A Philosophy of Piano Pedagogy

Editor's note: In this issue's column we present the first half of one of Frances Clark's popular lectures from the 1970s—"A Philosophy of Piano Pedagogy."  Have you ever attempted the impossible? Well, that's what I'm about to do—discuss a philosophy of piano pedagogy in thirty minutes! The reason I dare attempt this is because everyone in th...

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Richard Wagner at the piano

Richard Wagner at the piano

Wagner was the ultimate drama king and a lightning rod for controversy, yet he remains one of the most fascinating and uncompromising figures in the arts. Richard Wagner's 200th birthday is being celebrated this year at major opera houses including the Metropolitan Oper...

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Healthy technique for beginning students

Technique is such a broad term— thousands of pianists with different physical approaches to the instrument play well and (hopefully!) without injuries. But often when we discuss injury-free techniques, we are talking about advanced pianists playing extremely demanding repertoire. Very few of us, however, will ever teach students at this level —a gr...

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How do you teach the dotted-quarter eighth note rhythm?

In this issue, we address the teaching of a basic, but often challenging, skill—the dotted-quarter eighth note rhythm. We wanted to take a different approach and survey several teachers to assemble a wider collection of ideas for you, the reader, to consider.  Nine teachers of pre-college students submitted their thoughts on teaching this rhyt...

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Bodywork for pianists

What is good piano technique? Is it the ability to play fast scales? loud chords? hard pieces, that go on for a long time? Yes. All of these things. But they are part of a bigger whole. It's healthy, efficient, and pain-free movement at the piano that enables you to express the music in all the ways you need. What if you are one of many pianists wh...

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All’s well that ends well

Jazz pianists face innumerable decisions when playing a song from the American Songbook. Every time we perform a song by Cole Porter, George Gershwin, or Duke Ellington, we address questions about key (we are not obliged to play the tune in its original key);tempo (should it be slow, medium, fast, or free); rhythmic background (shall we try sw...

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Yes, technology can simplify your hectic teaching life!

It's true! Check out the solutions from your colleagues that follow. There is no one approach that is the best one for all teachers. If you read on, I know you'll be impressed with how creative good teachers can be with the business side of their teaching lives! Automating the paperwork and focusing on teaching by Anna Fagan Casey bo...

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Time-saving tips for teachers

Music teachers have always been busy people. Many of us juggle more than one job—teaching, performing, church work—in addition to the personal aspects of our lives. How do we maintain control of our schedules, environments, and commitments as we help bring the joy of learning music to our students? This article will explore both foundational princi...

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Back to school later in life: is it for you?

Why would you want to go back to school at your age and put that kind of pressure on yourself?" That was the kind of response I knew was possible when I made the decision to pursue a higher degree after decades away from academia. Thankfully, when I shared my dream to earn a master's degree with friends and family, I received mostly positive feedba...

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Overwhelmed: music educators as part of the "sandwich generation"

The nightmare scenario went like this: I had an eight-year-old on the piano bench, five minutes into the lesson. My own daughter was at daycare. The assisted living/rehabilitation center/Alzheimer's facility called to tell me my mother had fallen/hit someone/had a stroke and that I needed to leave for the hospital right away. My husband would pick ...

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Mother (and father) musicians

Having a baby and trying to manage a piano teaching/playing career is a lot like juggling. Just remember: it's OK to have balls dropping all around you sometimes! The musician's path is a self-motivated one. For the most part we choose how many students to accept, which concerts to take on, what courses to te...

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Making time for happiness

When will I eat breakfast?" This question came from eleven-year old Irene during a recent interview with a family seeking piano lessons. The mother called me wanting to transfer Irene and her eight-year-old brother to a new piano teacher so "We can get our life back." Both children had studied from the age of five at the area's most prestigious mus...

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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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