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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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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Music enhances our quality of life

I doubt that any musician (and many non-musicians) reading this article would argue that the survival of music and art is critical to our nation's well-being. The final words in the previous sentence are the title of an article I wrote in 2008 and just rediscovered when going through some files in my office.1  In writing an opinion p...
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Immersion

My bookbag struck the floor with a thud as I closed the door to my house. I made my way over to the piano and slumped down on the piano bench. Another exhausting day of tests had drained my energy, yet again. Practicing piano would be strenuously difficult for me, if not impossible. After running through my scales, I sighed and opened up a pie...
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Recent Research: January/February 2017

So happy together. An upcoming study in the Journal of Organizational Behavior finds that employees showed higher degrees of cooperation and lower degrees of self-interest when listening to happy music. Study participants took part in a public goods game that involved choices that were either self- or team-oriented. Different groups listened t...
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On the Value of Art Music Today

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As a promoter of the arts and arts education, in Alberta, Canada (as founder and director of Alberta Pianofest, a summer festival of concerts and piano master classes), I often have occasion to speak before audiences of music-lovers, arts patrons, and potential supporters. These audiences are sympathetic to the cause, and they understand at th...
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Questions and Answers

Q: If a family with an active child is trying to decide among competing, high-quality extracurricular activities such as martial arts, dance lessons, guitar lessons, art classes, horseback riding, or piano lessons, what would be your arguments in favor of piano lessons? A: Let's face it. Today's young people (at least in middle-class America) ...
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Why do you play the piano?

For years, I have written about and counseled many people regarding their performance anxiety. I have lectured on the topics of symptoms and symptom reduction, as well as deeper psychological issues that fuel stage fright. I have heard numerous comments about "wanting to play perfectly," "wanting the audience to like me," and "not letting...
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The many faces of music: Pre-conference keynote address, NCKP 2015

As past president of the Board of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, let me offer each of you a warm welcome to this 2015 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. It is our hope that you will find each session on the program inspirational, challenging, and packed with practical information for use in your teaching.  And now, let ...
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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 power of one--a legacy of beautiful music

Back in the 1930s a young Venezuelan pianist wished to further her musical studies, and did exactly what many aspiring musicians from North and South America chose to do in those days: she went to Europe to study. After completing her studies in Paris, she made two life-altering decisions: she returned home to Venezuela, and she became a nun. Siste...
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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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Questions and Answers

Q: What does the Teaching Artist movement have to do with me as an independent piano teacher? A: In the last column (November/December 2013), I responded to a question about Teaching Artists. We discussed the underlying value of "engagement before information" and briefly examined two types of activities pioneered by Teaching Artists: Interact...
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Questions and Answers

Q: Recently I've seen the term "Teaching Artist" appear in stories on education and the arts in my hometown newspaper. What is a Teaching Artist? Is a Teaching Artist different from an Artist Teacher? And should I, as an independent piano teacher, learn more about "teaching artistry?"  A: I'm delighted to see the term "Teaching Artist" get att...
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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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