Nancy Bachus is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and has taught for twenty-seven years at the college and university level. She is the author of Alfred Publishing’s “Spirit” series: the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Beyond the Romantic Spirit piano anthologies, and the Exploring... Piano Classics series, graded literature with a cross-indexed technique book at each level. Certified as a Master Teacher by MTNA, she currently maintains an independent piano studio in Hudson, OH. More

Understanding Spanish music

​ I have enjoyed playing, teaching, and listening to Spanish music throughout my musical life. The guitar effects, exotic rhythms and harmonies, and mesmerizing moods captured my imagination and emotions, as well as that of my students. I enjoyed playing Andaluza, Córdoba, Capriccio Catalano, Asturias, Granada, Sevilla, and The Jota Aragonese. One ...
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Educating audiences and ourselves

The first program notes I wrote were for my college senior recital. I learned a great deal and enjoyed the process so much I continued to write them for all my solo recitals. In more recent years, I have spoken directly to the audience about the music in a type of "verbal program notes," but they are also thoroughly researched and planned.  In...
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Music for one hand

When I was in eighth grade, I fell while roller-skating and broke my right arm just above the wrist. I assumed that piano lessons would be on hold for at least six weeks as it healed, but instead, my teacher assigned me a piece for left hand alone called "Andante Finale" from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Theodore Leschetizky. I loved the challe...
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How do you use DVDs and YouTube videos of historical pianists in your teaching?

A few years ago I asked piano majors in a piano pedagogy class to name some twentieth-century pianists.  Elton John and Liberace were mentioned, but few classical pianists were identified. I later did a presentation to the group on historical pianists, beginning with Ludwig van Beethoven, his student Carl Czerny, and his two nineteenth-ce...
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How do you assign repertoire to the "overstretched" student who has little time to practice?

In recent  conversations with piano teachers, several have expressed some discouragement in their teaching because  students frequently come to lessons too exhausted to play, or even think, and have had little time to practice. After reflecting on this, I believe as piano teachers, we are music educators first. Being professional musician...
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What do you consider when planning and choosing repertoire for students?

Marvin Blickenstaff has stated that the " hook" for students to continue their piano studies is to assign challenging and motivating repertoire they wan t to play. That is always in my mind when I select literature. My students play  music from all four style periods, as well as a concerto each year. During the Christmas season, most of them p...
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Who was Albert Pieczonka?

from the series: ​Putting It All Together: Repertoire & Performance Nancy Bachus, Editor I do not remember when I first "discovered" the Tarantella in A Minor   of Albert Pieczonka. I do know I have taught it many, many times, and always with great success. I measure "success" in different ways. One measure was that every   stude...
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We know that some students are kinesthetic in the way they learn, while others are more aural or visual...

from the series: Putting It All Together: Repertoire & Performance We know that some students are kinesthetic in the way they learn, while others are more aural or visual ... How would you teach the same piece of music to students with different learning styles? Nancy Bachus, Editor I have found it interesting to read articles ab...
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You consistently have high school students that play extremely difficult repertoire such as Chopin Ballades. How do you prepare them to play this difficult repertoire at such a young age?

I am amazed when I see high school students effortlessly playing advanced repertoire, and I have observed that certain teachers seem to constantly have students at this level. Wondering how this is accomplished, I asked two such teachers, Paul Wirth and Donald Morelock, to share some of their methods. Of course success...
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What is the role of "etudes" in a pianist's development? Which ones do you use and when?

Daily I am reminded of the numerous things that should be taught in lessons to develop knowledgeable and proficient pianists. Certainly in a 30 or even  60-minute lesson, priorities must be established for what will be included and what will be left for another day. In my early years of teaching I emphasized the basic keyboard patterns of scal...
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How do you deal with "stage fright" or performance anxiety?

Anyone who has ever walked on stage and performed a piano solo by memory has had to deal in some way with "stage fright" or performance anxiety. I remember walking toward the piano as a child and thinking, "I don't know the first note of my piece. I hope my hands can find it." Fortunately, they did, but it was very unnerving. I also remember feelin...
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