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Preparing Students for Peak Performance Through Centering Practice

Healthy Playing, Healthy Teaching , Vanessa Cornett, Editor Many teachers are unsure of the best way to respond when a student first utters the words, "I feel nervous!" Young students experiencing anxiety for the first time may mistakenly feel that their symptoms should be eliminated entirely. Yet, in order to perform ...
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Adults on the Move with Dalcroze!

Say the word "Eurhythmics" to a group of age-forty-plus adults and they would likely define it as a pop music group from the 1980s. College students might even give the same response. The same word given to a group of music educators would likely be defined as movement-based music instruction, primarily ...
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More Than Notes: Teaching Musicality Through Movement

What is musicality? Who has it and can it be taught? According to noted music educator and researcher Edwin Gordon, "Everyone has some level of music aptitude, is musical, and can learn to listen to and perform music with some degree of success." 1  However, most people do not reach their full musical po...
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Purple Days

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Yesterday, Andrew came into his lesson scowling. He stomped her to the piano bench, sat down, and crossed his arms in front of his chest, still scowling. I  first met five-year-old Andrew when he was a baby, sitting on his dad's lap during his older brother's piano lessons. During all of his eight months of piano lessons, I have never seen him...
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My hardest lesson ever

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"Ah, music," he said,  wiping his eyes.  "A magic beyond all  we do here!" by  — J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone We music teachers teach with our hearts as well as our hands. Our students come away from their lessons with more than just instruction, and we welcome them gladly into our studios and our affection...
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A legacy of excellence: An interview with John and Nancy Weems

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Through their teaching, John and Nancy Weems have instilled in their students a love for music and a commitment to artistic pianism. In addition to a long-standing record of top awards in local, district, and state Texas Music Teachers Association competitions, John has taught winners of the National MTNA Baldwin Junior Achievement Award, the Natio...
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Piano Method Review: Tales of a Musical Journey

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Tales of a Musical Journey, by Irina Gorin with assistance from Olga Lukantsov, is presented in the form of two chapter books for young children ages four to seven. Author Irina Gorin writes, "Books 1 and 2 cover the span of the first year of study and will sufficiently prepare the students for classical repertoire." 1 The characters in this f...
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Coping with cross-rhythms

One of the most frequent problems I have encountered with students in my teaching, examining, and adjudicating is their approach to cross-rhythms. Yet, a lack of confidence—even fear—can easily be overcome by informed analysis and practical application. I therefore encourage students to accompany me through the following stages. My examples come ex...
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The teaching of Enrique Granados

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In addition to being a great composer, Enrique Granados was also a dedicated and innovative teacher whose pedagogical approach has been explored only recently. Many of his ideas were not published during his lifetime, but rather entered into his diaries, passed on to his pupils verbally, and annotated on scores. Many of his pedagogical works were, ...
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Method reviews return! A review of Piano Safari

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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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I failed to plan

I try not to use clichés in this column, but lately I've been reminded of the ubiquitous quote, "Failing to plan is planning to fail." As commonplace as this saying is, it holds great truth. Some say this proverb dates back to Benjamin Franklin, though it is likely a paraphrase of his—Franklin used the word "prepare" in place of "plan." Over the la...
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Beyond the Notes: An interview with Elvina Pearce

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Elvina Pearce studied piano with Isabelle Vengerova and pedagogy with Frances Clark. For more than six decades, she has presented recitals, workshops, and master classes in more than forty states as well as in Canada, the Republic of China, and Australia. Highlights of her pianistic career include recitals in Taipei, Taiwan, and Perth, Australia, a...
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Developing sound expectations: Does the sound match the picture?

How do we develop a student's sense of musical awareness in performance? So often the wonderfully phrased and dynamically diverse musical performance in a lesson becomes a lifeless memory of its former glory when presented in public. How do we help our students develop the ability to maintain this musicality when performing for their families and f...
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Recent comment in this post
Amy Glennon
Wonderful article!
Wednesday, 29 August 2018 12:52
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Teach like TED

Since its beginnings in 1984, TED Talks have spread to every corner of the world. The acronym TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design . This workshop is modeled on the popular book Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo. Gallo divides his book into three main parts: Emotional, Novel, and Memorable, each with three sub-headings. I use his headi...
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The value of music

Piano teachers have great jobs, and I think most of us are thankful that we get to spend our days sharing something we love with our students. It is immensely gratifying to see our students grow as musicians and watch music become an important part of their lives. At times, however, it seems like the rest of the world doesn't see music study in the...
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How do you know when a student is ready to perform a piece?

​​​One of my studio recitals just ended. As I write this, I am  eating a leftover brownie and may snarf down a couple  more. Would wine be better? Probably, but it is only four in the afternoon. The recital went well. For one thing, everyone showed up. This doesn't always happen. For another, no one was wearing a sports uniform. While I a...
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Teaching Tips from Louise Goss

Teaching Tips from Louise Goss
Louise Goss was a superb clinician and speaker. She had great clarity in her thinking about musical learning and an extraordinary vocabulary, but the quality that stood out above all else was her immense practicality. Most of these quotes are excerpts from transcripts of her public lectures delivered to groups of piano teachers.  I often wish ...
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Gretchaninoff's musical gems

My teacher Eugene List once commented, "The piano literature is so vast, that at any level pianists can find beautiful music they are able to play." As a teacher, it is so easy to teach the same pieces over and over and not explore what is available today. Yeeseon Kwon has extensively studied the music of the Russian composer Alexander Gretchaninof...
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Teaching Music in a Virtual World

​On this overly-warm Autumn afternoon, I am attempting to teach a Net-Gener 1  how to play Bill Boyd's "Swing-a-Ling." How do I know eight-year-old Panagiotis is a Net-Gener? Because he stuffs his iPod and earbuds into his pocket, carefully places his iPhone on the music rack, and begins to fidget the minute I put the music in front ...
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Chopin's teaching

We all know Chopin's piano literature-almost every serious piano student plays (or aspires to play) his works. But what do we know about Chopin's teaching? After  all, teaching was an important part of his life and provided his main source of income . 1 What can we take from Chopin's teaching in the 1800s and apply to our own professional mode...
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