If you’ve ever been intimidated by a complicated piece of music, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Thankfully, there is a system designed to help you choose the right sheet music for your skill level. With piano levels, you can find the tunes that will help you improve your skills and build up to more elaborate pieces.
We’ve all been there. You’re browsing through music trying to find the one that you want to learn how to play. Suddenly you come across that perfect piece, that song that you’ve loved for ages and would love to master for yourself. But then, once you’ve opened up that cover and saw the tidal wave of complicated notation… well, that was the end of that.
Or was it? Perhaps it wasn’t the song that was wrong, but simply the level.
Regardless of whether you’re a self-taught student or working under a piano teacher, knowing music grades will make your experience much easier and help you to more noticeably take note of your progress.
Believe it or not, there’s a name for this.
It’s called the Henle Level System.
All right, so who is this Henle guy and why does he have a system named after him?
To answer that, we’re turning the clock back to 1948, when a man named Günter Henle (also known as Günther, with an “h”) opened the now world-renowned music publishing house, G. Henle Verlag. His company was founded with the objective of producing sheet music that was as close to the composers’ original intentions as possible (a term known as “Urtext”). In the company’s own words, they do this in order to “provide the undistorted, reliable and authoritative musical text.”
The company is known for being some of the best around, with their recognizable blue covers that open wide enough to lay flat (a true feat). They are also known for partnering with a famous pianist to develop what is now known as the Henle Level System.
How Koenen And Henle Make It Easier For You To Learn Piano
Back in 2010, the G. Henle Verlag approached the famous pianist, musician, and professor, Rolf Koenen with an idea: Develop a system to rank Classical music by its difficulty level. Because of his expertise as a professional piano player, and because he personally knew editors at Henle, he was the ideal candidate for the job.
So how does this help you? Well this system helped make learning the piano easier for students by doing some of the following:
- Helped students find pieces on par with their current skill level
- Created a system where students could find a piece challenging enough for them to improve, while remaining simple enough to be doable
- Give a noticeable way to measure progress and therefore raise motivation to improve
In other words, the Henle Level System is all about reducing frustration and helping you gain a structured ladder to improvement.
How Does The Henle Level System Work?
They say there’s beauty in simplicity, and it holds true with the Henle Level System.
First, you’ve got a framework, divided into three categories:
Each category, in turn, contains three levels:
- 1, 2, 3 are Easy
- 4, 5, 6 are Medium
- 7, 8, 9 are Difficult
Sometimes you’ll come across what looks like a fraction, such as 2/3 or 6/7. This simply means that the difficulty falls between those numbers. Sort of like “two and a half” or “six and a half.”
Prof. Koenen, on G. Henle Verlag’s website, gave an in depth explanation of what went into creating the system. In his words: “of central importance are also the complexity of the piece’s composition, its rhythmic complexities, the difficulty of reading the text for the first time, and last but not least, how easy or difficult it is to understand its musical structure.”
The Henle Level System Helps You See Your Progress
One of the most frustrating things for students of just about anything is when they can’t readily see their progress. It’s understandable. You’re putting in the work, so when you don’t feel like you’re improving, it can be a real drag on your motivation.
The Henle Level System seeks to give you a more measurable image of your progress, by allowing you to watch as you climb the ranks of difficulty. You can more easily make goals, rank your skill level, and find the pieces that are going to challenge you to improve while also being easy enough to remain enjoyable.
In these ways you can begin to reduce the frustration that often accompanies learning a new instrument, and instead pat yourself on the back for the improvements you have made. Without a way to measure your progress, you might get aggravated. By measuring your progress, you can instead be proud of what you have accomplished.
Start Progressing With Ogden Piano Gallery
If you want to improve your piano skills, then start at the Ogden Piano Gallery. We have one of the largest selections of sheet music in northern Utah and employ experts with decades of experience to help you find the music that would suit you best.
Whether you’re looking for a favorite song from your childhood, the new hit pop single, an epic cinematic score, or more, we’ve got you covered. And if we don’t have it in stock, we can special order any piece of music within a few days.
You can contact us today for more information. And feel free to browse our other services, whether that be lessons, instruments, or recitals.