A legacy of excellence: An interview with John and Nancy Weems


Through their teaching, John and Nancy Weems have instilled in their students a love for music and a commitment to artistic pianism. In addition to a long-standing record of top awards in local, district, and state Texas Music Teachers Association competitions, John has taught winners of the National MTNA Baldwin Junior Achievement Award, the Natio...

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Mind Matters: Thinking about thinking

What do you think about when you think about performing? Take a few minutes before reading further and make a short list. Below, I have listed some frequent responses about performance that I have heard from teachers and students:• I am afraid I will make mistakes.• I will feel embarrassed if my performance does not go perfectly.• I freak out about...

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Moving from Sonatina to Sonata: Bridging the gap with Johann Wilhelm Hässler

Progressing from late-intermediate level sonatinas by Clementi and Kuhlau to early-advanced level sonatas by Mozart and Haydn can be a challenge for students. The piano repertoire does not have many well-structured eighteenth-century pieces of good musical quality by well-known composers that bridge this gap. The Six Easy Sonatas by Johann Wilhelm ...

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Questions & Answers: November/December 2017

Q: This is the time of year when high school students are considering college and preparing for auditions. As a music administrator, do you have any suggestions for me and/or my students that would help us make good decisions? A (Part I): There are many ways to study music in college and many ways to prepare for a career in music. Learn about and c...

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Thank you

This Editor's column will be my last for Clavier Companion. After eleven years at the helm of this magazine and its predecessor, Keyboard Companion, I have decided to step aside. Eleven years is a long time, and I have enjoyed every moment of this wonderful ride. When I accepted the position of Editor-in-Chief in 2005, it was an exciting time fille...

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Coping with cross-rhythms

One of the most frequent problems I have encountered with students in my teaching, examining, and adjudicating is their approach to cross-rhythms. Yet, a lack of confidence—even fear—can easily be overcome by informed analysis and practical application. I therefore encourage students to accompany me through the following stages. My examples come ex...

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Create and Motivate: Developing seventh-chord fluency

The ability to recognize and play chords without hesitation benefits all pianists. For improvisers, chord fluency enables practical skills such as learning tunes by ear, transforming lead sheets to arrangements, jamming with others, and creating one's own part in bands. For those who prefer to play written music, facility with chords improves learn...

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CD & DVD Reviews: November/December 2017

CurrentsMichael Mizrahi, pianoNew Amsterdam Records NWAM075[Total Time 60:01]www.discogs.com Whether you are an avid fan of contemporary music, a casual listener looking for something off the beaten path, or a pianist looking for new music to program, there is much to admire here. Simply put, this terrific album features solo piano music by a handf...

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On boating and the pleasures of ear training

Yes. You read right. I bet you never thought you'd see the words "pleasure" and "ear training" mentioned in the same sentence. Pleasure and boats seem so much more compatible. People tend to grimace at the very thought of ear training, as if they'd just discovered half a worm in their apple. When I was a student at McGill, "Ear Training and Sight S...

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Keyboard Kids' Companion: November/December 2017

Famous WorksFür Elise youtu.be/VL6HTVdzxAASymphony No. 3 youtu.be/InxT4S6wQf4"Moonlight" Sonata youtu.be/yuC1Avo4DeISymphony No. 5 youtu.be/FCbkaSFLf-4Symphony No. 9 youtu.be/rOjHhS5MtvA Meet the Composers: Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, on December 6, 1770. His family background was Dutch; the name Beethoven m...

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Protecting passwords in 21st-century style

Do you panic when prompted to enter a password? It's virtually an impossible task to remember every password you create as most websites now require you to make an account and follow a specific set of rules for the username and a "strong" password.A high-tech guru who sensed my frustration with passwords advised me to keep things simple and wr...

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New music reviews: November/December 2017

(S3) From Sight to Sound: 6 Original PIano Solos, by Randall Hartsell.  Randall Hartsell composed From Sight to Sound to express the "interconnectedness of nature and our lives," and this collection contains six reflective pieces characterized by melodic simplicity and harmonic richness. The collection capitalizes on the piano's capacity for c...

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Piano Method Review: Tales of a Musical Journey


Tales of a Musical Journey, by Irina Gorin with assistance from Olga Lukantsov, is presented in the form of two chapter books for young children ages four to seven. Author Irina Gorin writes, "Books 1 and 2 cover the span of the first year of study and will sufficiently prepare the students for classical repertoire."1 The characters in this fa...

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Making Money Making Space: Creating space to move from good to great


One of the wonderful realities and paradoxes about being a piano teacher in 2017 is that a good idea is only one click away. The proliferation of good piano teaching ideas and the increased connectivity that we have through email, social media groups, and websites means that there is never a lack of creative ideas, games, and teaching techniques. A...

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Perspectives: Why I love teaching learning-challenged children

As a piano teacher, I love working with students who catch on to new concepts quickly, who are respectful and obedient, who are able to give polished performances, and who progress rapidly. Yet, over my two-and-a-half decades of teaching piano lessons, I feel my biggest success stories are students who did not do any of these things. My biggest suc...

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Unifying techniques in musical compositions

Any musical composition may be analyzed from the perspective of attempting to reveal its various facets of unity and variety. A work may often prove to be satisfying to the listener when these elements are in judicious balance. Notwithstanding that, however, the predominant features of any given musical masterpiece are unquestionably the work'...

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Recent Research: Nov/Dec 2017

Music with the mind Neuroscientists have created the world's first musical instrument which can be played using only thoughts. The hands-free device may help rehabilitate those who are unable to play an instrument because of stroke, spinal cord injury, or ALS.1 The instrument, called an Encephalophone, detects and translates brain signals into musi...

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News & Notes Nov/Dec 2017: Falling pianos and Extreme Minimalism

Falling pianos At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the annual "Piano Drop" has been a celebrated event for more than forty years. According to Steve Annear of The Boston Globe, "It's a celebration that not only rallies the community together to participate in something unusually destructive… but also marks the last day they can officially...

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Pupil Saver: Set your alarm

Students are sure to make time for Kevin Olson's energetic early-intermediate piece Time's Up! (FJH). The imaginative use of changing meters and brisk tempo give this piece a delightful spontaneity and definitely make it an enjoyable introduction to asymmetrical time signatures. The A section, in 5/4 meter, uses the treble clef for both hands. Thou...

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Poetry Corner: Nov/Dec 2017

Beethoven: Sonata No. 14 ​for Roma You were at the piano playing the "Moonlight," A name Rellstab gave it when he heard The Adagio, and remembered moonlight Flecking the waves of Lake Lucerne. But this was afternoon, in Boston, The sun lighting up your apartment Like a flare, your fingers laboring Against a dead middle-C, and an A Which twanged in ...

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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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