During my early years of piano training, I recall being introduced to the pieces of Schumann’s Album for the Young, Op. 68 and Tchaikovsky’s Album for the Young, Op. 39. The pieces in both albums, which were specifically composed with children’s hands in mind, help young pianists to build technical skills at the same time as developing a sense of musicality and musical skills. Schumann composed his pieces for his three daughters; Tchaikovsky, inspired by Schumann’s album and his other works for children, dedicated his album to his nephew.
For many of the same reasons as Schumann’s and Tchaikovsky’s, I was inspired to compose my own Album for the Young, a collection of miniatures for solo marimba. I wanted the miniatures to be manageable for the hands of beginners new to four-mallet technique. However, the collection can also be used by those wanting to develop and maintain their four-mallet technique at intermediate and advanced levels. My Album for the Young is dedicated to my two nephews, Jason Chun and Zachary Sun.
I want to stress that my Album for the Young is not a collection of technical exercises or a method book for four-mallet technique, but rather a collection of miniatures that prioritise musicality and various musical skills, for which specific four-mallet techniques are required. The order of the miniatures does not imply any chronological order of level of difficulty.