Mind Matters: Less is more

Full disclosure: I have repeatedly tried to write this column for a couple of weeks. I have thought about it for much longer. I usually have my Clavier Companion column completed long before it is due. I do not like last minute crunches. I have legitimate excuses. In the past couple months, I have been busy attending meetings, writing papers, and p...

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Questions and Answers

Q: Is piano study for everyone? Why or why not?  A: There's an answer to this question that I WISH were true. And there's another answer that probably IS true. WISH piano study was for everyone because I believe that everyone—at any age, with any level of ability, from any socio-economic or ethnic background—can benefit from piano study in mea...

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Solutions to common technical problems

Solutions to common technical problems

We all agree that the best solution to problems is to prevent them before they even begin. However, even with our best intentions, problems sometimes arise. Collapsed knuckle bridge Teacher places hands on the student's hands, molding, shaping, and modeling.Start beginning students with a cluster.Descriptive language: "feel the cave," "What could f...

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Discover Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee: A window into the contemporary realm

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The music of Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee provides a refreshing look into the field of contemporary piano teaching repertoire. Rahbee, born in 1938, is an Armenian-American composer whose works for solo piano have been favorably received by pianists and audiences worldwide. She has written more than 200 works, and her catalog includes music for ensembl...

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I saw Mozart in Motown

You may think that I'm losing my mind—that my elevator no longer stops at all of the floors (and you may be right), but I just saw Mozart in Motown. I wasn't in Detroit, and there wasn't any time travel involved. Indulge me for a moment, and I'll try to explain. It was late afternoon, another beautiful day in northeast Georgia. The sun was starting...

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Pedagogical treasures from Paul Pollei

Paul Pollei, popularly known as the "ambassador of the piano," passed away in July 2013 in Provo, Utah, leaving behind friends and colleagues on many continents, who loved him and his enthusiasm for life. He was a champion of piano pedagogy and all facets of the wide world of piano performance. He loved the art and science of teaching teachers. He ...

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What jazz contributes to the classical pianist

There is a long tradition of teaching quality classical piano in Canada. There are also a myriad of support systems to teach theory and written scores in a variety of contemporary styles. Then there's jazz. Some teachers like it and some don't. Others don't feel knowledgeable enough to include it in their studios. For many teachers it is a big unkn...

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How do you teach technique to beginning piano students?

How do you teach technique to beginning piano students?

Beginning piano technique: Back to basics "He's just trying it out, so he doesn't need an expert teacher. We'll just go to the most inexpensive teacher we can find until we know he likes it." How many times have we bristled at this kind of statement? We know that the first experience with any new endeavor is the most important, the most lasting. Be...

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When students quit

I quit piano twice. During my last year of high school, I left my long-time teacher a handwritten note in an envelope on her desk. In it I detailed the reasons I was "quitting piano." I no longer remember what those reasons were, but I suspect they were related to feeling I had let her down by losing a then-recent contest. I don't remember that she...

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What are they thinking? The key to your students’ best performances

The lights are dimmed and a hush comes over the crowd. The atmosphere is charged as your student takes the stage for her recital. She is well prepared and ready for this moment, but there are no guarantees. More than anything else, what happens next hinges on the thinking habits she has acquired during her practice sessions. The key to pianists' be...

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Blues 102—Variations

Having addressed in the last column how to help students compose simple Blues tunes, let's now consider how to help them add on to their creations. 1. Embellish the melodyWhether notated or improvised, ask your students to play their compositions a couple of times to be sure the melody is "set." If a melody is too elaborate, encourage paring it dow...

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Walk a mile in your neighbor’s shoes: Gender issues in piano teaching

Change, learning, and growth are able to happen when conversations begin. Conversations about what I think, and what you think, and how I feel, and how you feel rarely happen in this screen-crazy, busy world we live in. Yet, there are often important questions looming in the background. These questions typically go unanswered, but they could be add...

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Five income-affecting policy tweaks

As you review and send out your new studio policy for the coming year, it might be wise to re-examine a few important aspects of that policy. These five income-affecting policy tweaks have the potential to generate more income or more cash in hand, thus enabling you to concentrate on the most important part of your business: creative and effective ...

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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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