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Method reviews return! A review of Piano Safari

Piano-Safari-cover
Method reviews return! In 2009, Clavier Companion began a series of reviews exploring all of the major piano methods published at that time. Two years later, the series concluded and we had covered twelve major methods! (You can access these articles collected into a special digital issue on the claviercompanion.com website.) Since then there have ...
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Powerful patterns

scale pattern
It always makes my day and warms my heart when my students "get it," when they experience an "ah-ha," when understanding dawns, when recognition lights up their eyes. It's the reason I still love teaching music after thirty years.  One of those moments occurred in a recent lesson when sisters Georgie and Carly were working on their duet, Falli...
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Beyond the Keyboard

Dr. Edwin Gordon was one of the most distinguished and influential music educators of the twentieth century. His work on the measurement of music performance, audiation, and Music Learning Theory had far-reaching implications for a wide variety of musical settings. In November of 2015, Dr. Gordon was named a Lowell Mason Fellow by the National Asso...
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Instant alto clef fluency

Reading alto clef can be a snap for pianists. In fact, if you can read the grand staff, you already have the skills necessary to read the alto clef fluently. The method to accomplish this is a simple one—it involves some imagery and an application of what you already know. Just envision the alto clef as the exact middle of a grand staff that has be...
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The role of rote teaching in the development of reading, technique, and artistry

Rote teaching is the systematic introduction of musical and artistic concepts that are best introduced by modeling rather than from the notated score. Music is an aural art and thus transcends notation. Rote teaching is not (a) training students to copy the teacher without any thought or understanding, or (b) the creation of students who will forev...
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Should students count aloud when sight-reading?

​Many piano teachers believe that it is imperative to teach students to count aloud when learning a new piece, and they certainly have support in many of the popular teaching methods. However, I have to ask: if counting aloud while playing is so important for developing good rhythm skills, how do trumpet and clarinet players learn to perform in rhy...
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How Do You Teach Students to Read Patterns Rather Than Note-By-Note?

The idea of reading patterns in music first became important to me when I began teaching young students how to read music. In my formative years I was raised on a note-by-note approach that began at Middle C. It worked for me... at least I thought it did. Today, even though I teach children to read by interval relation...
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Four teachers and Facebook: Ideas for improving sight-reading

E​arlier in the year, I established a private discussion group on Facebook with four teachers from around the country— Monica Allen, Laura Beau- champ-Williamson, Rebecca Pennington, and Scott Price. Our goal was to have some conversations about music reading which would lead to the sharing of ideas and resources. It is important to know that ...
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Music Reading

​Experience and research tells us that the more one reads a language the more fluency is gained. This is, of course, true of sight-reading as well. Making this happen with our students in an organized and motivating manner eludes many of us, myself included. This is why I was so intrigued when told of the exciting new sight-reading program implemen...
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Boiling it down: Recipes for effective teaching

When I think back on the great teachers I have encountered in my life, I find that they all had one thing in common—the ability to boil things down to their essence. These teachers' abilities to reveal the essence of the subject matter made my understanding possible. Perhaps it was an applied teacher communicating the essentials of tone production,...
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Questions & Answers

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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How do you help a college piano major with poor reading skills?

t first glance, the scope of this issue's topic may seem limited. The majority of readers are independent teachers working with students before they leave for college. The percentage of their students who major in piano is small. However, the following articles by Dr. Timothy Shafer and Dr. Sylvia Coats contain valuable information and insights for...
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How can colors be used to help students learn to read music?

​For centuries, music notation has been a "black and white" subject. To read this music, musicians have decoded black and white print and transferred it into colorful sound. Even when making notations in our printed music we have usually grabbed an ordinary pencil, thus adding a shade of gray to the page. When things get really bad we might actuall...
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How do you handle reversals in reading?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor When you stop and think about it, what we often ask a young student to do at their first lesson is completely unreasonable. They sit at a huge keyboard, barely able (if at all) to reach the far ends of it, still uncertain of which hand is right and which is left. They are told...
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What common pitfalls occur in the teaching of music reading?

from the series: ​Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor For this issue my colleague Bruce Berr and I wanted to share our thoughts on common pitfalls that occur in teaching music reading and in teaching rhythmic subdivisions. Having dealt with these issues in our own departments over the years, we decided to "switch departmental ha...
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How does 'experience before definition' apply to your teaching of reading concepts?

The natural order of learning 1 , as described by Piaget and specifically applied to music learning by Frances Clark 2 , begins with the child hearing, feeling, and seeing a concept before it is presented (i.e. sound-feel-sign-name). Experiencing a concept before learning its name and symbol, is meaningful learning . I like to think that teach...
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What Do You Do With Transfer Students Whose Reading Level is Far Below Their Performance Level?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor Before enrolling any student, I always conduct a pre-enrollment interview. I think that this first meeting is espe cially important if the student is a transfer student. When this is the case, over the years I have learned to require that: the student must play one or two prev...
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How do you teach reading in group lessons?

from the series: ​Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor Group lessons are able to facilitate the learning of music reading concepts in an efficient, effective manner. A recent Keyboard Companion readership survey showed that roughly  half of those responding utilize group instruction in some way - occasional group lessons, we...
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How is Teaching Adults to Read Music Different Than Teaching Children?

from the series: ​Independence Day: Music Reading Adult beginners seem to challenge everything we think we know about teaching. From the books used to the rate of skill development, adult learners are different from children. One thing we can do to understand our adult learners is to put ourselves in their position by becoming students ourselv...
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Independence Day: Music Reading

Richard Chronister is executive director ofThe National Conference on Piano Pedagogy, president and educational director of National Keyboard Arts Associates, and editor of Keyboard Companion magazine. He has been active in developing piano teaching materials and piano teacher training programs for more than thirty years. He is known thro...
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About The Piano Magazine

The 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 the Piano Magazine in 2019.

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