The drama and desperation of the world's most famous piano competition

Eight years ago, someone in Tel Aviv slid a letter under the hotel room door of Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky. A professor in the piano department at Juilliard, Kaplinsky was in Tel Aviv as a juror for the Rubinstein International Piano Competition. The other jurors received the same letter. When she opened the envelope, she was horrified. The letter attac...

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Diverse and above suspicion: Creative juror selection for the future

It's a good thing I wasn't planning a leisurely Sunday coffee and croissant. June 9 was the last day of the quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and, as a visiting critic, my afternoon and evening were packed with activity. The last finals round finished around 5:30 p.m. I hotfooted it ten blocks to my hotel room, wrote a blog p...

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Productive Practicing: The hidden part of the iceberg

The demands of playing the piano at an advanced level are varied and complex. The list of skills pianists need to learn seems endless, and many of them are subtle and time consuming to master. How long does it take to understand the pedal (Anton Rubinstein's "soul of the piano") and its possibilities? How much practicing does it take to absorb the ...

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Interdisciplinary inspirations: Using visual images to enhance your teaching

Meaningful connections Successful teachers always try to make connections for students— creating and demonstrating meaningful relationships among various activities and concepts. They strive to show students how a good technique enables them to play their repertoire with greater ease; how understanding music theory makes reading and memorization ea...

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The 2013 laureates: A Cliburn Wrap-up

The Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition ended with the results many observers had predicted, with the gold medal going to a self-assured Vadym Kholodenko, 26, of Ukraine. He delivered a series of impressive performances throughout the seventeen-day contest, several of which had the audience whooping in appreciation, including me....

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Variations

She always wore a cherry-red coat... She always wore a cherry-red coat. At least that is what I remember she wore, whether that fact is true or not. Her gray hair surrounded her head in a fluff that looked like a halo pushed slightly askew, and she walked quickly, her back bent slightly forward in what looked like anticipation, but was probably ost...

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Exploring the Teaching of Mary Craig Powell

It has been my privilege for many years to know Mary Craig Powell as a colleague and friend. Although Mary Craig is an internationally renowned Suzuki specialist, her pedagogic knowledge and instructional skills reach far beyond the confines of a particular method or philosophy. Watching Mary Craig teach is a revelatory and inspiring experience, an...

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How do you introduce scales?

Richard Chronister, the founder of  Keyboard Companion, made an astute remark to me one time at lunch. "It may be a scale," he mused over a Cobb salad, "but is it technic?" We had been talking about the requirements of one of our state assessment programs, which, like many others, require the student to perform scales in the same keys as ...

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Create and Motivate

​One fun and important area of teaching music that sometimes gets overlooked is creativity. While most of us would agree that improvising, composing, arranging, and playing by ear are necessary ingredients for developing comprehensive musicianship, somehow we may not get around to teaching these skills often enough in our lessons. One thing is for ...

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How do mobile devices and apps inspire and facilitate your teaching?

Ev​ery teacher who uses a mobile computing device has a favorite application. But rather than asking teachers about their favorite apps, I prefer to ask deeper questions: Do mobile computing devices have a transformative effect on your studio, your studio management, or the way in which your students learn?  I received fascinating answers...

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Adventures in Long Distance Piano Moving

Within a single year, I recently experienced many of the trials and tribulations that happen when attempting to move a grand piano from the East Coast to the West Coast. Although I had seen articles about finding new students by networking in a new location, I had not seen much information on actually getting a grand piano across the country. ...

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Remembering Van Cliburn

Remembering Van Cliburn

Earlier this year, the musical world lost one of the most iconic figures of the twentieth century. Van Cliburn was the first (and only) classical musician to receive a ticker-tape parade, the first classical musician to sell more than one million copies of a record. He played for royalty, heads of state, and every U.S. President from Harry Tru...

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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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