In this issue...
A Conversation with Martha ArgerichLeonne Lewis joins pianist Martha Argerich for an interview, conducted after her performance of the Schumann piano concerto with the LA Philharmonic.
Also in this issue...
The Teaching Legacy of Rosina LhévinneThis article provides direct teaching tips and ideas taken from the lectures of this legendary teacher of Van Cliburn and John Brownin. Written by Scott McBride Smith.
Also in this issue...
Should We Fear the Future?Wendy Stevens addresses commons fears about the role of technology in piano teaching and the changing landscape of students. Her solutions remind us that the future of the profession is brighter than we might think!
Also in this issue...
Suzuki Piano: A Student-Centered ApproachGail Lange, a Suzuki piano teacher, gives detailed insight on the organization and effectiveness of the Suzuki approach for piano. Learn its advantages for piano students, and what it is like to be a Suzuki teacher.
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My decade long study of piano as a youth was not exactly swimming with solfege. In fact, when it came to solfege, it was bone dry. Other than seeing Julie Andrews sing “Do, a Deer” and having the occasional brush with solfege hand signs in my general music classes in elementary school, my solfege education didn’t really begin until my college theory classes. In those classes, when I was formally introduced to solfege (the moveable Do variety) and was taught to use it in transposing simple melodies and harmonies, I was shocked by how it made music theory gel for me. This revelation was truly enlightening – angel choirs singing, light bulbs illuminating, dark clouds parting – it was THAT transformative for me!
Solfege transpositions led me to a much better understanding of diatonic harmony, which improved my sight-reading dramatically as I started “seeing” the underlying harmonic structures in the music I was playing. Solfege also improved my ability to “think within a key”, so I could improvise, arrange, and compose far more capably than before. And solfege patterns were so ridiculously simple, that I wondered why I hadn’t been taught them when I was six years old.
The Internet is funny. In some ways, browsing the web is almost the opposite of studying the piano. Learning how to play the piano trains attention, whereas browsing the web fractures it. In fact, it's been said that the average website visitor decides within seven seconds whether to keep reading. The question that every visitor is asking during those seven seconds, even if they don't know it, is "Am I in the right place? "
All your website really needs to do is answer this question in the affirmative for as many visitors as possible, and then give them an easy way to take action. Here are three important strategies for doing just that. You can learn many more by reading my series, Piano Studio Website Strategies.
#1: Use Second Person
Prospective piano students and parents read your website with their own needs in mind. Believe it or not, you and your accomplishments are probably not the most important thing to them. On the home page especially, avoid being the ego-centered musician who proudly trumpets your successes (save this for your "About" page). Instead, focus on the reader's interests by making liberal use of the words "you" and "your."
Our May/June 2015 issue brought Clavier Companion readers an exclusive interview with award-winning pianist Sean Chen. Chen was named the 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow of the American Pianists Association (APA). As a Classical Fellow, Chen is supported in many ways by APA. The mission of the American Pianists Association is to discover, promote and advance the careers of young, American, world-class, jazz and classical pianists. We're happy to highlight the work of APA and share our conversation with APA President Joel Harrison.
All of your fellows are excellent, but did you realize you had something special with Sean Chen when he was in the APA competition? How does APA continue to work with Sean Chen as his career moves forward?
I knew Sean a bit prior to his APA experience, so yes, I had some idea that he has some extraordinary qualities. Having heard him now in many different situations, from solo, to working with high school orchestras and students, masterclasses in varied settings, rehearsing and performing with excellent professional orchestras, and a variety of community outreach experiences, I have come to more fully realize how truly gifted he is. He handles every situation with ease and grace, and he never fails- no matter what!