Questions and Answers: Recollections of Louise Goss

In lieu of questions in this issue, the author will share recollections of Louise Goss, visionary teacher, author, composer, editor, and friend who passed away this Spring. If you're lucky in life, you may encounter a teacher who changes everything. Louise was one of those teachers for me. The most powerful teaching doesn't go on in the classr...

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Preparing the mind and body for performance: Conquering stage fright through effective practice

The brain is a complex organ. It controls our systemic functions and sparks our moods, thoughts, and actions. Physiologically, the brain registers fear differently, depending upon the threat. People suffering from panic attacks or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a "flight or fight" response, but those grappling with performance anxi...

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The Cincinnati Adaptive Music Camp

The Cincinnati Adaptive Music Camp (CAMC) was born out of a dream that violin teacher Jennifer Petry had to expand her teaching experience with her own children to other children with physical disabilities. Both Jennifer and I adopted children with limb differences. Jennifer's daughters have no arms, and my daughters have several physical differenc...

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Adaptive Approaches to Piano Study

Adaptive Approaches to Piano Study

Early in my piano education, I realized that sometimes I would need to play with my hands crossed. After I announced to my parents that I wanted to take piano lessons, my grandmother kindly gave me the old upright that she didn't play anymore. My father played for me the only piece he knew—a circus sort of tune with the melody in the left hand and ...

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More than a lesson: Piano study and students with special needs

Students with special needs face unique challenges every day, and those challenges may become pronounced in the intense interpersonal environment of the piano lesson. Many of these students face challenges in learning and processing social behaviors and expressing themselves in forms of social communication. These students often require a learning ...

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Gretchaninoff's musical gems

My teacher Eugene List once commented, "The piano literature is so vast, that at any level pianists can find beautiful music they are able to play." As a teacher, it is so easy to teach the same pieces over and over and not explore what is available today. Yeeseon Kwon has extensively studied the music of the Russian composer Alexander Gretchaninof...

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Imagination and mischief

Students who love stories of magical worlds and mythical creatures will jump at the chance to learn William Gillock's early-intermediate "Elfin Pranks." This whimsical piece set in E minor and cut time is loaded with teaching opportunities. Although "Elfin Pranks" is available in solo form, I prefer to use the version in Gillock's collection Accent...

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Music by heart: Tips on memorizing more efficiently

More than one hundred years ago, at a Paris book stall by the river Seine, a young German scientist had a flash of inspiration—an idea that changed our knowledge of human memory's mechanisms. Hermann Ebbinghaus wondered if memory and the process of forgetting could be measured scientifically, and, on his return to Germany, devised experiments ...

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Notable next-door neighbors

Many music theory textbooks illustrate melodies that often consist, in part, of chord tones—the notes that match an underlying harmonic progression. An example of this may be seen below, in the folk song Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair. The first three pitches, above the words "Black, black, black," are chord tones outlining a D mino...

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Génie Oblige: Franz Liszt and musical service

Génie Oblige: Franz Liszt and musical service

For Franz Liszt, music was a moral force. He would surely have agreed with Alfred Cortot who used to proclaim, "Music forces Mankind to confront its nobility." Nobility! It brings us to the heart of the matter. Liszt was the first musician in history to articulate a great idea: namely, that music functions best when placed in the service of so...

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Creating by chance

Can't get started making your own music? No excuses! Use the laws of chance to prime your creative pump. In the eighteenth century, Mozart devised a game for composing minuets by assigning pre-written melodic fragments to the numbers on dice. Here's a similar activity you can use to prompt creativity in your studio. 1. Rhythm a. Easy waltz rhy...

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The power of one--a legacy of beautiful music

Back in the 1930s a young Venezuelan pianist wished to further her musical studies, and did exactly what many aspiring musicians from North and South America chose to do in those days: she went to Europe to study. After completing her studies in Paris, she made two life-altering decisions: she returned home to Venezuela, and she became a nun. Siste...

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The gift of music: Teaching piano in a women's correctional institution

The gift of music: Teaching piano in a women's correctional institution

"Most people take piano lessons as a child, not as a middle-aged woman in prison." These words, spoken by a piano student at the Goodman Correctional Institution in Columbia, South Carolina are true. This truth is a part of the reason why I began a small program for piano study at the prison two years ago. My research while a student at the Univers...

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A moment that makes a difference

A moment that makes a difference

Teaching music to prison inmates is exactly 30.8 miles from my front door in suburbia to the thick metal door of the Warren Correctional Institution, home to 1,400 male inmates. On my scheduled teaching days, I arrive with my contractor badge and clear plastic bag and wait to see what the day will bring. I never know what is or is not goi...

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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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