with the notes, it won’t be too bad. 

8. Scarborough Fair

It is a traditional British ballad about Yorkshire town in Scarborough. The song is about a young man who instructs his girl to perform certain difficult tasks. 

Scarborough fair;

Scarborough fair;

The melody is typical middle English period; the words had been modified over the years and the modern day song was popularised by the famous duo, Simon and Garfunkel.

Here is the modern song by Simon and Garfunkel at the Central Park;

Paul Cardall plays his own beautiful piano arrangement of this song;

This is a fairly simple version suitable for around intermediate level; uploaded by Markus Bischofberger 

(i) This sheet music by is simple and easy to follow on A minor with hands on Middle C position.

(ii) Here is print sample of part of the score by on D minor.

(iii) gives this clear piano tutorial on Scarborough Fair;

(iv) Shedea’s piano tutorial, uploaded by Shedea Greentree, of Scarborough Fair on A minor, explains in detail how to play this song;

(v) This is a slightly advanced version of the score on D minor, well presented by Sarah Brightman, uploaded by EveryonePiano 

9.William Tell Overture Finale

Italian born Gioachino Rossini (1729-1868) composed William Tell Overture which was his 39th opera. The finale is the most famous and the popular.

image from

image from

This was his most famous and the last of his large-scale works. He also composed chamber music, sacred music and piano music. The edited William Tell overture is a popular piece for the beginners.

Listen to the full work performed by the Rome Opera Orchestra in 1965;

This is the finale performed by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra;

This is an amazing performance on the piano by Fernando Cruz with a few variations of his own; 

(i) Free sheet music, of the score by pianomother is simple and clear.

(ii) This is a simple piano tutorial on C major by;

(iii) This is sheet music by on D major. There is the option for you to choose the key.

10. English Country Gardens

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Jimmie Rodgers’ English Country Garden

It is a famous folk tune arranged  in 1918. It is a popular tune among the beginner piano learners. This song sung by Jimmie Rodgers reached No.5 in UK charts in 1962.        

Here is a performance by the Corinium Players Guitar Ensemble arranged for the classical guitar;

This one is a wonderful performance by Derek Paravacini who is blind and autistic;

I could not come up with other types of music for this pretty song. However, I feel that all young music learners must learn it; I did and teach my pupils too.

(i) This is a sheet music from a familiar site, makingmusicfun; more suitable for intermediate level but easy to follow.


Hope, this gives you a comprehensive list of “sheet music” that you wanted to look at. Tell me what you think about it.


15 Ways to Prepare Yourself Before Your Child Starts Piano Lessons


You, as a parent play a major role in your child’s music education just like in normal school life. Learning the piano is not taken for granted these days when everything matters.

Your child may not become a piano teacher or a concert pianist. But, it will be very valuable to add to his CV as a well accomplished skill.

Let’s look at a parent’s role in piano lessons. [Read more...]

How to Assist Your Child with Piano and Music Lessons


There is no particular age that is right for everyone to start learning music, but of course earlier the better; not only in learning music but in any field.  Certainly,it becomes that much easier if the child shows an interest. But if he doesn’t, it doesn’t matter, he may not have shown an interest because he didn’t know about it.

Besides, you can create the interest.

Unless you explore, you will never know his capabilities.

So, you thought hard about as to why you should introduce your child to music.

As exciting as it may be, learning music demands attention. To be able to enjoy playing an instrument, the commitment to learn the intricacies and practise is something that you and your child must understand.

Learning and playing music isn’t exciting and fun if he does not practise.

Teaching music can be catered to suit the pupil, to a good extent.

What you must understand is that the principles of music, and the fact that one needs to practise do not change.

Now that has settled in school in his first year and you feel it is time he started other activities. Music is one of them and you know the lifelong benefits that he will have of learning it.

You want your child to have the best.

Learning the guitar


You might wonder what you could do before starting the lessons.

You might ask the questions… what does he like to learn? Piano, violin or flute? May be the guitar.

image from

Should I ask him? Did I ask him whether he likes to go to school or not?!

Anyway, now you have decided that he is going to learn music.

And you have found the best teacher for young beginners.

You many wonder what you could do beforehand. [Read more...]

How to Motivate Your Child to Enjoy Practising His Instrument


“It’s easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself”. (J. S. Bach)

Motivation: According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is the reason for a person’s action or behaviour; enthusiasm

It comes from the Latin word for ‘move’, which is the force that makes you do something.

It involves activities concerning both mental and physical goals. It has a direction, a time limit and a strong feeling towards it.

According to cognitive psychologists, motivation is a conscious decision.

It is also defined as “producing engagement in, and persistence with learning, a task” (Crookes & Schidt,1991).

A person who is motivated does not need external encouragement to learn or excel in a task. 

So what would you do?  [Read more...]

The Top Ten Lasting Benefits that Piano Playing will Have on Your Child

pianoIntroduction Have you thought of what  will contribute to your child’s emotional needs and enhanced mental capacity? You probably have thought of it and worried about it too! It is learning to play the piano indeed. Piano, more than any other instrument contribute to this because it is more complex than any other instrument. Piano is the favoured musical instrument by the vast majority of people.  I am sure that you have no doubt that The piano is the best. One can do more with the piano than any other musical instrument. You must have noted that string and wind instruments require only one line of notes in either in the treble or bass clef. But the piano requires them both and have many lines of notes to play all at once. Ouof all the musical instruments available, piano is the most popular. Why is it more popular than the violin or the flute? Well, for a start, the moment you strike a key, it makes a beautifu sound. Other instruments just can’t do it! Also, for string and wind instruments to sound better, they need the accompaniment of the piano!


image from Pre-Piano/ Springville Piano Lessons

The piano has the ability to stimulate the brain and bring out emotions such as happiness, love, sorrow, surprise etc better than any other instrument. [Read more...]

How to Prepare Your Child for a Brilliant Performance


The worst part of learning to play a musical instrument is when you have to perform for an audience. I used to be nervous to play even to my friends or still worse if it was for my parents’ friends or older relatives!

 If your child is feeling nervous, then it is a positive sign; it is his adrenaline at work; it is nature’s way of preparing him for the worst. It helps him focus.


Joshua Bell; image from

Watch this video for performance tips.

Anyway, if it is your child who is going to perform, you as a parent or a guardian can help a lot. There are many ways to overcome performance anxiety.

Preparing for a musical performance total dedication, focus and commitment. [Read more...]

The 10 Lifelong Benefits That Your Child Will Gain by Learning to Play an Instrument


Musical Benefits for Your Child

from “What I’ll Remember”;


Q:  Tell me what is most important to you, as a parent?

A: We all know that it is the brain development of your child.

Then it is a good reason to get  him started with music education.  Well, according to an article, in Scientific American, it directly affects the automatic processing of the human brainstem, which controls the motor and sensory information in the upper body.

It is beneficial to both “normal” children and children with disabilities such as dyslexia. Music training helps learning and memory. It also stimulates the brain and helps cope up with stress. I think we all need it!

It is important for you to impose self-esteem in your child. Teaching self-esteem and self-confidence is a proactive way of teaching your child to deal with stress. 

Can you imagine a life without music? [Read more...]