Inside the Studio with Elaina Burns

 In this video, I am introducing a new piece to a new student in his second private lesson online. He took early childhood music classes two years ago, but this is his first experience with private piano lessons, and this is my first time starting a private student exclusively online. He was very excited to see the chipmunk appear on the scree...
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Pupil Saver: Caribbean Blue

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I teach in a piano camp every summer—it is the highlight of my summer and I so look forward to working with students in this setting. I have just listened to the audition of my prospective student for the camp: a boy in middle school who is playing at the intermediate level. The purpose of the audition is to assess his level of playing and sight re...
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2019 Collegiate Writing Contest Winning Essay: Helping Students Develop a Mature "Why"

This past May, the Piano Magazine held the ninth annual Collegiate Writing Contest. Collegiate students from across the country submitted 1,500-word essays on pedagogical topics of their choosing. The essays were blind reviewed by a panel of pedagogy professors: Dr. Barbara Fast, Tony Caramia, and Dr. Diana Dumlavwalla. We thank...
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Autumn 2019: Pupil Saver

Olive Dungan's intermediate solo, The Peacock (a Poem without Words) was first published in 1953. I have found that students today still delight in this musical depiction of a beautiful majestic bird. Olive writes in the score, "The composer trusts that the pianist will create the magnificent and slow walk of the peaco...
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Summer 2019: Pupil Saver - Dramatic Chords and Incomparable Views

Rebecca is in her senior year of high school. She is a lovely person who is a talented artist and is also a good pianist. Rebecca leans probably more toward art than music, thus her playing level has stayed around late intermediate to early advanced. Finding music for her that sounds difficult and appealing is often a challenge.At her most recent l...
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The Whole Piano is Mine! Keeping Today’s Beginners Engaged Through Attractive and Motivational Repertoire

When I began teaching in the United States as a fresh artist-teacher graduate of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, I soon recognized that to make my teaching style appropriate to the experiences and circumstances of my students it was crucial to familiarize myself with the American teaching environment and practices. Ever since, I ...
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November/December 2018: Pupil Saver

Rev It Up!David Karp's Toccatina in D Minor (FJH) is a high-energy intermediate piece that will rev up any student. Written almost entirely in the treble clef, the rapid sixteenth notes, syncopated cadences, and interesting mix of major and minor sounds add up to an exciting and riveting contemporary pie...
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From the Inside Out: Motivation

​Joyce Cameron is nationally certified in piano and piano pedagogy by the Music Teachers National Association. She is best known for her work with KEYBOARD COMPANION, for her published descriptions of the demonstration teaching at the 1988 and 1990 meetings of the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy, and for coordinating the NCPP Learni...
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September/October 2018: Pupil Saver

From the "Motivating Bookshelf Logan is sitting on the piano bench, his mother behind us. Logan and I are discussing repertoire for both short- and long-term goals.Logan is in soccer, tennis, robotics, piano, violin, and a plethora of church activities. Following a polished performance of "The Little White Donkey" from Jacques Ibert's Histoire...
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September/October 2018: Variations

The music of lifeSerious illness visited my husband last winter. Our lives suddenly became a round of doctor appointments, surgery, tests, treatments, and continual bad news. My husband and I have received thoughts, prayers, food, visits, gifts both serious and funny, cards, and people's heartfelt love. We are grateful...
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Purple Days

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Yesterday, Andrew came into his lesson scowling. He stomped her to the piano bench, sat down, and crossed his arms in front of his chest, still scowling. I first met five-year-old Andrew when he was a baby, sitting on his dad's lap during his older brother's piano lessons. During all of his eight months of piano lessons, I have never seen him ...
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July/August 2018: Pupil Saver

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A grand setting for C minorby Carmen DoubrovaSome students diligently practice their repertoire pieces, but are less enthused about scales and exercises. Fortunately, long ago, I discovered Ballade from Betty Colley's early-intermediate collection Styles for Piano (Kjos). This piece is a brilliant study of the natural minor scale.The C-minor k...
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Linda Mannering
Hello Carmen, Thank you for this article. I cannot find Betty Colley's early-intermediate collection Styles for Piano (Kjos) or ... Read More
Saturday, 21 July 2018 09:33
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The Repertoire-Rich Challenge: three stories to inspire you

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The more you learn, the more you know: Adopting a repertoire-rich attitude in your studio For a couple of hundred years now, piano teachers (and their piano students along with them), have bought into the fashion maxim that "less is more" when it comes to learning repertoire. by Elissa Milne The more you learn, the mor...
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May/June 2018: Variations

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Rediscovering the joy of music 1950.  Rediscovering the Joy of Music Lincoln, Nebraska. I am four years old, living with my parents in a new GI-Bill financed tract house, dancing around my bedroom to Side B of my Golden Record of The Five Little Firemen. It is a 5-inch 78 RPM made of yellow plastic, and I am quickly wearing down its groov...
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May/June 2018: Pupil Saver

Ibert-
 Got a Pupil Saver? We love to hear from you. If you are interested in submitting your Pupil Saver for consideration, please contact Susan Geffen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. I have an advancing student who is really interested in playing French music. Although I decided to steer away from Debussy for the moment, I remembered that French c...
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100 Days of Practice?

Cartoon Graphic Cartoon credit: Suzanne E Carpenter
Our student, Maria Willertz, recently stood on the stage of Steinway Hall in Cincinnati proudly displaying her certificate for having practiced 100 days in a row, an accomplishment we achieved together by providing a positive environment in which to practice, conveying clear expectations of how to practice, and evoking encouragement to help keep he...
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March/April 2018: Create and motivate

The previous issue's column included a list of the benefits of scale practice as well as an approach to "squaring" scales to fit the four- and eight-measure phrase lengths so common in piano literature. Now, here's another way to practice scales for advancing pianists. Assign it to students who have a history of being motivated by extra challenges....
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My meeting with the man in the ebony and ivory tower

Man in the Ivory Tower
The following account may be fiction. It may be true. It may be both.I had been a piano teacher and performer for nearly a decade. At the age of twenty-eight, I was plagued by a persistent "hollow" feeling, especially after giving yet another mediocre lesson or anxiety-driven performance. Performing was always an ordeal, and a perpetual affront to ...
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Who will save the guitar?

In recent years, there's been a lot of discussion about the state of the piano teaching industry. We know that piano sales have declined dramatically, but has there been a decline in the number of people studying piano? In the absence of thorough data, we can only look to anecdotal evidence, which seems to be highly variable. I hear from teachers w...
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Summer Piano Study: Ideas and Inspirations

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While routine can be valid and effective for piano students and teachers, sometimes a break from the usual can be refreshing. After nine months of the school-year schedule, the summer months provide an ideal time for the exploration of new approaches.The benefits of summer study include the freedom to try a different format for your teaching—if you...
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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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