Questions and Answers

Q: Recently I've seen the term "Teaching Artist" appear in stories on education and the arts in my hometown newspaper. What is a Teaching Artist? Is a Teaching Artist different from an Artist Teacher? And should I, as an independent piano teacher, learn more about "teaching artistry?"  A: I'm delighted to see the term "Teaching Artist" get att...

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Winds of Change

I've found myself thinking a lot about competitions lately. One of my first pieces for Clavier, even before I started a regular column, dealt with "The Competition Syndrome." Re-reading it, I'm struck by how little things have changed, other than the fact that I'm much less certain of things than I was in my thirties.  That early essay decried...

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Learning away from the piano à la Gieseking

2013 Winning Essay Clavier Companion Collegiate Writing Contest In the Spring of 2013, Clavier Companion sponsored its sixth annual Collegiate Writing Contest, inviting college students from around the world to submit 1,500-word essays on a pedagogical topic of their choice. The esteemed panel of judges was comprised of Ann Gipson, Andrew Hise...

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The mentoring dance

What does the word "mentor" mean to you? Perhaps you believe your college piano teacher is your mentor because you value and trust his opinions musically and personally. Or maybe you recall someone from the past as being a pivotal figure in shaping your professional career. When you develop a relationship with a person to nurture your future career...

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The science of artistry (the fourth string)

The Blüthner waits on the stage. The top three octaves of the piano include a fourth string for each tone, strings which are never struck directly, but vibrate sympathetically to enhance the overtones of the instrument.1 More than 6,000 parts comprise its Renner keyboard action. Fifteen coats of special lacquer are applied to the soundboard—wh...

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Arrangements for your holiday season

All jazz/pop musicians are expected to have a repertoire of tunes. It's commonly referred to as the "Standard Jazz" repertoire and its content is broad and varied. However, when we get close to the month of December, another repertoire becomes relevant and it is important for jazz/pop musicians to have these tunes in their arsenal, too. Of course, ...

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Practice techniques for expressive performances

Mary Leaf's Fantasy in A Minor (FJH) is a successful Pupil Saver in my studio. This romantic- style intermediate piece is popular with students because it sounds harder than it is, contains patterns that enable the student to learn it quickly, and utilizes the entire keyboard. The first and last sections of this piece are similar and can easily be ...

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Breakin’ it down: The art of modifying orchestral reductions at the piano

Many college and pre-college level pianists have not experienced the complexities of working with orchestral reductions.This is an essential skill for pianists to cultivate, since singers frequently perform works from the genres of opera and oratorio, and instrumentalists play concerti and other works originally written for a solo instrument with o...

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Repertoire: Grieg “Sailor’s Song”

I ​didn't begin my piano studies until I was eleven. As a result, I can recall my first reactions to every piece I studied—yes, every piece! (Not just how the piece sounded to me, but also how it felt under my fingers, what confused me, what was difficult…) One of my earliest "real" pieces was Grieg's "Sailor's Song" from Lyric Pieces, Op. 68, No. ...

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Steps to learning a lead sheet

Lead sheets are a simplified form of music notation designed to present the essentials of a tune, while still leaving room for creative interpretation. Lead sheets consist of two main parts:  ​Written melody Chord symbols Interpreting lead sheets works best if you and your students already know the tune. Hopefully, this one is familiar (s...

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Purposeful transcription and music analysis

As a high school student, my piano teacher assigned me the task of hand-copying a portion of Clementi's Sonata in B-flat Major. The task, given in preparation for the upcoming spring recital, was both meticulous and tedious; at the time, it seemed like busywork. What can piano students gain from hand-copying portions of a musical score?  The B...

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Teaching two-octave scales

I'm coming up on my fiftieth anniversary of teaching, and I've learned some painful lessons. Here's one: playing two-octave scales isn't twice as hard as playing scales in one octave; it's ten times more difficult. Here's another: you can never assume students grasp a concept, no matter how well they can demonstrate it in practice—and how many...

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Samaroff Student: Maurice Hinson

How were you able to study with Madame Samaroff? I grew up in a musical family, playing tunes by ear. I took the Sherwood Music School Correspondence Course, which included a summer session in Chicago. For three summers (when I was 13-15) I studied with Leo Podolsky. He was not returning for a fourth summer, and he suggested I go to Juilliard. When...

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Samaroff Student: Eugene List (1918-1985)

At age ten, Eugene List played the Beethoven Third Piano Concerto in his first public concert, performing it one year later with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Soon after, he was awarded a scholarship for Madame Olga Samaroff's class at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music. Mrs. List asked Madame if Eugene could play some concerts to help with liv...

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Clavier Companion Teacher Profile: Madame Olga Samaroff

Clavier Companion Teacher Profile: Madame Olga Samaroff

​Madame Olga Samaroff left an indelible mark on the world of music and every one of her students. In the 1930s, she launched the careers of Eugene List and Rosalyn Tureck, and her best-known pupil, William Kapell. Other notable students included Joseph Battista, Stewart Gordon, Natalie Hinderas, Solveig Lunde Madsen, Raymond Lewenthal, Jerome ...

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Simply Genius: An interview with Evgeny Kissin

Simply Genius: An interview with Evgeny Kissin

​At the age of eleven months, Evgeny Kissin was singing the theme from a Bach fugue that his sister, Alla, was playing on the piano. At two years old, he began to play piano himself, and at age six he played for the renowned teacher Anna Pavlovna Kantor, who accepted him into her studio at the Gnessin School of Music for gifted children in Moscow. ...

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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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