14 items tagged "perspectives"

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A tour of the redesigned Clavier Companion

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Friday, 15 November 2013 19:36

the piano magazine cover

You may have received the November/December issue of Clavier Companion, and I hope you've been enjoying it. If you haven't seen it yet, I invite you to take a look at the digital edition by visiting our website at www.claviercompanion.com. Better yet, subscribe today so you don't miss another issue!

There are many changes in this new issue, and I wanted to take you through some of them to give you a behind–the–scenes look at what is different. Before I discuss what is new, however, I want to stress that one thing has remained the same: the quality content that is at the core of every issue. While some things have a new look, and there is some new organization, we remain dedicated to bringing you practical, interesting, and informative articles to improve your learning, teaching, and playing. Our mission has not changed, nor will it ever change.

Reader Discussion: Balancing life and career

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Tuesday, 30 April 2013 18:59

The May/June 2013 Clavier Companion issue contained several articles concerning balancing our careers as music teachers with the other important aspects of our lives. We invite you to join the conversation ­and share your experiences regarding how you manage the many demands placed on music teachers. Below are some questions to consider:

How do you manage your daily, weekly, and seasonal schedules?

Do you have a time saving tip not included in one of the articles?

How has technology assisted your teaching life?

How do you help students learn to manage their time?

How do you decide what to include in your schedule as a music teacher?

Gladys and Marguerite

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Friday, 26 April 2013 13:42

My wife and I went to a concert tonight. I wasn’t that excited about the concert, but some friends of ours wanted to go. The format was an often-used one for pops concerts: a first half comprised of orchestra features, followed by a guest performer in the second half. The first half was enjoyable (there was a wonderful arrangement of some video game music!), but I was mesmerized by the second half. For forty-five minutes Gladys Knight held the entire concert hall in the palm of her soulful hand. I don’t think I have seen and heard a more consummate performer in a long time.

TED Talks

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Tuesday, 02 April 2013 20:09

A few years ago a colleague of mine introduced me to TED Talks. My guess is that many of you reading this blog are aware of this wonderful resource. Started in 1984, TED began as a “conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design” (http://www.ted.com/pages/about). Since then, the breadth of topics covered at these conferences has broadened, eventually leading to the current mission: Spreading ideas (http://www.ted.com/pages/about).

A Conversation with Carol Montparker

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Tuesday, 22 January 2013 14:18

Carol Montparker's A Pianist's Journal in Venice is the featured book in the January/February 2013 installment of Susan Geffen's column Closer look. In this post, Susan follows up with the author to learn more. 

SG: Carol, we are delighted to have you share your insights on our website.

You mention in your book, A Pianist’s Journal in Venice, that you are “a pianist who loves to paint.” When did you discover your love—not only for music—but for art as well?

CM: It all goes back so far, who can remember!? I am told I toddled over to my grandfather’s piano to pick out tunes when I was three, and I have been drawing and painting all my life. But it was not until my late teens, perhaps, that I realized to what extent each art nourishes the other, and how much both of them nourished me. My late great teacher, Leopold Mittman, was a wonderful painter as well as pianist, and he even took me to museums, deepening my appreciation of all the arts.


Teaching Expressivity

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Friday, 04 January 2013 12:43

Richard Chronister was a wise man and a most insightful piano teacher. Among his legacies to our profession were the co-founding of the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy with James Lyke and the piano teachers’ journal Keyboard Companion. In his second editorial in Keyboard Companion, Richard wrote (I paraphrase) “Students enroll in piano lessons for one reason: to make exciting sound at the keyboard.” He went on to point out that when we teachers do not capitalize on the student’s musical goal, we are cultivating a potential piano drop-out.

When Chronister writes “exciting sound,” he includes the entire gamut of expressivity. Sound can be expressive and emotionally moving, or it can be boring and monotonous. It is our job as piano teachers to help students turn correct notes and rhythm into gems of expressivity. The encouraging news, and something all piano teachers realize, is that expressivity can begin in the first year, in the first term, even in the first lesson!


The Patience of...a Teacher

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Monday, 10 December 2012 14:02

As I sit tapping my foot, annoyed and staring at the little wheel going around on my computer, I say to my husband, who is a computer consultant, “we have no internet connection again!” He looks over at me and calmly says, “Give it a minute.” He also says one more thing in passing, “…you are so impatient it still amazes me sometimes that you are a teacher!”

Thirty Thanksgiving Blessings

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Thursday, 22 November 2012 01:54

In the daily grind of teaching, planning recitals, selecting repertoire, dealing with communication, figuring out policies, and more, it’s helpful to take a step back and remember all the tremendous blessings we experience as independent music teachers. It didn’t take long to come up with a collection of thirty things I’m thankful I get to do as an independent music teacher. I hope you find renewed enthusiasm in your calling as a teacher as you read this list – and perhaps you will want to create your own, as well!

Call me an amateur, please!

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Friday, 09 November 2012 13:39

In her article Explore the blogosphere (November/December 2012), Shana Kirk lists a variety of blogs that provide professional enrichment for teachers. We are delighted to have several of these writers submit guest blog posts for Clavier Companion's ThePianoMag Blog, and we begin this series with Music Teacher's Helper.

“Every artist was first an amateur.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Over the years, as a professional musician, I have often heard the term ‘amateur’ used in a pejorative sense. It is frequently used to mean someone who is a second-rate musician or artist, or not serious about what they are doing.

Yet what does the term amateur actually mean? The original word derives from the Latin ‘amator’, lover, from ‘amare’ to love. And how often do we experience that an amateur can be more in love with what they are doing than a professional?

Say it with silence

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Thursday, 01 November 2012 12:38

Our November/December 2012 issue is loaded with interesting articles, many of which discuss the piano
on film. Penny Lazarus and Donald Sosin each contribute articles about the art of accompanying silent movies, showing us how this can be a creative and inspiring activity for young students as well as seasoned performers.

Watching these silent movies got me thinking about music, communication, and the nature of “silence.” Music is often called the universal language, but isn’t it remarkable how well music can communicate not only the story of a film, but also the emotional twists and turns of the plot? And isn’t it interesting that silent films are never experienced in actual silence? Their “silence” is in fact filled with audible music, traditionally performed live.

Students with Special Needs – Same Expectations, Different Learning

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Friday, 28 September 2012 12:46

In more than decade of teaching students with autism and other special needs, my students have taught me many things.  Most importantly, I really believe that music doesn’t discriminate and neither should I as a teacher.  And in that vein of thinking, neither should the pedagogy. They have also taught me that when they come to a lesson, I am the person with the special need and they are the average typical students.  I had better learn very quickly to function in their world.


Is it right to drug our way to better playing?

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Friday, 31 August 2012 13:10

It happened several years ago. Thirty minutes before I was going to accompany a young man on his high school senior violin recital his mother handed him a pill and some water, and then turned to me and asked if I would like one, too. When I asked what it was, she replied that it was a beta-blocker for nerves. I declined the offer – I wasn’t that nervous about the program, and I had no idea how it would affect my playing. I must say, however, I was rather shocked by the whole incident!

Happy New Year!

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Tuesday, 28 August 2012 12:27

For students and teachers, this time of year is the beginning of a new adventure. In their school classrooms, students may experience the smell of new crayons, the uncertainty of how their new teacher will accept them, and the joy of seeing their friends again. What questions come to your mind and heart as you begin this academic year? Below are some questions I’ve contemplated for 2012-2013:

Welcome, fellow companions!

Category: ThePianoMag Blog
Created on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 12:52

Greetings, and welcome to the first installment in our “PianoMag” blog. This space will feature regular contributions from a variety of writers. Entries will come from Clavier Companion staff as well as guest contributors, and we intend to provide interesting and entertaining content relating to piano study, piano performance, and the magazine.