Pedagogical Music for Piano
“The Music Is The Method”
Donald Waxman grew up in Baltimore, where at an early age he began his music studies at the Peabody Institute’s preparatory division. His principle teachers were Carlotta Heller in piano, F. Mendelssohn in cello and Howard Thatcher in theory and composition. After graduating from the Preparatory school he entered the Peabody Conservatory where he studied with world famous composer Elliott Carter. For two successive years he was awarded the Gustave Klemm prize, given to the Peabody’s most accomplished composition student. Mr. Waxman is also a graduate of the Juilliard School (B.S. in Composition). The composer is married to the concert pianist Jho Waxman, whom he met at the Peabody. Shortly after graduating from the Juilliard, the couple founded and co-directed a music school in Nyack, New York, a town on the Hudson River 20 miles north of New York City. In teaching the many early grade piano students who enrolled in their school, The Music House, Mr. Waxman was dissatisfied with the musical language in the piano methods of the time, which he felt was dated, harmonically and rhythmically, and not challenging for contemporary students. He began writing his own compositions to illustrate a new note, rhythm, articulation or technical problem. At the close of the first season of the Nyack Music House he had written over a hundred pieces, which were later expanded into a set of early grade primers and were subsequently published by Galaxy Music Corporation as Pageants for Piano. As these first year students progressed and as more advanced students enrolled in the school, the composer continued to write music appropriate for their level of advancement; recital pieces, etudes, piano duet and other ensemble pieces. In explaining the goals for his students, Mr. Waxman has said,” I wanted young students to be working in a language more varied than that of so many piano methods books. I wanted students to be working in a language of intervals, modes and tonal combinations that go beyond the boundaries of the primary triads.” During his years as a teacher and a composer of piano instructional music Mr. Waxman has continued to be active as a composer of contemporary concert music for piano, chamber ensemble, orchestra, chorus and solo voice. He has received many honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship to Paris, composer residencies in America and Korea and commissions and performances from many orchestras, chamber music ensembles and solo instrumentalists. He and his wife have often performed as a piano duo team often in premieres of his compositions for piano four-hands and two pianos. The couple now reside in Boca Raton, Florida where Mr. Waxman continues to be active as a composer, pianist, teacher and lecturer.
Pageants for Piano
The original set of primers , from the beginning lessons through early intermediate levels, that has become the choice of discerning teachers who not only value its progressive methodology but as well music written in a contemporary harmonic and rhythmic language. The unique drawings in the Pageants are by the renowned illustrators Alice and Martin Provensen.

The Pageants Readers
The innovative Pageant Reader series contains short pieces, some only a half page long, that are designed to augment the student’s weekly assignment and to help build the skills that the student needs to prepare a piece without any advance help from the teacher. The Reader Book 1 is an ideal accompaniment to the Piano Pageant and Folksong Pageant Books 2 and 2A; the Readers Books Book2 and 3 are ideal to use with Piano Pageant and Folksong Pageant Books 3 and 3A. The pieces come from many sources. There are arrangements of troubadour songs, Elizabethan rounds, psalms and folk dances and folk-songs from around the world. There are simple solo and duet arrangements of short excerpts from the orchestral literature. There are, as well, original short etudes, each built around a particular device such as 5/8 time, whole tone scale, chromatics and harmonics, etc.

The Recital Pageants
Four books of colorful, engaging pieces ideal for recital and auditions use. These highly descriptive pieces are written in the contemporary rhythmic and harmonic language that distinguishes the pedagogical literature of Donald Waxman. There are several recital duets in the series. Book 1 is at the upper elementary/junior level; Book 2, lower intermediate; Book 3, intermediate and Book 4, upper intermediate/lower advanced.

50 Etudes
“The most important contribution to the literature of piano etudes for students since the days of Czerny and Heller.” So wrote Irwin Freundlich, past faculty member and chairman of the Juilliard piano department, about the 50 Etudes of Donald Waxman. In the four books of etudes the composer has taken on the challenge of applying a contemporary language to the many skills that together make up a pianist’s “technique”. There are the traditional mechanisms of wrist staccato, finger staccato, repetitions, chord alternations, etc. as well as more recent techniques such as glissandi, chord clusters and interior piano . Each of the fifty etudes has a descriptive title as well as a technique title; for example, Etude of Alternating Double Notes is also titled Confetti. Because many of the etudes are both colorful and brilliant, many teachers use them as recital pieces.

175 Exertudes

175 Exertudes Bks. 1 to 5,
Early intermediate to Advanced
The 175 Exertudes, Books 1 to 5, advance the many technical skills of the 50 Etudes, but by way of a unique form that the composer has created, one that is midway between an exercise and an etude. Many of these miniature technical studies are only a half page long, particularly in Book 1, which is at an easier level than the first book of the 50 Etudes. Building technique in all its facets is the main goal of the Exertudes, but the pieces can also serve as a way to explore the intervals, modes, chromatic patterns, cross rhythms and contemporary devices that define their contemporary language. For some creative students, the Exertudes can serve as a model for composing short pieces using these elements.

Book 1: Early IntermediateBook 2: IntermediateBook 3:  Late Intermediate
Book 4: Advanced I,  Book 5:  Advanced II
Piano Ensemble
Original works for piano four-hands, piano six-hands and two pianos at various levels are an important part of the Waxman teaching repertoire. As well there are two- piano reductions of Mozart’s Ah, Vous Dirai-je, Maman Variations and Beethoven’s Rage Over the Lost Groschen, works that the composer has transcribed for piano and orchestra.

Other Donald Waxman Publications
The Story of David and Goliath is a tone poem for piano recounting the well known Biblical encounter between the 15 year old David and the towering leader of the Philistine’s army, Goliath. As in an orchestral tone poem, each of the main figures has his own theme. A colorful and dramatic recital piece for upper intermediate and lower advanced levels.
A Christmas Pageant is a collection of familiar English, French and German carols as well as for old Burgumdian noels arranged by Waxman for piano solo, piano duet and several treble instruments and piano. There are also arrangements of excerpts from some of the great classical Christmas repertoire, such as Handel’s Messiah and Corelli’s Christmas Concert.
A Dance Pageant is a collection of 44 renaissance and baroque keyboard dances with explanations on how they were danced in the court ballrooms of the 17th and 18t h centuries. The renowned dance historian Wendy Hilton makes the ancient dances come alive with detailed descriptions of their particular dance steps and choreographies. Donald Waxman explains how to perform the keyboard dances such as the courante, the sarabande, the gavotte and other dances of the keyboard suites in ways that reflect the original rhythmic patterns and movements. A Dance Pageant is profusely illustrated with period engravings of the dances as well as diagrams of the dance steps and choreographies.

To order any of the publications on this page, click on the book covers or the titles under them. This will link you directly to the ECS online ordering form.