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Workbook incorporates all genres of music

Published: 
Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The newly released music workbook, Claire’s Intermediate Workbook, incorporates classical music, elements of jazz, traditional West Indian music and the steelpan in one 400-page book.

UK-based writer Eros Mungal said the workbook teaches not only piano and keyboard, but music in general and is designed to take the student to the next level.

Mungal said this is the second workbook he has published, with the first one encompassing Grades One to Three in the Royal Music Examinations. This new workbook addresses the Theory of Music up to and including Grade 5 as well as the requirements of the CSEC music syllabus for CXC exams. Mungal said he went through the CSEC syllabus with a fine-tooth comb when putting the book together, and while it might not address everything, it does give a comprehensive review.

He said: “I think the book is filling a serious gap in education and I use phrases and exercises that point people toward what CXC is looking for, and if they’re taking the formal music examinations, this will fulfill all of that, so it’s one solution to just about everything.”

The updated edition now has many additional songs including Brahm’s Lullaby for young people, Pony Trot for the recorder and Caribbean songs including Brown girl in the Ring and Yellowbird. More advanced pieces included in this edition are excerpts of the popular Beethoven’s Für Elise and Moonlight Sonata with Schubert’s Serenade in specially simplified arrangements in easy-to-play keys.

Mungal said he prefers this approach of everything in one book, “rather than in England where we’re happy to sell you five and six books so by the time you’ve taken an exam you’ve already bought eight, nine, ten books.” The workbook is intended to be used in all Caribbean countries and includes well-known traditional songs from these countries.

In Trinidad the basic workbook has sold over 8,000 copies and has been used in private schools and by music teachers. The cover includes the flags of the major Caribbean countries, pictures of musical instruments, and a photo of Darren, one of Mungal’s sons, interacting with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.

A special feature of this workbook is the addition of a steelpan supplement with a specially written foreword by Liam Teague, Associate Professor of Music at Northern Illinois University.

Mungal said steelpan layouts were supplied by the T&T Bureau of Standards in consultation with Pan Trinbago.

Another interesting addition to the workbook is five pages on the physics of music. Mungal comes from a science background and in this section, he discusses how physics affects things like frequencies, resonance and harmony. He explained: “I don’t regard engineering and science as different from music, I think both disciplines complement each other. Musicians should know about frequencies that you use to tune things. For example with the steel pan, they don’t tune to a common, standard and this is where the science comes in, this is why there are calls for the steelpan layout to be standardised. Over the years pans have had all different layouts and the key to civilization is you’ve got to standardise the notes on a pan when it’s tuned so you can use the same notes to blend in with a piano or an orchestra.”

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