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Hélène Grimaud: Reflections in the water

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The January 2016 release of Hélène Grimaud's recording Water (Deutsche Gramophone) was landmark in many ways, perhaps most significantly as a memento of a concert that took place in Wade Thompson Drill Hall of the Park Avenue Armory in New York in December 2014. tears become…streams become… was its name. Anthony Tommasini of The New York Time s cal...
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The art of practicing: Broad principles

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Have you ever thought that, from a young student's viewpoint, practicing is counterintuitive? Think about other skills you learned as a child: tying your shoes, for example. An adult shows you how to do it (I used the "Bunny Rabbit Ears" method with my nephews), you practice clumsily at first, then with increasing mastery, until finally there is no...
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Alan Fraser discusses piano technique

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It must have been something in the air, in the early years of the last century. From Australia to Israel, independent thinkers were looking for solutions to make living physically in the modern world easier. What does it take to live comfortably and pain-free? How can we function more efficiently— and effectively?  The theories of one of ...
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Bodywork for pianists

What is good piano technique? Is it the ability to play fast scales? loud chords? hard pieces, that go on for a long time? Yes. All of these things. But they are part of a bigger whole. It's healthy, efficient, and pain-free movement at the piano that enables you to express the music in all the ways you need. What if you are one of many pianists wh...
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Is Teaching Really That Different in Asia?

"East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet" may have held some truth in 1889, when Rudyard Kipling wrote the poem The Ballad of East and West, but the phrase has little relevance in 2012. World-wide communication, increased travel, and global industry have made our planet avery small place. So it's...
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Edna Golandsky on Taubman technique

​It wasn't so long ago that people aged 50 were considered elderly, and those 65 or more downright old. In 1940, you probably wouldn't have reached the latter milestone anyway, since the average life expectancy for men was 60.8. You lived, you worked, you had as much fun as you could—and you died. There wasn't a lot you could do about it. I remembe...
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An interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet

An interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet has had a home in the U.S. for many years, first in New York, and, since 1998, in Los Angeles. French in his accent and his Gallic enthusiasm, he is really a citizen—and a musician—of the world. His programs and recordings incorporate the big Romantic monuments of the piano literature, but also excursions into jaz...
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Adele Marcus: Master teacher

"They  don't make them like they used to," my grandmother often said, shaking her head. She was referring, of course, to some deed—or misdeed—of mine, compared to her own generation, who were much too busy and exhausted from getting up at dawn to plow the fields and walk barefoot to school to ever get into any kind of trouble. I listened silen...
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Donald Waxman: An American Classic

Are all piano composers dead?" my student asked. The question seemed a bit ironic since we had just finished working on a folk song that was arranged for the piano by me. Last time I checked,  I wasn't dead. But I understood what  she meant. It does sometimes seem that piano teachers spend an inordinate amount of time working on the music...
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Building a healthy technique: Ideas from Matthay

T he piano as we know it reached its full bloom in the late nineteenth century. Inventors have tinkered with the design in years since with varying degrees of success, but the acoustical grand piano we play today is largely the same piano on which the students of Liszt performed. Would it then be fair to say that piano technique, too, has not devel...
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What role does mental preparation play in piano technique?

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. Thomas J efferson , Third Pr esiden t of  th e United States Mental attitude, to use Jefferson's term, is crucial to learning the piano. I tell my students, if  you can h ear it, th en think it...
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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 playin...
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Is slow practice always the best way to develop technique?

from the series: Let's Get Physical: Technique Scott McBride Smith, Editor  I had the great good fortune to study, at intervals, with one of the grand ladies of American piano teaching, Adele Mar cus. She was quite a character, to say the least, and she put a strong emphasis on slow practice. I'm being tactful. It would be more accur...
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Shouldn't technical study be fun? Liszt, etude practice, and attention to detail...

It  rests in a corner of a neo-classical style building from the 1920s - a beautiful temple, faced with Indiana limestone. The central court in which it slumbers is full of beautiful things: several pieces of Chihuly art glass, mounted high on the wall; a seventeenth century Claude Lorrain portrait of a young boy; and a Fairfield Porter painti...
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How Do You Teach Weight-Transfer to Early-Level Students?

​from the series: Let's Get Physical: Technique Scott McBride Smith, Editor Who was it that said, "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach; those who can't teach, teach gym"? Not a piano teacher, obviously! And probably not a gym teacher, either. It's not necessary to be a world famous concert pianist to be a fine teacher, but it is essentia...
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Is there a way to make technical practice fun?

from the series: Let's Get Physical: Technique Scott McBride Smith, Editor A child need not be very clever To learn that, 'Later, dear', means 'Never'.  Ogden Nash, Grandpa is Ashamed He makes a good point, don't you think? Is there ever time for "fun" in a piano lesson, especially when it relates to technique? Fun is a charged word for p...
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How do you help students who say, "I know what I want, but my hands just won't do it!"?

​from the series: Let's Get Physical: Technique Scott McBride Smith, Editor Our hands are only a final link in a long chain of events that work together to produce the sounds we want. This might have been one of my shortest Keyboard Companion introductions ever. Yep. Three words. "Gimme a break!" You see, I seldom believe students when they assure ...
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How Do You Teach Good Tone to Early-Level Students?

from the series: ​Let's Get Physical: Technique I met an old friend while writing my article for this issue of K eyboa rd Com panion. It was great to renew communication after so many years apart - to hear his ideas and be reminded of his wisdom and his warmth. My friend? Robert Schumann. No, I'm not psychic. But I did feel close, again, to th...
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How is Rhythm Enhanced by Solid Technique Skills?

from the series: The Heart of the Matter: Rhythm Bruce Berr, editor The question this issue straddles two departments in the magazine, Rhythm and Technique. It was therefore a natural for the editors of these two departments - Scott McBride Smith and myself- to answer the question. The interplay between these two elements is a prac tical ...
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How Do You Motivate Your Students to Practice Technique?

I am often touched by the sincere desire of music teachers to improve themselves and the lives of their students. It's ironic that so many large international corporations have only recently discovered the virtues of continuous improvement (one of the buzzwords of business in the '90s), for indeed we music teachers have known its benefits all along...
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