I failed to plan

I try not to use clichés in this column, but lately I've been reminded of the ubiquitous quote, "Failing to plan is planning to fail." As commonplace as this saying is, it holds great truth. Some say this proverb dates back to Benjamin Franklin, though it is likely a paraphrase of his—Franklin used the word "prepare" in place of "plan."Over the las...
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Keyboard Kids Companion: May/June 2017

Edvard Grieg: Romantic Period Composer Born: Bergen, Norway 1843Died: Bergen, Norway 1907Famous works: Concerto in a minorPeer Gynt SuiteLyric Pieces for PianoEdvard Hagerup Grieg was born into a wealthy family in Norway on June 15, 1843. He had a brother and three sisters. He started piano lessons at the age of six with his mother, and he beg...
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Musical News and Notes: January/February 2017

Benjamin Grosvenor awarded new Philharmonic prizeBenjamin Grosvenor is the first recipient of the Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize, the newest prize awarded by the New York Philharmonic. In October, a confidential panel of musicians selected Grosvenor, 24, as the inaugural recipient. The award includes a cas...
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I saw Mozart in Motown

You may think that I'm losing my mind—that my elevator no longer stops at all of the floors (and you may be right), but I just saw Mozart in Motown. I wasn't in Detroit, and there wasn't any time travel involved. Indulge me for a moment, and I'll try to explain. It was late afternoon, another beautiful day in northeast Georgia. The sun was starting...
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The value of music

Piano teachers have great jobs, and I think most of us are thankful that we get to spend our days sharing something we love with our students. It is immensely gratifying to see our students grow as musicians and watch music become an important part of their lives. At times, however, it seems like the rest of the world doesn't see music study in the...
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The Future of Piano Teaching: Changes and Constants

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Mixed signals. We live in a time of unprecedented change. This thought is one that is expressed frequently these days—you may even find it to be clichéd. We hear it so often that we may not stop to consider what it really means, or if it is even as true as we might believe it to be. In this issue, Clavier Companion begins a series of articles that ...
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An Interview with Dennis Alexander

An Interview with Dennis Alexander
Last summer, my son Andrew learned a Dennis Alexander composition entitled "Full Moon Rising" (from Simply Sensational, Book 1).Like many students playing many Dennis Alexander pieces before him, he was completely enthralled by the sound of the piece. As a teacher (and in this case a parent), I reaped the invaluable benefits of having an intrinsica...
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How Do You Choose Repertoire for Your Adult Students?

"I'm too old to play pieces I don't like," said Heather at one of our first lessons. Heather is a retired Professor in Romance Languages and Literatures, as well as an expert on the composer Schubert. It's no surprise that her repertoire is steeped in Schubert's music. She loves it that way, and so do I.It's not always this easy picking repert...
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Driving practice home

by Shirley Penzi​The first piece of furniture my husband and I bought for our new home was a fine Mason & Hamlin piano. We placed it prominently in the sunset room and cared for it meticulously. But it sat mostly idle, beckoning to be played for several years. When our daughter, Summer, was three-and-a-half years old, we began to feel she was r...
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The career challenge: Problems facing today's pianists

The career challenge: Problems facing today's pianists
The career challenge: Problems facing today's pianistsAn interview with Jacques LeiserThe twenty-first century is blessed to be an era with no shortage of talented young pianists, many of whom are armed with impressive technique and a commanding repertoire. For the pianists themselves, this poses a particular challenge. With a seemingly endless sup...
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Breakthroughs: The sweetest moments in teaching

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An Interview with William Westney I have recollections of a day, years ago, in graduate school. Like most days, I was frantically trying to get everything done, self-absorbed in my own personal cloud of pressures and deadlines. Practicing, papers, teaching - there was plenty to do. I may have had a vague notion that there was a guest presentin...
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How do you teach polyrhythms?

In my college years I encountered a recurring four-against-five pattern in a 20th-century piece, and my initial attempts to do it were not successful. My teacher recommended that I approximate the pattern ("fake it") while I learned the rest of the music. He also suggested that I first try tapping the polyrhythm away from the piano, which I did aft...
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Teaching artistic phrasing

from the series: Let's Get Physical: Technique Pete Jutras, EditorMy 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 combin...
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A student's view of the benefits of piano study

When a parent (or child) inevitably asks the questions "why piano lessons?", there are a variety of potential responses. From the purist music for music's sake perspective to the pragmatic and practical account of the many non-musical benefits of music study, there is much to discuss and debate. While my heart always yearns to show everyone th...
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Welcome to our new Jazz/Pop Department

by Pete Jutras, Editor-in-Chief If your students are anything like the ones I've had over the years, they love to play jazz and pop repertoire. As time marches forward, it is evident that the jazz and pop genres will stand as important musical contributions of the 20th century. With that in mind, we have decided to add a regular depa...
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What Do You Do To Promote Learning Outside of The Piano Lessons?

from the series: It's Never Too Late: Adult Piano Study Brenda Dillon, Editor The challenge for our youth-focused industry is to develop both products and programs designed to attract and serve a vastly underserved older market. Because space was available in the Autumn 2004 issue of Keyboard Companion, I was able to include my farewell commen...
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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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