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January/February 2019: Questions and Answers

Q: What professional development opportunities are available online? Are any of these offered by the Frances Clark Center? A: Your biggest challenge is not finding opportunities for professional development but selecting the opportunities that are  relevant and meaningful to you. All resources are not created equal and you should be as selecti...
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November/December 2018: Questions & Answers

Q: If travel costs prohibit me from attending valuable conferences such as NCKP, what are other ways I can pursue professional development? A: It is true that by the time you factor in airfare, lodging, meals, registration fees, and lost income, the cost of attending a major conference in person is substantial. Ir...
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September/October 2018: Questions & Answers

As students return to their studies this fall, we offer timeless advice from Frances Clark's book  Questions and Answers , the compilation of her original monthly column in Clavier. 1 Every fall I feel the need for a shot in the arm to get me motivated for the year's teaching. Do you have a list of incentives for better teaching that might hel...
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July/August 2018: Questions and Answers

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For this issue, Sam Holland invited Jennifer Snow, Executive Director of the Frances Clark Center, to answer the following questions:  What is the value of professional development for piano teachers? Why is it important? Central to inspired teaching is inspired learning. Engaged teachers are eternal learners searching for new strategies, idea...
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May/June 2018: Questions and Answers

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Q: Is it OK for a student to continue study if they don't practice? I have a student who reads well and enjoys her lessons, but honestly, each time I see her, our time is spent practicing.  A: As a rule of thumb, I believe that the more music and music-making in the world, the better. On that basis, even if this student makes music only once a...
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Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers
This is Part 2 of a response that began in the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of Clavier Companion.   Q. This is the time of year when high school students are considering college and preparing for auditions. As a music administrator, do you have any suggestions for me and/or my students that would help us make good decisions? ​ Make music alone and with ...
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Questions & Answers: November/December 2017

Q: This is the time of year when high school students are considering college and preparing for auditions. As a music administrator, do you have any suggestions for me and/or my students that would help us make good decisions? A (Part I): There are many ways to study music in college and many ways to prepare for a career in music. Learn about and c...
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Questions and Answers: September/October 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  (Part III): In the last issue, we explored an essay entitled "The Aims of Education" by English mathematician and...
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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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Questions and Answers: May/June 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 true and it's something about which I could write many articles or perhaps even a book someday. Frances was...
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Questions and Answers: March/April 2017

Q: I've heard that you use films as source material for pedagogy classes. Would you share an example and discuss how and why you do this? A: Great films capture human experience in a myriad of ways and can be very effective as teaching tools because they draw us into complex situations and provide an opportunity to grapple with problems, concepts, ...
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Questions and Answers

Q: The National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP) happens this summer. How is the program shaping up? Can you share some of the highlights? ​ A: I am delighted to talk about NCKP 2017 and shameless in my wish for every keyboard music educator in the world to join us! NCKP is the official professional meeting of the Frances Clark Center for Key...
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Questions and Answers

Q: Is piano study for everyone? Why or why not?  A: There's an answer to this question that I WISH were true. And there's another answer that probably IS true. WISH piano study was for everyone because I believe that everyone—at any age, with any level of ability, from any socio-economic or ethnic background—can benefit from piano study in mea...
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Questions and Answers

Q: Piano teachers have more resources available to them than ever before. With all of the blogs, list-serves, and social media available free of charge, and low-cost online conferences proliferating, why should I expend the time, energy, and money to attend a live conference such as the MTNA National Conference or the National Conference on Keyboar...
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Questions & Answers

Q. I understand that you believe in swinging, clapping, and tapping as methods for developing rhythmic security in young students. Please suggest the ways in which you use each modality in your own teaching. A. All three methods are invaluable ways in which to develop rhythmic security in young students. All are equally important, but each has its ...
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Questions & Answers

Question I took a two-semester course in piano pedagogy in college, and I am now teaching professionally. I do not feel that my preparation in lesson planning was adequate. Could you give me some help?  Answer Lesson planning is one of the most important teaching skills we have to learn, and if it was not covered sufficiently in your pedagogy ...
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Questions & Answers

Question  I have  been reading about the phases of learning: Prepara tion , Presentation, and Generalization. I believe I understand the concept, and am eager to try it in my teaching, but I'm not sure I understand how it works in a practical sense. Could you take one area of learning and outline a way in which I could use it in my teachi...
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Questions & Answers

Questions How do you begin teaching memory, and approximately when in a student's study do you begin?   Answer I like to begin memorizing within the first few weeks of study and continue it as a regular part of piano lessons from then on. Like every other discovery, memory should first be a secure and pleasant experience before it is given a n...
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Questions & Answers

Probably not all current subscribers can remember the original "Questions and Answers" column by Frances Clark, that ran in Clavier for 26 glorious years. It always appeared on the last page of the magazine and the editorial staff told us it was universally the favorite column in each issue. We heard, over and over, "I always turn to the back page ...
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