Valse d’Amelie

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Sometimes when I’m teaching students a particular piece or song, it really captures my imagination and I almost feel envious that it’s not me spending loads of time learning it! The truth is that with a busy freelance teaching business and a young family, I simply don’t have time anymore for regular practise. But, I do enjoy bashing through some of these pieces that my students learn.

This one is just such a piece: Valse d’Amelie from the iconic soundtrack to the movie Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain. A couple of my teenage pianists have been tackling this piece, and I just love it, so I recorded myself playing it. Turning the digital pages on my tablet distracts me from my playing and so I get a bit out of sync at those points, but I still hope that it’s worth sharing because I enjoyed playing it, and some of you might enjoy listening to it:

Technically, the piece isn’t too tricky, but there are just one or two things about it that are challenging:

  1. The octaves in the right hand: keeping them clean and accurate.
  2. The melody that is often in finger 5 (pinkie) in the right hand.
  3. The balance: making sure that the melody sings out, even when the rest of the piano part is busy.
  4. The off-beat nature of the melody: there are moments when the left had is playing 1&2&3&, while the right hand is playing 1&a2&a. This is what gives the piece its kooky, fairground like feel.
  5. The arpeggios in the LH: the fingers have to go over then under again in a seamless motion, while the right hand is busy with other things. As you can hear on this recording, I don’t always get it right!!
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