Academy Piano Teaching Artist, Faith Zúñiga, published a collection of sonatinas, “Five Fun & Flashy Sonatinas for Ten Tiny Fingers: Easy Sonatinas for the First Years at Sonata Festival,” featuring five original solo compositions for beginning piano students.
Written for students ranging from 5-8 years old in the first one to two years of piano lessons, Ms. Zúñiga, Summer Piano Academy coach and private lesson instructor, composed five sonatinas inspired by nature and the enthusiastic stories her students shared at their private lessons. A sonatina is a simple or short composition performed by young pianists as a solo repertoire.
“There is a scarcity of accessible sonatinas for early beginning piano students,” said Ms. Zúñiga, whose students frequently participate in regional and national piano and music competitions. “Currently, there are only a couple of other sonatina books for this level and age range, which makes for minimal repertoire options for students who want to attend piano competitions such as the Sonata Festival by Northern Virginia Music Teacher Association.”
The collection starts with an easy piece, “Panda Sonatina,” dedicated to the newborn panda, Xiao Qi Ji, at the Smithsonian Zoo, and progresses with slightly more difficulties throughout the book, ending with a three-part repertoire, “Fancy Fingers Sonatina,” that includes a scale-based first movement, a steady-tempo second movement, and an orchestral soloist third movement.
Ms. Zúñiga hopes the new options will encourage young pianists to participate in music competitions or festivals as they can learn valuable playing and performance experiences throughout the process. For students who are preparing their first Sonata Festival, Ms. Zúñiga provided a few helpful tips:
- Be careful to choose one fast and one slow movement, according to the sonata festival guidelines.
- Have fun learning the music and play with flexible arm and wrist motions.
- Pay extra attention to all the details like dynamics and articulation as judges love it when students show careful technique.
Ms. Zúñiga is an accomplished educator and performing artist who was semifinalist in both the Victor Elmaleh Concert Artists Guild Competition and the Byrd International Piano Competition. She is an active adjudicator and has judged competitions such as the Robert & Frances Allen Young Artist Competition, the Bland Competition, the NVMTA Spring Festival and Sonata Festival, the MCAA Music Competitions, the MCAA Juried Recitals, and the Mason Piano Academy (Advanced) competition.
The book is available to purchase on Amazon. If you are interested in receiving piano instruction from Ms. Zúñiga, join our Summer Piano Academy for ages 8-13 or Summer Piano Academy (Advanced) for ages 13-18.