Today I want to share with you a review of the music of Canadian teacher, composer, and adjudicator Lynette Sawatsky. She has quite a few collections available, but I’ll be focusing on Seasons Change and Once Upon a Time.
Once Upon a Time
One of the things I like most about the Once Upon a Time collection is Lynette’s attention to connecting the music to the imagination. She encourages the student to paint a picture in their mind of the piece and the story it is conveying.
For example, in the piece “Spicy Burrito,” she makes the connection between spicing up our snacks or mealtime with different flavors and textures and encouraging the student to customize the piece on the repeat by changing one or more RH quarter notes into double eighth notes in certain measures in order to “spice it up.”
There are 11 pieces included in the book that are perfect for captivating and encouraging students imaginations. I mean, how often do you see a piece with the title “Discombobulated Pigeon”? I would love to hear all the conversations that go on regarding the story that piece is telling!
The left-hand contains a lot of positions using 5ths and 6ths as well as broken chords, 7ths, octaves, and root-5th-octave accompaniment patterns. The keys of G, C, F, D minor, B minor, and E minor are represented. Nine of the eleven pieces are in duple meter (4/4) and two are in triple meter (6/8 and 3/4).
The book is labeled as elementary and to help you determine the level more specifically as you’re considering students, I would recommend students that are around Faber’s Piano Adventures Level 3A would do well in this book.
Seasons of Change
I love the idea of theme recitals. Two years ago, in the fall, I did a color-themed recital. This year I’m doing a church music recital. Another theme I’ve always held on the backburner is a “seasons” recital.
Lynette’s intermediate collection will be perfect for this. My students especially enjoyed the piece “Spring.” Pieces like this are exactly what I need to have on hand as I have a lot of teenagers right now who love “flowy/pretty” music (we all know how that goes)!
I love the cover too, what a beautiful display of the different seasons through the way the trees change. (On a personal note – I LOVE trees!)
The artwork in the Seasons book is actually by her mother, a contemporary artist – how special is that?!
If you check out her website, you’ll notice the music is all quite descriptive and imaginative.
She has two collections that include artwork students can color: Waddle & Quack and Shimmer & Strut. (If you use Music for Young Children, Waddle & Quack is on their supplemental list).
Her YouTube channel is very helpful as well in giving you a preview of all her music.
How to Purchase and a Free Download
Some of her repertoires are available as digital downloads and some as hard copies. (Hard copies are only available in North America).
Lynette has generously offered a FREE digital download of the Late Elementary duet Stardust along with any book order (hard copy or digital file). (Hear a recording of Stardust here).
To receive the free copy, orders should be placed via www.lynettesawatsky.com.
The free download offer expires Sunday night September 10, 2017 at midnight E.S.T.
Do you know how sometimes, even if you don’t know a person, you can feel their personality in your correspondence? Although we’ve not met in person, I can say for certain that the composer, Lynette Sawatsky is an absolutely lovely person.
It was also quite uplifting to find a line of applicable scripture at the beginning of each book.
Once Upon a Time: “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” -Psalm 139:16
Seasons Change: “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1
Disclaimer: I received a hard copy of “Once Upon a Time” and a digital copy of “Seasons Change” in exchange for this review. As always, my review contains my honest opinion.