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The Chinese Phenomenon in the Piano World

During the past twenty or so years,most professional pianists and piano teachers have noticed the influx of Asian pianists. They appear at piano recitals and competitions locally and internationally, often comprising the majority of the performers. The names of Yundi Li, Yuja Wang, and certainly Lang Lang are better known today than most past giant...
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Understanding Spanish music

​ I have enjoyed playing, teaching, and listening to Spanish music throughout my musical life. The guitar effects, exotic rhythms and harmonies, and mesmerizing moods captured my imagination and emotions, as well as that of my students. I enjoyed playing Andaluza, Córdoba, Capriccio Catalano, Asturias, Granada, Sevilla, and The Jota Aragonese. One ...
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An interview with Christine Barden

An interview with Christine Barden
An internationally recognized authority and leading music educator on early childhood music, Christine H. Barden is a coauthor of Alfred's Music for Little Mozarts preschool piano method, along with Gayle Kowalchyk and E.L. Lancaster. A graduate of San Francisco State University with a degree in piano performance, she also spent four years studying...
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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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A master class on three favorite Beethoven sonata movements

T​he thirty-two sonatas of Beethoven are often cited as the pianists' New Testament, with Johann Sebastian Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier being the Old Testament. These treasured works are a staple in piano teaching studios throughout the world, and are also required repertoire in the most demanding international piano competitions. A sonata or fugue...
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Educating audiences and ourselves

The first program notes I wrote were for my college senior recital. I learned a great deal and enjoyed the process so much I continued to write them for all my solo recitals. In more recent years, I have spoken directly to the audience about the music in a type of "verbal program notes," but they are also thoroughly researched and planned.  In...
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Music for one hand

When I was in eighth grade, I fell while roller-skating and broke my right arm just above the wrist. I assumed that piano lessons would be on hold for at least six weeks as it healed, but instead, my teacher assigned me a piece for left hand alone called "Andante Finale" from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Theodore Leschetizky. I loved the challe...
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The life, love, and legacy of Morty Manus: An Interview with Nancy Bachus

The life, love, and legacy of Morty Manus: An Interview with Nancy Bachus
​During Morty Manus's tenure as owner and president of Alfred Music Publishing Company, he guided its growth from a small print and pop song catalog to the world's largest educational music publisher. Upon completion of a business degree from City College of New York, Morty joined the company his father had owned since 1928. In 1975, Alfred moved t...
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Prokofiev's Music for Children, Op. 65

​When Sergei Prokofiev returned to the Soviet Union to live after many years in the West, many were surprised; and he was probably even more surprised himself when his compositional style was soon publicly attacked and condemned by the Soviet government and press. Newly released documents are giving greater insight into the life, struggles, and mus...
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How do you use DVDs and YouTube videos of historical pianists in your teaching?

A few years ago I asked piano majors in a piano pedagogy class to name some twentieth-century pianists.  Elton John and Liberace were mentioned, but few classical pianists were identified. I later did a presentation to the group on historical pianists, beginning with Ludwig van Beethoven, his student Carl Czerny, and his two nineteenth-ce...
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Competitions: Pinnacles and Pitfalls - An interview with Daniel Pollack

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A prizewinner in the first Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition (1958), Daniel Pollack was invited, following the competition, for a two-month concert tour throughout the Soviet Union, becoming the first American to record on the Soviet Melodya label. Over the next several decades many recordings followed, all of which sold in the millions a...
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How do you assign repertoire to the "overstretched" student who has little time to practice?

In recent  conversations with piano teachers, several have expressed some discouragement in their teaching because  students frequently come to lessons too exhausted to play, or even think, and have had little time to practice. After reflecting on this, I believe as piano teachers, we are music educators first. Being professional musician...
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What do you consider when planning and choosing repertoire for students?

Marvin Blickenstaff has stated that the " hook" for students to continue their piano studies is to assign challenging and motivating repertoire they wan t to play. That is always in my mind when I select literature. My students play  music from all four style periods, as well as a concerto each year. During the Christmas season, most of them p...
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Who was Albert Pieczonka?

from the series: ​Putting It All Together: Repertoire & Performance Nancy Bachus, Editor I do not remember when I first "discovered" the Tarantella in A Minor   of Albert Pieczonka. I do know I have taught it many, many times, and always with great success. I measure "success" in different ways. One measure was that every   stude...
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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 & Performance We know that some students are kinesthetic in the way they 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 ab...
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How do you deal with "stage fright" or performance anxiety?

Anyone who has ever walked on stage and performed a piano solo by memory has had to deal in some way with "stage fright" or performance anxiety. I remember walking toward the piano as a child and thinking, "I don't know the first note of my piece. I hope my hands can find it." Fortunately, they did, but it was very unnerving. I also remember feelin...
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