Questions and Answers

Q: Would you please discuss the role of technology in piano teaching? How big a role do you think technology should play in weekly lessons? A: We should revisit this question often, since technology changes so fast. And, for one who has built much of his career on efficacious application of technology in music teaching, what I'm about to ...

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Should we fear the future?

Should we fear the future?

"What is the future of piano teaching?" is an important question, but it may tend to strike a bit of fear into each of us. Almost implicit in the question is another, more ominous question: "Will there be a future for piano teaching?" With the prevalence of online courses, YouTube videos, and iPad apps, all geared toward learning to play the piano,...

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Respect and love for the music: A conversation with Martha Argerich

Respect and love for the music: A conversation with Martha Argerich

I had the privilege of meeting Martha Argerich, for many the greatest living pianist, when she performed Schumann's concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall earlier this year. It was a stunning performance, and the audience enthusiastically cheered her return to the City of Angels. It was hard to imagine a more vi...

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The teaching legacy of Rosina Lhévinne

The teaching legacy of Rosina Lhévinne

Rosina Lhévinne found herself in an awkward position in the late 1940s. Later famous as the teacher of Van Cliburn and John Browning, among others, and as an outstanding pianist who made her debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1963 at the age of eighty-two, in 1946 she was "at a loose end." Her lifework until then had been to serve as the helpm...

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Instant alto clef fluency

Reading alto clef can be a snap for pianists. In fact, if you can read the grand staff, you already have the skills necessary to read the alto clef fluently. The method to accomplish this is a simple one—it involves some imagery and an application of what you already know. Just envision the alto clef as the exact middle of a grand staff that has be...

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Preludes: Wonderfully frustrating

Herbert Chatzky, my beloved piano teacher from my teenage years, passed away at the age of 78. His pianism and musicianship were a huge inspiration for me. Herb studied with Irwin Freundlich at Juilliard in the 1950s. He received his B.S. in Piano in 1957 and his M.S. in Piano in 1958, winning the concerto competition that year. His time at Juillia...

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Drive and surprise

Here's a piece that captures the attention of everyone from precocious seven-year-olds to late beginners of all ages. Susan Ogilvy's Toccatina (Alfred) is suitable for students from the late-elementary to early-intermediate levels, is terrifically fun to play, and is often very easy to memorize. Most importantly, however, it sounds more diffic...

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Suzuki piano: A student-centered approach

Suzuki piano: A student-centered approach

Shinichi Suzuki's (1898-1998) ideas about music education were well ahead of his time. His philosophy and approach to teaching were based upon a unique understanding of how children learn, and many of his ideas have since been validated by scientific research. The Suzuki method started with violin, but it has been applied to a multitude of ins...

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Student wants and needs

During the late 1990s, I taught piano privately in New York City to supplement my income while working on my doctorate. From time to time, the phone would ring, and I would find myself talking to prospective students. I soon learned that I did not need to feel very anxious about it, because only one thing mattered to them, and I could deliver....

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Music lessons are life lessons

Have you ever been in a room full of people or at a table with friends where no one was talking with each other because everyone was texting? Although "texting" is a relatively new verb in our language, I imagine that most people, in our Age of Cell Phone, would understand its current definition. While texting potentially makes communication i...

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Does word-of-mouth advertising fall on deaf ears? Seven web essentials for marketing

Word-of-mouth is often accurately touted as the best way to market piano lessons. But the concept of word-of-mouth has changed tremendously in the last ten years, both in how it works and what it really is.1 Consequently, word-of-mouth is starting to fall short in effectiveness and conversion for those who do not have some essential compo...

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Exploring the melodrama: Works for narrator and piano

Of all the different fusions of literature and music, the melodrama is by far the most neglected and misunderstood. Since the late eighteenth century, composers have written works for narrator accompanied by piano, orchestra, or chamber ensemble. The first melodramas were declamations with orchestral accompaniment, but over time recitations ac...

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Pencil practice 102

As a student pianist at music camp, I once asked an improvisation teacher for tips to help me improve my creative skills. "Learn everything you can about harmony" was his quick answer. Today, I agree that, especially for pianists, chord fluency opens more doors to creativity than any other element of music. Writing chords by root In addition to mas...

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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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