Purple Moments

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 Plant a Purple Moment in every lesson. Call it what you will – every lesson needs at least one. Perhaps it came in the duet you played with the student. The ritardando and diminuendo in the last two measures left both you and the student momentarily speechless. It might have been with a piece that had been practiced slowly for several weeks. ...
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What do you do when you can't find a "purple moment?"

 "Plant a purple moment in every lesson."—Marvin Blickenstaff Marvin Blickenstaff is one of my very favorite people! He is a brilliant teacher and just as brilliant at teaching all the rest of us. Best of all, he is kind, generous, humble, and simply one of the best people you will ever meet. One of the things I appreciate most about Marvin is...
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Healthy technique for beginning students

Technique is such a broad term— thousands of pianists with different physical approaches to the instrument play well and (hopefully!) without injuries. But often when we discuss injury-free techniques, we are talking about advanced pianists playing extremely demanding repertoire. Very few of us, however, will ever teach students at this level —a gr...
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lyom
There are very few of us, though, will train pupils at this stage - many of us are mostly teaching"normal kids" in our home theate... Read More
Tuesday, 21 January 2020 06:48
Sarah
These tips are really great, I'm glad I found this article, as I didn't know what to start with. I'm a beginner, but in my school ... Read More
Friday, 14 May 2021 18:07
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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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Teaching artistic phrasing

from the series: Let's Get Physical: Technique Pete Jutras, Editor My wife and I have spent a lot of time lately teaching our young children how to read. I've never taught anyone to read language before, and it has been a fascinating and enlightening experience. One mild surprise was that after all the work on letters, sounds, sound combi...
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What repertoire do you use when a student can play with only one hand, and how do you assign it?

from the series: Putting It All Together: Repertoire Marvin Blickenstaff, Editor All teachers become skilled in dealing with the unexpected. Most of us have had stud en ts enter the studio with an arm in a sling or cast, or fingers wrapped in heavy bandages. Our creative juices start to flow and we improvise lessons and assignments which bend ...
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How do you include music history in the study of repertoire?

from the series: Putting It All Together: Repertoire Marvin Blickenstaff, Editor My student and I are looking over an edited version of a Bach Two-Part Invention. "Is there anything here on the page that Bach did not write?" I ask. "What about the metronome marking, and the tempo marking? How about these slurs and the staccatos here in the sec...
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Do You Use Recordings to Reinforce Your Teaching of Repertoire?

from the series: Putting It All Together: Repertoire Marvin Blickenstaff, Editor "Listen carefully." How many times did you use that phrase yesterday in your lessons? Listen...for what? How? Why? Most of us readily would agree that the hallmarks of artistic playing involve shaping of sound, balance of the texture, and tone color appropria...
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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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The Heart of the Matter: Rhythm

 Marvin Blickenstaff, Professor of Music at Goshen College (Indiana) where he teaches applied piano and courses in piano pedagogy and music literature, was named 1990 Teacher of the Year by the Indiana Music Teachers Association. With Louise Bianchi and Lynn Freeman Olson, he co-authored the series Music Pathways (Carl Fischer Publis...
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How Do You Teach Cut Time (Alla Breve)?

In the Winter 1994 issue of KEYBOARD COMPANION, several writers responded to a question on teaching downbeats. As if in unison, those teachers gave suggestions for feeling large groups of beats, the sense of moving from one down beat to the next instead of from one pulse to the next pulse.  We swing, conduct with sweeping circles of the arms (...
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How Do You Teach Your Students Not to Hesitate at a Bar Line?

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In one of the earlier issues of KEYBOARD COMPANION, a subscriber wrote to the Rhythm Post Box offering a suggestion for handling the problem of students who pause before a bar line. Her suggestion was to "white out" the bar lines, removing that visual barrier. The possible need for such an extreme solution illustrates that the issue of rhythmi...
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What Is Your Opinion of Counting Aloud and How Do You Encourage This Activity at Home?

"I don't believe in counting aloud. I just feel the beat." You can imagine my surprise at this response from an adult student who was playing incorrect rhythms in passages of Rhapsody in Blue. I thought, like most of us would, that the fastest way to solve the problem would be to have this student count aloud. My ...
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How Do You Use Computer-Assisted Instruction to Teach Rhythm in Your Studio?

The greatest innovation in our teaching studios this past decade has been the new technology. This fact is made obvious by the topics of our teachers' association meetings, presentations at conferences, and the display areas of conventions. Each issue of KEYBOARD COMPANION has one section devoted to the new technology. The teaching of rhythm has re...
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How Do You Teach Downbeats?

To teach or not to teach downbeats is really not the question. We all realize that a sense of meter is dependent on the student's feeling of emphasis on the first beat of each measure. Just how one teaches downbeats varies from teacher to teacher, from method to method. Many helpful suggestions for a variety of rhythm activities aimed at feeling th...
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How Do You Practice Rhythm? - A Student Survey

In a recent faculty seminar our resource person was an educator whose research expertise focuses on teaching effectiveness. During the seminar he showed video-tapes of effective classroom procedures and outlined ways in which we could improve our own teaching techniques. He mentioned that, although there is much research on the components...
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How Do You Teach a Piece Containing Both Duplet and Triplet Eighths?

from the series: The Heart of the Matter: Rhythm Subdividing a beat is not such a formidable task to experience and understand. Many of the words we use are made of polysyllables (that one has five!). Our names and the names of towns and states are excellent examples of the way language subdivides a pulse. Anyone can say Mississippi Cowboy or ...
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What Are Your Main Concerns About Your Students' Home Practice? Part II

From the series The Other Teacher: Home Practice by Elvina Pearce with other KEYBOARD COMPANION Associate Editors In the Summer, 1992, issue, the question addressed in our Home Practice Department was, What are your main concerns about your students' home practice? The article began with a list of twenty-four items which were submitted by...
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How do you teach dotted rhythms?

Although the steady pulse is fundamental to the concept of rhythm, the lilt and forward movement of rhythm is created through the variety of note values. Dotted rhythms are vital to our rhythmic experience. Folk tunes, patriotic songs, hymns, and Christmas carols are replete with dotted rhythms because of the life they give to the rhythmic flow. Th...
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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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