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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Charting the future course of music history

​Not long ago, a professor of piano pedagogy at a prestigious collegiate institution asked me to be a guest lecturer for a day. The topic was technology. The class was attended by a fine group of young pianists who were completing work on a graduate degree in piano performance.During the session, I got to know the students a little bit. I was inter...
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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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Your musical future: Hints from the 2012 NAMM show

​Virtually every industry has one or more trade associations that represent the industry as a whole. This is true for producers of car parts, toy manufacturers, medical suppliers, funeral homes, and so forth. Typically, these groups have trade shows that are open only to members and provide opportunities for suppliers to show their latest wares and...
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Virtual reality in the piano studio

If you are a Star Trek fan or at least have a passing familiarity with the television series, you may be aware that people still play music and attend concerts in the twenty-fourth century. Given the fact that computers do so much for human beings now and will do even more in the future, it is certainly comforting to know that our descendants will ...
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Social media, teacher directories, and websites: online marketing strategies for your piano studio

In the Spring of 2011, Clavier Companion sponsored its fourth 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. The grand prize was publication of the winning essay in Clavier Companion. The esteemed panel of judges was comp...
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How do you use mobile computing devices (such as smart phones, portable listening devices, and tablets) in your teaching?

​Just when we have reached the point where traditional, personal computers have become ubiquitous in the home, modern society has become inundated with new mobile computing devices. These mobile devices are basically computers disguised as cellphones, listening devices, and e-readers.As Apple's Steve Jobs has informed us, we can now carry the Inter...
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How do you use DVDs and YouTube videos of historical pianists in your teaching?

A few years ago I asked piano majors in a piano pedagogy class to name some twentieth-century pianists. Elton John and Liberace were mentioned, but few classical pianists were identified. I later did a presentation to the group on historical pianists, beginning with Ludwig van Beethoven, his student Carl Czerny, and his two nineteenth-cen...
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How do you use technology in live performances?

You cannot play the late piano works of Beethoven on an early Cristofori pianoforte because there aren't enough notes. You also cannot play the music of Chopin on a mid-eighteenth-century piano because it is too impractical to manipulate the dampers with a knee lever. Nor can you expect to play the works of Liszt, Rachmaninoff, or Prokofiev on...
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How do you use technology to facilitate long distance instruction?

How close to your student do you sit during a piano lesson? How close do you sit to your computer screen when using your computer?Imagine that you typically sit about two feet from your computer screen. Further imagine that when you sit at your computer you are talking to someone, face-to-face, on your computer screen, and the other perso...
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Publishing your movie: DVDs and Internet

In my first two articles you learned how to record and edit video. By this point in the series I hope you are excited about how easy and affordable it is to create movies of student recitals and lessons in your piano studio. So far, all the movies you created have remained "trapped" in your camera or your computer. In this article you will learn ho...
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How do you use recording technology in your studio?

Do you remember the glorious days of cassette tapes? For a substantial period of time - from the late 1960s to the end of the century - it seemed like everyone had one or more cassette players. Best of all, a teacher or student could purchase an inexpensive cassette player that also had a recording feature.For music teachers, cassettes marked the b...
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How do you build, organize, and manage your website?

from the series: ​Tomorrow Today: TechnologyGeorge Litterst, EditorA professional website is the essential doormat for the 21st-century piano studio. It is a location where prospective students can learn about you and what you offer, a tool for communicating with your students, and a venue for sharing your students' performances with the ...
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How do you use technology in your summer teaching?

from the series: ​Tomorrow Today: TechnologyGeorge Litterst, EditorSummer time is special. Family schedules lose the routine that is imposed by the school calendar, students float in and out of town, and everyone is in a different frame of mind. The circumstances that surround summer teaching challenge us to keep our students excited abou...
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How do you use technology in the study of advanced literature?

Working with advanced students is challenging for many reasons, not the least of which is the issue of time management. As the students become more advanced, they tend. outwork simultaneously on both longer pieces and a greater number of pieces. For this reason, lessons must take very efficient use of the available time. The last thing th...
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Three generations of teachers on teaching with technology

I still remember my first two piano students. The time was the early 1970s. I was a junior at Vassar College, and my piano tcacher thought that it would be a good idea for me to do some teaching. Accordingly, I ended up with a couple of students from the community. One was 7 and the other was 70. At that time, I had no formal trainin...
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What have you done to improve your personal technology skills?

Back in the early 1990s, I had the opportunity to assist a number of teachers as they made their first computer purchase. In each case, the teacher was taking a big step and spending a lot of money in the process.I can remember nearly every one of those teachers telling me that they wanted to choose their computer wisely, because it was the only on...
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How do you use multimedia in your concerts and student recitals?

​Multimedia is nothing more than the combination of two or more modalities of communication. Combine images with text, motion video with music, or ballet with sound effects, and you have created a multimedia piece.Unlike traditional recorded music, the live concert experience has always had a visual component to it. As members of the audience,...
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How did you get started with technology in your studio?

from the series: Tomorrow Today: TechnologyGeorge Litterst, EditorTeacher or technologist? Most teachers using technology are teachers and musicians first, and users of technology second. It can be both impressive and intimidating to observe a teacher who has used technology for many years. Some of these teachers may have one or more computers...
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How Do You Use Technology in Student Recitals and Competitions?

from the series: ​Tomorrow Today: Technology George Litterst, EditorLast January, I spent several days in the middle of the month listening to the screening auditions of the 2nd Internal Piano-e-Competition. The auditions were held at Sundin Hall at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. They were attended by a distinguished jury and mu...
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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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