How do you teach polyrhythms?

In my college years I encountered a recurring four-against-five pattern in a 20th-century piece, and my initial attempts to do it were not successful. My teacher recommended that I approximate the pattern ("fake it") while I learned the rest of the music. He also suggested that I first try tapping the polyrhythm away from the piano, which I did aft...

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An Interview with Leon Fleisher, Part Two


In the Autumn issue of Keyboard Companion, Leon Fleisher discussed his childhood years, his studies with Artur Schnabel and Karl Ulrich Schnabel, and the early years of his career. He also discussed the onset of focal dystonia, the diagnosis and management of the condition, and his advice to other pianists for avoiding dystonia.  "The&nbs...

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Lang Lang: A life so far


Anyone who believed that Lang's Lang's fame would only last fifteen minutes would have had to think twice when they saw the audience at New York's Town Hall on October 20, 2008 It sometimes seems that everyone in the world knows about Lang Lang. He was the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics. He performed at t...

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The art of the vamp

A vamp is an improvised piano accompaniment, sometimes containing melodic figures (licks or riffs), other times simply consisting of block chords played in rhythms. Or it can have both! You usually vamp when you are accompanying a soloist. A basic chord progression is provided and it's your job to "fill in." Here's a fun chord progression to p...

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Winning essay for 2008 Collegiate Writing Contest

In the Spring of 2008, Keyboard Companion sponsored its first annual Collegiate Writing Contest. College students at any level from any country in the world were invited to submit 1,500 word essays on a pedagogical topic of their choice, and grand prize was publication of the winning essay in Keyboard Companion. The esteemed panel of judges was com...

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How do you teach fluent reading on ledger lines between the staves?

In the Spring 2005 issue of Keyboard Companion, the Music Reading Department addressed the teaching of reading ledger line notes above and below the staves. In this issue, we are focusing on ledger lines between the staves. Although many methods begin reading with these notes surrounding Middle C, this ambiguous land remains a mystery to students. ...

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How do you use recording technology in your studio?

Do you remember the glorious days of cassette tapes? For a substantial period of time - from the late 1960s to the end of the century - it seemed like everyone had one or more cassette players. Best of all, a teacher or student could purchase an inexpensive cassette player that also had a recording feature. For music teachers, cassettes marked the ...

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Starting a studio: What, where, and how?

Teachers sometimes find themselves in the position of establishing or re- establishing a studio. Perhaps they have just graduated from a college or uni- versity with a degree in music; perhaps they have recently moved to a new location; or perhaps they don't feel that their studio is as successful as they wish it to be and would like to rethink the...

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The piano magazine lives on


Let's take this moment to celebrate the marriage of Clavier and Keyboard Companion. As these two magazines begin life as one, it is important to remember that Clavier Companion's debut issue continues a long lineage of grand old piano magazines. Pianoforte, the first piano magazine, appeared in London in 1797. In that year John Adams became the sec...

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Winds of Change

Within days of this new magazine's release, the forty-fourth President of the United States will take office. The Constitution remains the same - legislative, executive, and judicial branches continue to operate as they have since George Washington's inauguration in 1789. No one would deny, though, that the man taking office in 2009 represents a fu...

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About Piano Magazine

Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

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