On the Value of Art Music Today

david
As a promoter of the arts and arts education, in Alberta, Canada (as founder and director of Alberta Pianofest, a summer festival of concerts and piano master classes), I often have occasion to speak before audiences of music-lovers, arts patrons, and potential supporters. These audiences are sympathetic to the cause, and they understand at th...
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Repertoire: Bach's Two-Part Inventions

Affect in J.S. Bach's Two-Part InventionsBach's oldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann, was born in 1710 when Bach was twenty-five years old. By the time Wilhelm was ten, his father had instructed him in playing—as well as composing—some rather complex pieces. According to The New Bach Reader, Bach used the Two-Part Inventions and Three-Part Sinfonias as a...
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What about that bass?

As piano teachers, we commonly show our students how composers divide pieces into three parts, such as in Sonata or Minuet and Trio forms. What is often missed is that most music is composed with a vertical division of three as well. We are adept at teaching students to focus on—and voice—the melodic content. However, often overlooke...
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Finding musical expression through photography and film

Music is invisible. Yet how many times have we heard teachers, critics, and the general music using the piano. Our priorities often lie in teaching proper technique to avoid unnecessary tension, and in showing students how to decipher notes, tempo markings, dynamics, and written terms on the page. These elements are crucial in order to give pi...
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Winds of Change

While this column usually focuses on change as it transforms our profession and sometimes flusters its practitioners, I want to think about something that doesn't change: the effect of artistry and its long-lasting impact.These thoughts come to mind as I reminisce about the unexpected effect Phyllis Curtin had on my life. Phyllis was an admired Ame...
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A Life Among Legends: an impresario looks back, part II

Jacques Leiser ©Jacques Leiser
​Many of the biggest musicians of the twentieth century have worked with Jacques Leiser: Richter, Michelangeli, Berman, Arrau, Cziffra, and Callas, to name just a few. As an agent, impresario, and photographer, Leiser helped direct the stunning careers of many household names. Such a life brings with it many valuable stories and insights that take ...
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The dynamics of sound and time

Music is at once simple and complex. We hear it, and we are moved by the feelings the music evokes. Yet, it is also a complex matter. There are eight ingredients of music: medium (the sound), meter-tempo-rhythm (the time), melody (the tune), harmony (the chords), texture (the thickness or number of voices), form (the organization), dynamics (t...
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The Sound of the future

The Sound of the future
Editor's note: In the November/December 2014 issue, Clavier Companion launched a series of articles addressing the future of piano teaching. The following article is part of that series.In the mid 1900s, electronically produced sounds were only available to an elite group of composers, artists, and recording studios. Today, our students have easy a...
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Tone production: Doing the right things for the right reasons

Tone production: Doing the right things for the right reasons
As a sophomore in college, I performed in a master class given by a former Van Cliburn Competition medalist. At one point, I was asked to play certain chords so that my fingers moved toward the fallboard as they depressed the keys, and this was supposed to change the timbre of these loud chords without actually changing their volume (providing a "r...
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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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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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A Life among Legends

Jacques Leiser. © Jacques Leiser
Richter, Michelangeli, Berman, Arrau, Cziffra, Callas. These are just a few of the legendary artists that Jacques Leiser has worked with in his remarkable career. As an agent, impresario, and photographer, he played no small part in the successful careers of many of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century. As a confidant, advisor,...
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Beyond the Keyboard

Dr. Edwin Gordon was one of the most distinguished and influential music educators of the twentieth century. His work on the measurement of music performance, audiation, and Music Learning Theory had far-reaching implications for a wide variety of musical settings. In November of 2015, Dr. Gordon was named a Lowell Mason Fellow by the National Asso...
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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 helpme...
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Piano Talk

​For quite some time, I've found myself noting the vocabulary we use to describe our peculiar life-enterprise as pianists. We steal from everywhere, and each theft seems to convey some facet of our identity. Some of those identities might best be discarded; others serve to remind us vividly of music's broad affinities. I was first struck,...
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Wael Farouk and the Rachmaninoff piano oeuvre

​Wael Farouk was born with extremely short hand ligaments. He can't make a fist, open a jar, or button his shirt, but he can play the complete solo piano works of Sergei Rachmaninoff, who is known for complex and demanding music.At thirty-two years of age, the youngest piano faculty member in Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Art...
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To use, or not to use?

​Peter Serkin uses it. So do Emmanuel Ax and Richard Goode. Sviatoslav Richter started using it. As a faculty member in 1980, Gilbert Kalish promoted a policy about it at Stony Brook University; it was ok to use it during degree recitals. Many top competitions prohibit its use.Its use has been discussed and debated at great length in recent ye...
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The role of rote teaching in the development of reading, technique, and artistry

Rote teaching is the systematic introduction of musical and artistic concepts that are best introduced by modeling rather than from the notated score. Music is an aural art and thus transcends notation. Rote teaching is not (a) training students to copy the teacher without any thought or understanding, or (b) the creation of students who will forev...
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The great compensator

pedals
A full range of expressivegestures evocative of other instruments is always at our disposal. We pianists are constantly grappling with the fact that our instrument cannot truly sustain tones. A few fractions of a second past its production—marked by a meteoric rise in loudness—every new sound plummets in volume as surely as if it were bei...
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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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