Richard Wagner at the piano

Richard Wagner at the piano
Wagner was the ultimate drama king and a lightning rod for controversy, yet he remains one of the most fascinating and uncompromising figures in the arts. Richard Wagner's 200th birthday is being celebrated this year at major opera houses including the Metropolitan Oper...
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Solfeggio in C minor (Wq. 117/2, H. 220), by Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach

First, what are we to call the composer of this well-loved piece? Sometimes his first name is given as "Carl," sometimes as "Karl," and thus his initials are sometimes "C.P.E." and sometimes "K.P.E." He spelled his name "Carl," so only misguided chauvinism can account for some German sources giving the more Teutonic "Karl." In fact, however, he ans...
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A Show-Stopper from Norman Dello Joio

Norman Dello Joio's Simple Sketches (Edward B.Marks/Hal Leonard) provides a rewarding musical and technical challenge for the late-intermediate student. The collection contains three fairly short pieces, the first of which, Allegretto, is my favorite to teach. For some students, the quirky tonality—a trademark of Dello...
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9000 teaching pieces on YouTube: The University of Iowa Piano Pedagogy Project

​ This century's technology provides many tools for keyboard teachers, students, and parents. Internet MIDI, Skype, blogs, YouTube, and many other innovations bring new ways of learning music at the keyboard. The University of Iowa Piano Pedagogy Project on YouTube is an ambitious undertaking Dr. Alan Huckleberry and Dr. Jason Sifford initiated in ...
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A trip down memory lane: An unmarked, homemade tape recording leads to a reassessment of salon music and what constitutes musicality

It started out as a "name that tune" exercise. In January 2010, my husband and I flew to New York to attend the annual Chamber Music America conference. During our visit, we had brunch with my brother Marc, a rock guitarist. In the course of our conversation, he asked a favor. His friend Dan Francazio, another rock musician, had a sister who died b...
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Marko Tajčević's Songs from Mur Island

Piano teachers are always looking for fresh music for their students to make lessons and recitals more interesting. One collection that could be a welcome addition to the teaching repertoire is Songs from Mur Island by Marko Tajčević. This collection, largely unknown in the U.S., is an attractive set of pieces useful for developing musicianship and...
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An aural journey through "Spring is Here"

I recently performed a concert celebrating the arrival of spring with a program featuring songs with the word "Spring" in the title. It Might As Well Be Spring, Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most, You Must Believe in Spring, and Joy Spring proved to be fun to play and provided me with many harmonic and rhythmic opportunities. Of ...
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A master class on three favorite Beethoven sonata movements

The thirty-two sonatas of Beethoven are often cited as the pianists' New Testament, with Johann Sebastian Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier being the Old Testament. These treasured works are a staple in piano teaching studios throughout the world, and are also required repertoire in the most demanding international piano competitions. A sonata or fugue ...
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Opus 111: A revelation

No one questions that Beethoven's controversial choices in his work are appreciated as groundbreaking. But nearly anyone would question a choice made by a young pianist to deviate from instructions printed in Urtext scores. As a young student, celebrated pianist and best-selling author Seymour Bernstein made that conscious choice in a passage of Be...
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The enchanted world of fairy tales

The enchanted world of fairy tales
Throughout their long history, fairy tales have fascinated people the world over. Their multi-generational appeal contradicts the notion that they are solely for children. Composers have been inspired by fairy tales to write music in various genres, including a wealth of piano pieces at varying levels of difficulty. Studying such pieces can bring m...
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Marga Richter's Character Sketches for piano

Marga Richter's Character Sketches for piano
Easy-to-intermediate level twentieth-century teaching works Marga Richter has said she might be characterized as the ultimate "accidental" composer (no pun intended), although, in her own words, some of her music is exceedingly, even obsessively chromatic. Richter was born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, into a musical family. Her mother, Inez Chandl...
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Music for one hand

When I was in eighth grade, I fell while roller-skating and broke my right arm just above the wrist. I assumed that piano lessons would be on hold for at least six weeks as it healed, but instead, my teacher assigned me a piece for left hand alone called "Andante Finale" from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Theodore Leschetizky. I loved the challe...
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Introducing students to the music of Schumann

Because of the textural, technical, and interpretive demands of music from the Romantic era, students usually do not encounter it until their early intermediate years. Most likely some of the first Romantic compositions a student will study will be by Robert Schumann, whose bicentennial is being celebrated this year. In this issue Sharon Stosur, El...
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The Pedal Piano and the Schumanns

In 1845, Robert Schumann wrote what are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful and enduring pieces of music for the pedal piano, his Six Etudes in Canon Form, Op. 56; Four Sketches, Op. 58; and Six Fugues on the Name B-A-C-H, Op. 60 (for organ or pedal piano). Schumann was an enthusiastic student of counterpoint, and his interest in the pedal piano...
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Which Chopin?

There have been numerous collected editions of Chopin's music since his death, and few of them agree on anything. Why is this? The answer lies principally in the complexity of the source tradition, and I include under that heading both manuscript and early printed sources. It may be helpful to attempt a rough classification of these sources. Sketch...
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Robert Schumann and the art of musical composition

Following hard on the heels of the Mendelssohn bicentenary, 2010 marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Schumann (1810-1856), a composer who will surely garner his full share of symposia, concerts, and special events reassessing his place in the European canon. To a large extent, Schumann has fared better in music histories...
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I've got a classic case of the blues

The sounds of jazz have always fascinated classical musicians. In the earliest years of the twentieth century composers such as Debussy, Hindemith, Milhaud, and Stravinsky were all drawn to the infectious rhythms of Ragtime.' As jazz harmonies and forms became more sophisticated, classical composers incorporated more diverse jazzy elements int...
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How do you teach the rhythm challenges in Debussy's Clair de lune?

In this department over the past thirteen years, many authors and myself have alluded to two different meanings of the term "rhythm." Prosaic rhythm (also called counting rhythm) is the mere timing of events decoded from the printed page using counting or other methods. Poetic rhythm is much broader, encompassing virtually everything...
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Ciaran Norton
Please teach me to profess the challenges and all difficulties of the field. The probe is stuffed for the movement of the essayont... Read More
Monday, 22 June 2020 02:01
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What do you consider when planning and choosing repertoire for students?

Marvin Blickenstaff has stated that the " hook" for students to continue their piano studies is to assign challenging and motivating repertoire they want to play. That is always in my mind when I select literature. My students play music from all four style periods, as well as a concerto each year. During the Christmas season, most of them pla...
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Eugénie Rocherolle - An American Treasure

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"One of the fundamental problems," says Eugenie Rocherolle, "is the fact that music in America is viewed merely as an extracurricular activity. We teachers need to reframe it in the public mind as a noble subject which develops character and skill through self-discipline and artistic relations with other people." A composer since childhood, Eugenie...
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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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