Beethoven: Sonatina in G Major

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Preparation and Presentation Context: Pieces that are helpful to have experienced or played before approaching this one Students should be playing the earliest selections of original piano works.Sonatinas by Lynes, Attwood, Latour, and other selections in any level 1 and 2 Sonatina books.Method book pieces introducing Alberti bass (approx. level 3)...
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Brazilian Dance Music For Intermediate and Early Advanced Students

Francisca (Chiquinha) Gonzaga is one of the most important Brazilian composers from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Born in 1847 in Rio de Janeiro, her personal life was considered scandalous for her time. Her father never forgave her for leaving her husband, and she was disowned by her family. She was the first professional woman composer ...
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Steps to Parnassus: Preparing Students to Play Advanced Masterworks

All learning of complex knowledge and sophisticated skills must be approached by first learning more limited and simplified versions of what students are eventually needing to master. The nature of the simplifications—the substance and magnitude of each task, the sequence in which the tasks are presented, the speed of ...
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First Debussy piano pieces with pedagogical advice

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Claude Debussy was a person of great restraint and even considered elusive by some. He was not concerned with the technical issues of a pianist, and yet was highly attentive to the quality of a pianissimo and its relationship to softer or louder levels of sound. We know his playing generally did not reach a forceful fortissimo. He cared less about ...
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Fostering collaboration: Elementary and intermediate works for pianist and narrator

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By default, being a pianist can feel like a lonely musical pursuit. Students frequently take private lessons, practice alone, perform solo repertoire, and only occasionally play duets with a teacher, family member, or friend. It is not until after many years of private study that students are finally encouraged to collaborate with other student mus...
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Better together: Chamber music for all levels

Miki Sawada with her students
What pieces do you remember performing as a young pianist? Were they solo pieces? As pianists, we are lucky to have at our fingertips a seemingly infinite body of solo masterworks. To be able to sit down at an instrument and create music alone is a joyful privilege. It naturally follows that much of traditional piano pedagogy centers around the gre...
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Pupil Saver: Unique; reflective music

Finding interesting late-intermediate literature can be a challenge. In addition to teaching the repertoire standards, I always look for something a bit more out-of- the box, quite often a contemporary composition. I find that the contemporary music of Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee fits my needs perfectly, and her two sets of preludes provide a wea...
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The challenges and joys of intermediate teaching

Intermediate Students are Different from Elementary and Advanced Students Intermediate-level piano students present unique and greater challenges than do students at other levels and ages. Elementary-level students are constantly learning new concepts and skills. Their curiosity and imaginations are aroused. They are amazed by their abilities ...
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A heavenly, bravura piece

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I am often confronted with the need for intermediate literature that will not only motivate students, but cover up any deficiencies they might have (I am sure we have all had this experience). Case in point: I had a transfer student who could barely sight-read, which made learning every piece take forever, and proper technique, hand position, and p...
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Advancing intermediate students

In today's world where younger and younger students are effortlessly performing advanced repertoire, I want to gain insight from their teachers on how this has been accomplished with multiple students. Donald Morelock is one of these brilliant teachers. It is no accident that his students achieve a high level of playing. It is obvious that he think...
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How do you teach musicality?

We have all heard it from our beginning (and sometimes more advanced) students-that awful, wooden, unmusical playing. What can we do to fix it? If we tell them to crescendo to a certain note and then get softer, they stiffly climb up and down the dynamic ladder, and it sounds even less musical! Can musical playing be taught, or do some st...
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What is your plan for teaching a new piece? How does it vary for different levels of students?

Learning a new piece is like building a house. First there is a conception of the end result. The foundation is then laid - the more solid and stable, the better. Then the frame is erected and the most basic infrastructural elements are added. The skeleton then has more "flesh" progressively added until the process is nearly complete. The fini...
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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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