When composing music for piano I often gather ideas away from the instrument. In fact, it's possible to form nearly the entire composition this way: develop an idea/theme, decide on style, choose a time signature/tempo and even write melodies. But the real heart work comes when I finally sit down and face those 88 keys. This is where my ideas come to life, where they gather momentum and weave themselves together until the song is finally complete.
And if I'm composing a song to fit a specific piano collection it must meet certain standards: it must be at the correct level, and it should show distinctness from the other pieces in its style, key, and tempo. Of utmost importance to me is also making sure the piece is pedagogically sound. That is, it presents a number of concepts used in teaching students how to play the piano.
I thrive on the challenge of meeting all this criteria, AND producing a beautiful composition. My job is to create something memorable, something with emotion. And my hope is that teachers and students recognize the value of this music, and feel compelled to add it to their repertoire. Because there is nothing better than opening a new book and feeling the excitement and motivation that comes from fresh material.
If you are new to my music, check out my first piano collection, OCEAN TAILS for Pre Grade 1 students. It's a book of 10 modal pieces that are perfect for teaching young pianists. In my experience the best piano pieces should challenge you, they should teach you something, and they should touch your heart.