Questions and Answers: March/April 2017

Q: I've heard that you use films as source material for pedagogy classes. Would you share an example and discuss how and why you do this? A: Great films capture human experience in a myriad of ways and can be very effective as teaching tools because they draw us into complex situations and provide an opportunity to grapple with problems, concepts, ...

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My bookbag struck the floor with a thud as I closed the door to my house. I made my way over to the piano and slumped down on the piano bench. Another exhausting day of tests had drained my energy, yet again. Practicing piano would be strenuously difficult for me, if not impossible. After running through my scales, I sighed and opened up a pie...

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New music reviews: March/April 2017

(S1-4) Signature Solos, Books 1-5, selected and edited by Gayle Kowalchyk. Students and teachers are in for a lively musical journey, with brand-new compositions by favorite Alfred composers, all in one collection! Students will learn pieces by beloved composers including Dennis Alexander, Melody Bober, Martha Mier, Wynn-Anne Rossi, Robert D. Vanda...

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Seeking Authenticity: An interview with Valentina Lisitsa

Valentina Lisitsa is a formidable pianist with dazzling technique and an ever-growing fan base. A self-made luminary, she was arguably the first classical musician to catapult herself from relative obscurity to superstardom using social media alone. At forty-three, the Ukrainian-American virtuoso now boasts 300,000 subscribers to her YouTube channe...

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Another world

I recently had the privilege of attending the Winter meeting of the National Association for Music Merchants (NAMM) in Anaheim, California. This is one of the two biggest music industry trade shows in the world, and it was quite a spectacle. The Anaheim Convention Center covers fifty-three acres, and NAMM occupied every inch. Imagine a main exhibit...

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Closer Look: The Music of Teaching

The Music of Teaching: Learning to Trust Students' Natural Development by Barbara Kreader Skalinder By inverting two words—teaching and music—Barbara Kreader Skalinder changes what could have been a fairly mundane title to one that intrigues and gives us pause. But it is her subtitle, Learning to Trust Students' Natural Development, that grabs you ...

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Create and motivate: Rhythm boxes, part III

My last two columns introduced the placement of Xs in boxes to help beginning students understand rhythms better. Now, I'll wrap up this series with ideas about how to use rhythm boxes to practice more complex rhythmic concepts. Start by using a word processor to make and print blank tables like those below. Then, try these activities with your adv...

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Understanding bar lines: A brief history

In Western notation, the vertical bar line through the musical staff first came into usage at a point in history when polyphonic textured music (two or more melodies simultaneously) evolved from monophonic textured music (one melody only; no accompaniment). The principal purpose of employing bar lines at that moment in time was to coordinate singer...

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Amy Beach: Celebrating 150 years


Many years ago, while reading an issue of the old music magazine, The Etude, I found an article written by Mrs. H. H. A. Beach: "Ten Commandments for Composers." I had no idea who this mystery composer was, so I began my research to find information about her life and music. During my travels, I stopped at antique stores looking for editions of her...

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Keyboard Kids' Companion: March/April 2017

Practice Project: Hand position review Good hand position is important for developing beautiful sound and clean rhythm. It also helps us to avoid using our hands and arms incorrectly, which can cause damage. Leon Fleisher, pianist and teacher at Peabody Conservatory, says that as pianists we should think of ourselves as "athletes of the small muscl...

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Developing sound expectations: Does the sound match the picture?

How do we develop a student's sense of musical awareness in performance? So often the wonderfully phrased and dynamically diverse musical performance in a lesson becomes a lifeless memory of its former glory when presented in public. How do we help our students develop the ability to maintain this musicality when performing for their families and f...

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So you have been asked to play the organ: A guide for pianists

It is likely that, sometime during a pianist's career, he or she will be asked to play the organ for a wedding, funeral, or a Sunday service. This can be daunting for pianists who have little or no organ experience. Looking at the organ, pianists might scratch their heads and wonder how to use the multiple keyboards (including the pedals) and how t...

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Rethinking the master class

Recently, my husband Louie and I presented a joint master class at the Mississippi Music Teachers Association State Conference. We have developed a different format for these educational, and sometimes intimidating, sessions where a student performs before an audience of peers and teachers, and an invited guest teacher, by reputation a "master," ma...

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Piano teaching programs reviews: Practicia

Overview Price: Free for now. Subscription pricing will take effect when beta period ends, date and price to be determined. Technical Requirements: High-speed internet connections, iPhone or iPad. Android and desktop versions currently under development. Website: Customer support: Excellent communication ...

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Apps for teaching: Make it stick with Quizlet

Quizlet is an app that generates flash cards. These are not the traditional, last-century, paper flash cards. Once you set up an account, you can create customized sets of virtual flashcards with engaging study modes, and access them on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Most students are familiar with Quizlet because the app is frequently used in ...

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CD Reviews: March/April 2017

Bach: Inventions and Sinfonias Zhu Xiao-Mei, piano Accentus Music ACC 30350 [Total Time 45:47] These inventions and sinfonias serve as a marvelous performance resource for teachers and students. Zhu's approach is forthright, and, within each of these tightly constructed miniatures, the dialogue between the voices is distinct and cl...

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Piano teaching programs reviewed: Wolfie

Overview Price: Free zone or full premium access for $5.99/month (both student and teacher must purchase) Systems: Only available for the iPad Equipment: Any acoustic or digital piano; no cables or equipment necessary Website: Pros Large catalog and ability to scan any PDF score into the appNo extra equipment neededTe...

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Pupil Saver: Elephant Stomp! by Kevin Olson

If you are looking for music for students who can't sit still during lessons, or who bypass rests like they don't exist, Kevin Olson's late-elementary solo Elephant Stomp (FJH) might be just the thing. This clever piece uses two hands, two feet, and the vast imagination of the student, who must "stomp the floor!" like an elephant. Elephant Stomp is...

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Poetry Corner: March/April 2017

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 13.0px; font: 22.0px Helvetica}p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 10.8px; font: 9.5px Gotham; min-height: 12.0px}span.s1 {font-kerning: none} On Hearing Couperin's "Rossignol en amour" Played on the Harpsichord by Ruth Dyson For an hour or more you had talked, Wittily, knowledgabl...

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News and Notes: March/April 2017

Preventing overuse injuries Unlike acute injuries, which occur after a single traumatic event, overuse injuries manifest over time as a result of repetitive motion. Like athletes, pianists are at risk for overuse injuries in the hand, wrist, arm, and shoulder muscles and tendons. Additionally, music teachers often need to work with students who hav...

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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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