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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William Gillock: A centennial retrospective

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"To provide a musically thrilling experience." --Willam Gillock, on the purpose of student piano literature I often ask my piano pedagogy students to take a few moments to reflect on their motivations for being a music major. After all, studying music is challenging and time consuming, and there's no clear-cut promise of financial riches at the end...
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Pupil Saver: The Song of Twilight

The Song of Twilight," by Japanese composer Yoshinao Nakada (Frederick Harris Celebration Series: Piano Repertoire, Level 3), is an accessible and motivating piece for the late-elementary pianist. When I prepared students for the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, many students chose this piece as their finale because of its soaring melo...
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Repertoire: Bach's Two-Part Inventions

Affect in J.S. Bach's Two-Part Inventions Bach'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 ...
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Impressionism for intermediates

Helen Boykin's 1947 impressionistic gem, Seafoam (Schirmer/Hal Leonard), has remained a student favorite for almost seventy years. I've taught this intermediate piece many times, but it is also a solo that profoundly motivated me when I was a young student. The majority of the piece relies on a bold left-hand melody, with the right hand repeating a...
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Repertoire: Tango! (Pupil Saver)

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The intoxicating South American rhythms of Kevin Olson's alluring solo, Tango Argentino (FJH), transport the listener to sunny climes. This piece is loaded with technical variety and sophisticated harmonies, but is without any overwhelming complexity for the performer; it should easily perk up those sluggish students. However, I find Tango ideal fo...
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Imagination and mischief

Students who love stories of magical worlds and mythical creatures will jump at the chance to learn William Gillock's early-intermediate "Elfin Pranks." This whimsical piece set in E minor and cut time is loaded with teaching opportunities. Although "Elfin Pranks" is available in solo form, I prefer to use the version in Gillock's collection Accent...
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Gretchaninoff's musical gems

My teacher Eugene List once commented, "The piano literature is so vast, that at any level pianists can find beautiful music they are able to play." As a teacher, it is so easy to teach the same pieces over and over and not explore what is available today. Yeeseon Kwon has extensively studied the music of the Russian composer Alexander Gretchaninof...
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Bartók's Rhapsody from For Children

The eight-some pieces in Bartók's For Children, based on Hungarian and Slovakian folk tunes and intended for young learners, cover a considerable range of difficulty. Because finding pieces of musical substance at the early levels is difficult, it is understandable that the simplest of these are the best known (the showy "Swineherd's Danc...
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Marga Richter's Character Sketches for piano

Marga Richter's Character Sketches for piano
Easy-to-intermediate level twentieth-century teaching works Marga Richter has said she might be characterized as the ultimate "accidental" composer (no pun intended), although, in her own words, some of her music is exceedingly, even obsessively chromatic. Richter was born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, into a musical family. Her mother, Inez Chandl...
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Questions & Answers

Preparing for Liszt  The Questions & Answers column of Clavier Companion typically deals with issues related to elementary and intermediate level piano instruction. This issue of our magazine is devoted to a celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Franz Liszt. Most of Liszt's compositions are so demanding, both in their musical cha...
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Introducing students to the music of Schumann

Because of the textural, technical, and interpretive demands of music from the Romantic era, students usually do not encounter it until their early intermediate years. Most likely some of the first Romantic compositions a student will study will be by Robert Schumann, whose bicentennial is being celebrated this year. In this issue Sharon Stosur, El...
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We know that some students are kinesthetic in the way they learn, while others are more aural or visual...

from the series: Putting It All Together: Repertoire & PerformanceWe know that some students are kinesthetic in the waythey learn, while others are more aural or visual ...How would you teach the same piece of music to students with different learning styles? Nancy Bachus, Editor I have found it interesting to read articles about...
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What are some interesting rhythm challenges found in intermediate-level Scarlatti Sonatas?

The music of Scarlatti appears to be frequently overlooked by many teachers. It is more common to hear intermediate-level pianists playing much more of the music of other Baroque composers such as J.S. Bach. Part of the challenge for us as teachers is simply that there is so much of Scarlatti's music available, it is an overwhelming wealth of ...
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What Practice Steps Would You Assign for the Burgmüller "Ballade" of Op. 100?

from the series: The Other Teacher: Home Practice Elvina Pearce, Editor The Burgmiiller "Ballade" of Op. 100 (see pages 18-19) is usually a favorite with all students who can play it well. In my studio, we frequently refer to it as the "Beauty and the Beast" piece, with the "misterioso" A sections (mm. 1-22 and 49 to the end) portray...
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A Fond Farewell (Für Elise)

Marvin Blickenstaff, Editor from the series: Putting It All Together: Repertoire  One of the favorite photos I have hanging in my study is a shot of the original staff of Keyboard Companion. Pictured there is founding editor Richard Chronister and his dear wife Marjore, Elvina Pearce, Brenda Dillon, Cathy Albergo and husband Frank, S...
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What Is Your Favorite Recital Repertoire for 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-Year Students?

from the series: Putting It All Together: Repertoire Recital--the very word sends a tremor of anxiety through any piano teacher. Some teachers cleverly disguise this event by giving it another name: Piano Party, Spring Keyboard Festival, or Music for a Sunday Afternoon. Whatever the title, repertoire must be chosen and students must be prepare...
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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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