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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Winning essay for 2008 Collegiate Writing Contest

In the Spring of 2008, Keyboard Companion sponsored its first annual Collegiate Writing Contest. College students at any level from any country in the world were invited to submit 1,500 word essays on a pedagogical topic of their choice, and grand prize was publication of the winning essay in Keyboard Companion. The esteemed panel of judges was com...
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What do Beethoven's piano sonatas reveal about his pianism?

from the series: Let's Get Physical: Technique  Scott McBride Smith, Editor  Hans von Bülow, the nineteenth-century pianist, conductor, and master class teacher won fame for his meticulous musicianship and formidable technique. His sarcastic bon mots to students were legendary. "You have but one qualification for playing th...
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Who was Albert Pieczonka?

from the series: ​Putting It All Together: Repertoire & Performance Nancy Bachus, Editor I do not remember when I first "discovered" the Tarantella in A Minor of Albert Pieczonka. I do know I have taught it many, many times, and always with great success. I measure "success" in different ways. One measure was that every student g...
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Gershwin's Blue Lullaby

from the series: It's Got That Swing: Jazz & Pop Tony Caramia, Editor George Gershwin's rhythms, wonderful melodies, and unmistakable American harmonies continue to fascinate listeners and performers. Porgy and Bess is a mainstay of opera companies around the world. In a recent search, YouTube offered more than 500 videos of Rhapsody ...
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What repertoire do you use when a student can play with only one hand, and how do you assign it?

from the series: Putting It All Together: Repertoire Marvin Blickenstaff, Editor All teachers become skilled in dealing with the unexpected. Most of us have had stud en ts enter the studio with an arm in a sling or cast, or fingers wrapped in heavy bandages. Our creative juices start to flow and we improvise lessons and assignments which bend ...
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How do you include music history in the study of repertoire?

from the series: Putting It All Together: Repertoire Marvin Blickenstaff, Editor My student and I are looking over an edited version of a Bach Two-Part Invention. "Is there anything here on the page that Bach did not write?" I ask. "What about the metronome marking, and the tempo marking? How about these slurs and the staccatos here in the sec...
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What are your all-time favorite pieces?

from the series: The Magic Triangle: Teacher/Student/Parent Barbara Kreader, Editor No matter what the music's style, familiarity breedsinterest.... Yet all music doesn't need to be familiarto hook a student's excitement. How many times did you teach "Für EIise" this year? Do you know every known arrangement of "T...
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What Practice Steps Would You Assign for the Burgmüller "Ballade" of Op. 100?

from the series: The Other Teacher: Home Practice Elvina Pearce, Editor The Burgmiiller "Ballade" of Op. 100 (see pages 18-19) is usually a favorite with all students who can play it well. In my studio, we frequently refer to it as the "Beauty and the Beast" piece, with the "misterioso" A sections (mm. 1-22 and 49 to the end) portray...
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A Fond Farewell (Für Elise)

Marvin Blickenstaff, Editor from the series: Putting It All Together: Repertoire  One of the favorite photos I have hanging in my study is a shot of the original staff of Keyboard Companion. Pictured there is founding editor Richard Chronister and his dear wife Marjore, Elvina Pearce, Brenda Dillon, Cathy Albergo and husband Frank, S...
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Helping at Home: A Parent's Point of View

How Do You Buy Supplemental Music For Your Child? Miami, Florida. Kristen Smith, nine, loves to visit music stores with her dad. Peter Smith, a choir member who plays piano by ear, peruses music for appropriate material and sings to Kristen as they shop. Then she decides whether or not to buy. Their collection includes hymns, Christmas mu...
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Is the Repertoire You Are Teaching in 1994-95 Different From the Repertoire You Taught in 1984-85?

Change is a highly volatile presence in our daily lives and in our profession. It is evident in our family structure and in all the institutions of our culture. There are significant changes in the way we shop, the foods we eat, the way we do business, and the way we communicate with each other. It is impossible to live in 1995 exactly as we did in...
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Carolyn W Marshall
I'm a new subscriber to The Piano Magazine, and I am enjoying some of the articles and videos on this site. Although I'm not a pi... Read More
Wednesday, 16 October 2019 05:11
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What Is Good Material to Use With Elementary Transfer Students Who Are Playing Music Far Too Difficult?

There are many reasons why students change teachers. In this mobile society, it is frequently because the student or teacher has moved to another loca tion. But changes can also occur for professional reasons- poor communication between the triangle of teacher/student/parent, lack of interest, a particular need that is not being fulfilled -&nb...
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How Do You Transfer Students' Understanding of Theory to Their Understanding of Repertoire?

​The color-coordinated, graphic designed, companionable theory books that are packaged with current method books are startling compared to the early workbooks and notespellers. There are many computer theory programs designed to accompany current method books or to be used as a separate course. Theory tests are now required for MTNA auditions and m...
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What Is Your Favorite Recital Repertoire for 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-Year Students?

from the series: Putting It All Together: Repertoire Recital--the very word sends a tremor of anxiety through any piano teacher. Some teachers cleverly disguise this event by giving it another name: Piano Party, Spring Keyboard Festival, or Music for a Sunday Afternoon. Whatever the title, repertoire must be chosen and students must be prepare...
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What is your favorite early-level and intermediate-level ensemble music and why?

Since a teacher plus a student equals a minimum of two, the learning process is an ensemble from the beginning. From the very first lessons, we eagerly introduce young students to the wonders of the keyboard by providing a rhythm and harmonic background to the fledgling one- or two-note "performer." To continue this engagement in making music ...
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How do you plan a student's repertoire for the coming school year?

Although few teachers of my acquaintance indulge in a languid state of inactivity during the summer, it is a time when we re-evaluate the progress of our students during the previous school year and determine what changes to make in the fall. September is the teacher's New Year with all the feelings of guilt and resolutions for change and, more imp...
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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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