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Bumping into Brahms: A conversation about the Intermezzo, Op. 118, No. 2

JM: Oh! Sorry sir, you startled me! I almost bumped into you. But wait, I know you! Are you not Herr Doktor Brahms? Brahms : Guten Tag? Bitte, kein Doktor. I am amazed that we have somehow encountered one another here. Might it be because I have played so many of your wonderful song accompaniments and piano pieces recently? Would you possibly be wi...
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Pianist as artist: Samuil Feinberg on the role of the performer

Feinberg-2
It's not just historically minded pianists who listen to older records. Music lovers of all sorts do. 2015 marked the first year that 'catalogue' albums, defined as any recording made more than eighteen months previous, outsold new music by 4.3 million copies. 1 "Records." That's what Thomas Edison called his reproducing wax cylinders in 1888, asso...
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Playing composers' slurs: From Mozart to the nineteenth century

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In recent decades, scholars and publishers have reproduced composers' original notations in so-called Urtext editions. In these scholarly editions and facsimiles of composers' autographs, pianists will notice two slurring patterns—slurs obviously cutting off a phrase or a melody, or a slur ending before the bar line when the end of the phrase or me...
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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 overlo...
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Understanding the score: An interview with Alfred Mouledous

Alfred Mouldous
During the fall of 2012, I was working on my master's thesis, which involved interviewing several pianists to discover their approach to practice, performance, and teaching. I was privileged to get in touch with Alfred Mouledous, Professor of Piano at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. He immediately invited me over to his office...
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Making music come alive

In my early years of teaching I clearly remember commenting about my students' playing to my husband, "All the notes and rhythms are correct, but they don't sound that good. I'm not sure how to help them make the music 'come alive'." I certainly have many more ideas and solutions than I did as a beginning teacher, and have learned a great deal from...
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Sharon Reich Walton
While sorting through years of Clavier and Clavier Companion Magazines, I found Marvin Blickenstaff's article from July 2012 calle... Read More
Monday, 01 April 2019 20:54
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How Do You Teach Intuitive Students to Make Decisions About Interpretation?

Like many questions about teaching, the answer to this issue's question is a process; there simply cannot be an answer that stands as fact, or even static opinion. Every time we face this question, usually in the middle of a lesson, the answer is both a culmination of all that we have learned in the past and a beginning -without doubt, the circumst...
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How Do You Balance Your Emphasis on Accuracy and Interpretation?

In the last issue, students and parents responded to the question, What makes piano study a positive experience for you or your child? , and I invited readers to read the comments and to form their own conceptualization of recurrent theme(s). As I searched for common themes, it seemed to me that the major one was that the teachers of these children...
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When Does Rhythmic Training Become Training for Interpretation?

When one first reads the question posed for this month's column, an initial reaction is that the question may be a loaded one. Or perhaps the reaction is: "Obviously, from the very beginning." However, the intent of the question is neither to trick the reader nor to state the obvious. Rhythm does, indeed, become one of the major considerations as w...
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