Wednesday, March 22, 2023
HomeMusic EducationSusan Staples Bell – Melanie Spanswick

Susan Staples Bell – Melanie Spanswick

My visitor author right this moment is Texan piano instructor and composer, Susan Staples Bell. Susan has taught piano for over 30 years, in varied places everywhere in the world throughout her husband’s 30-year US Navy profession. Although she’s been a inventive all her life, the event of the web and social media has given her a voice the place she may broadly share her love of music with others. She started publishing her compositions in October 2019. You will discover her music on Sheet Music Plus and Susan Staples Bell Take a take heed to her music on YouTube and please take pleasure in a hyperlink to a free piece on the finish of this text.

My identify is Susan Staples Bell, an American Piano Instructor & Composer, residing within the San Antonio, Texas space. I suppose my path is likely to be much like many; once I turned six my Mom started to search for actions that little women in Texas ought to strive: ballet classes, lady scouts, using horses – (see the photograph of me with my first horse Shorty); and piano classes. Early on, it was clear that my expertise for the piano was taking root: Music was in my genes. 

Susan & Shorty

My first piano instructor had me collaborating in Guild Auditions and such, however someplace alongside the way in which, I began to lose curiosity. My mother and father offered me with a deal: would I proceed with piano classes in Classical music, if I used to be allowed to check jazz? I agreed and was launched to Jazz pianist & instructor, Crimson Camp, whose classes included music idea: chord symbols, jazz voicings, totally different moods & kinds, and improvisation. His instructing, persona, and encouragement had a profound affect that formed my complete musical outlook – to this present day, I nonetheless play twelfth Road Rag the way in which he taught me by rote!

By the point adolescence kicked in, I reached one other milestone most Texan youngsters strive – enjoying within the faculty band. I used to be handed a clarinet and instructed to apply. My band director was additionally an incredible instructor who impressed me to work exhausting & excel. However there was one thing totally different about him – I observed he was at all times busy creating preparations for our band to play. All of us cherished these well-liked tunes; Star Wars was my favorite!

One explicit factor that impressed me greater than anything about these two males: I by no means realized that residing individuals had been creating music. My prior expertise had been enjoying piano classics in classes – like Chopin & Bach, the hymns in church, and the sheet music in band – all of which got here in books that regarded like they had been printed eternally in the past. 

Till then, I suppose I didn’t know the place the music got here from.

So, with these new concepts of improvisation, arranging, and composing, creeping into my thoughts, apply time on the piano appeared like the proper time to strive them out. I imply, it’s straightforward for the thoughts to wander from the web page in entrance of me, so I began to noodle. “What if I performed this line in a different way? What if I transposed it to a different key? How would totally different chords sound with this melody?” Besides, I didn’t ask my 12-year-old self this – I simply began doing it.  

Thus, I started my lifelong love of making music – main me to check Music Training at Trinity College and Music Composition at UT Austin. I began writing for anybody who would pay attention: preparations for my band pals (see the photograph of me enjoying piano with my pal in highschool); creating the music I performed at church as summer time pianist/organist, and later as a director – composing for choirs & handbells, and at all times, as a piano instructor: my biggest love helps different academics by creating music for the piano and their piano college students.  

Susan enjoying piano

After 3 years of publishing, I now have a catalog of over 200 items (and rising!) together with Solos, (my hottest solo is Funky Gecko, for Early Superior), items for A number of gamers: Duets, Trios, Ensembles, and Instructional assets.

I take pleasure in creating Multi Degree Piano Ensembles, that are written for Group Piano academics. My Instructional Lead Sheets have been well-liked as an exquisite supplemental lesson for research in Improvisation, Ensemble enjoying, and Music idea facets. Every one comes with 1-3 pages of details about the scales, chords, and totally different Left-Hand patterns the pianist may use to create their very own association.

From that formative time in Center Faculty, I’ve embraced the thought of improvisation as a great that may be utilized to all areas of life – we encounter surprising conditions which lead us to discover totally different choices; from there we will design a brand new path: Very like I do once I’m exploring a brand new composition: I begin with a temper or story I wish to describe, then let myself discover new potentialities by noodling – I comply with my ear & my fingers, then it leads me to one thing new, possibly one thing surprising. And typically, the end result was significantly better than the unique.

Talking of a narrative, my newest composition journey is Citadel Tales, a set of six authentic compositions exploring a variety of moods from Epic to Tender – created to encourage pianists to attain musical expression. These descriptive items are instructional in addition to inspiring to play; interesting to tweens, youngsters, and grownup pianists. The Assortment is designed as an entire – providing contrasting items to work on totally different musical expertise, impressed by tales of Medieval life as seen in video video games; however every bit stands equally by itself. 

Citadel Tales

My free present to you is an Instructional Lead sheet for my tune, Quiet Moments with You. Should you’ve by no means tried improvisation or really feel it’s intimidating, I hope you’ll give this one a strive. It doesn’t should sound jazzy – it could sound in any approach you want. 

Let me be your information. Should you want somewhat bit extra inspiration, I even have some YouTube video tutorials explaining this piece. In case you are questioning how I put all these concepts collectively, try the piece on my web site.

Obtain my piece by clicking on the hyperlink under:

Quiet Moments With You by Susan Staples Bell


Susan Staples Bell Music

Susan Staples Bell Music at Sheet Music Plus

Youtube tutorials for Quiet Moments Improvisation:

Susan Staples Bell


Melanie Spanswick has written and revealed a variety of programs, anthologies, examination syllabuses, and textual content books, together with Play it once more: PIANO (revealed by Schott Music). This best-selling graded, progressive piano course incorporates a big collection of repertoire that includes an enormous array of kinds and genres, with copious apply ideas and options for each piece.

For extra data, please go to the publications web page, right here.



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