In the vast collection of intermediate piano music, it can be hard to find the gems. I like to highlight my favorites here on Pianissimo, so that other teachers and students can learn about great pieces of music!
I discovered Great Smoky Mountains by David Carr Glover a several years ago when I was judging a piano competition. I know David Carr Glover’s music is certainly not new, but it was new to me, and I’ve loved teaching this piece ever since.
This is one of those great songs that looks and sounds hard but plays easy. It’s pretty much every piano student’s dream because they immediately think that it’s too hard, but quickly realize that it’s made up of a few simple patterns. Almost all of my students that learn this song memorize it as they go because the patterns are so easy to catch on to.
The A section is made up of a sequence of arpeggiated and blocked chords that repeat in 4 different octaves. The B section sounds a little darker, but has a similar repeating pattern followed by a short chord progression that’s really easy to figure out. The A section returns and it ends with a coda. The coda is made of just a couple of easy, arpeggiated chords.
My students who play from the Faber Piano Adventure’s series usually do really well with this song around the 2B level. This would definitely be a good song to teach a student by rote.
My student Jaxon recently masted the Great Smoky Mountains and performed it at his school talent show. Here’s his performance:
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