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Questions and Answers: July/August 2017

QUESTION : I've read that Frances Clark often used classics, literature, and social sciences that don't seem related to piano teaching in her pedagogy classes. Would you comment on this and, if possible, give some examples?   ANSWER : This is the second response of what could be dozens of answers to this wonderful question. In the last issue, ...
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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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Q: Would you please discuss the role of technology in piano teaching? How big a role do you think technology should play in weekly lessons? A:  ​We should revisit this question often, since technology changes so fast. And, for one who has built much of his career on efficacious application of technology in music teaching, what I'm about t...
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​Q:  Recently I've noticed that creativity as a theme for conferences and workshops seems to be coming up more and more. What are your thoughts on creativity in piano lessons for the average student? A: I'm glad you asked because I'm on a mis-sion. First, I believe (no, I know ) that all children are naturally creative—until we teach it out of...
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In lieu of questions in this issue, the author will share recollections of Louise Goss, visionary teacher, author, composer, editor, and friend who passed away this Spring. If you're lucky in life, you may encounter a teacher who changes everything. Louise was one of those teachers for me. The most powerful teaching doesn't go on in the classr...
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Q: How can I learn to use social media to improve and expand my studio business? A: In the last column, I mentioned that if you're not contemplating retirement in the near future, you need an online presence that includes a website, a professional Facebook page, a LinkedIn account, and a Twitter account (at least).  At the Frances Clark Center...
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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: Intera...
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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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Q. This year I have put all of my private students into repertoire classes. I am surprised and delighted with the students' response and with the difference the classes seem to be making in the students' enjoyment and motivation. However, I have not yet succeeded in helping my students make worthwhile criticisms or valid suggestions about one anoth...
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Q. I think I had a pretty good college pedagogy class, but I am still unsure about what to include in my student's lesson assignments. Could you offer some guidance on this subject? A. Planning the student's lesson assignment is one of the piano teacher's most important responsibilities. A carefully thought-out and well-balanced assignment takes mu...
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Q: I currently have a new beginner who appears to have perfect pitch. While she has her back turned to the piano, I can play any pitch and she can repeat it exactly, without yet knowing key names. In addition, she can play any simple early-elementary piece by ear after one hearing, without any reference to reading. How can I help her overcome ...
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Preparing for Liszt  The Questions & Answers column of Clavier Companion typically deals with issues related to elementary and intermediate level piano instruction. This issue of our magazine is devoted to a celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Franz Liszt. Most of Liszt's compositions are so demanding, both in their musical cha...
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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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