Preludes: Wonderfully frustrating

Herbert Chatzky, my beloved piano teacher from my teenage years, passed away at the age of 78. His pianism and musicianship were a huge inspiration for me. Herb studied with Irwin Freundlich at Juilliard in the 1950s. He received his B.S. in Piano in 1957 and his M.S. in Piano in 1958, winning the concerto competition that year. His time at Juillia...
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Music lessons are life lessons

Have you ever been in a room full of people or at a table with friends where no one was talking with each other because everyone was texting? Although "texting" is a relatively new verb in our language, I imagine that most people, in our Age of Cell Phone, would understand its current definition.While texting potentially makes communication in...
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Student wants and needs

During the late 1990s, I taught piano privately in New York City to supplement my income while working on my doctorate. From time to time, the phone would ring, and I would find myself talking to prospective students. I soon learned that I did not need to feel very anxious about it, because only one thing mattered to them, and I could deliver....
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Size is key

We expect so much in our lives to be tailor made to fit our individual sizes and needs.This morning, we got up, put on well-fitting clothes and shoes, and popped on our prescription glasses or contacts. We got into our cars and adjusted our seats, steering wheels, rear view mirrors, and seat belts. If you golf, you are fitted with pr...
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Music and the Brain 101

For many musicians, recurring performance anxiety can erode self-confidence, cause less than optimal performances, and ultimately have a damaging impact on one's career. Although we experience performance anxiety for a number of reasons, the fear that often looms the largest is that of having a memory failure. Neuroscientists have made significant ...
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What happens in Vegas should NOT stay in Vegas!

Las Vegas sign
I am writing this just after returning from Las Vegas, where I attended some wonderful programs at the 2015 Music Teachers National Association Conference. I also presented sessions as part of a Pedagogy Saturday track that explored the psychological and physical health of musicians. Las Vegas is a city of sights, sounds, foods, and a twe...
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Variations

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 am not a stickle...
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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 am ...
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Creating cherpumple

You may wonder what baking a cake and giving a performance could possibly have in common, and I have to admit that I never thought about it until the other day. There is something helpful to be learned about yourself in everything you do. Recently I read an article about a remarkable dessert called the "Cherpumple." You can learn more about th...
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Do perfect performances exist?

Do you remember how old you were when you started playing the piano?How old were you when started lessons; when you played in your first recital? I recall picking out tunes on the piano when I was four years old. My first piano was a little white toy with twenty-four keys. By the time I was five, my mother had bought me a large upright piano, and I...
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Variations: Take the leap

Do you remember your first piano student? I certainly do. His name was Steve Glickman, and I was his fifth piano teacher in four years. It was 1974. I had just completed my Master's degree in Piano Performance at Northwestern. True, I had studied Piano Pedagogy with the legendary Fran Larimer, and had already taught several students as part of her ...
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The positive pianist: How flow brings passion to practice and performance

We have all experienced times when, instead of being buffeted by anonymous forces, we do feel in control of our actions, masters of our own fate. On the rare occasions that it happens, we feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment that is long cherished and that becomes a landmark in memory for what life should be like.*​Mihaly Csiksze...
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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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Children Get Hurt, Too!

In the last twenty-five years a great deal of much needed attention has been given to musicians' injuries. It seems, however, that an overwhelming majority of the conference sessions and articles on this topic only address the potential injuries of advanced pianists—either at the collegiate or artist levels. In th...
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An ethical dilemma

​Most of us have, at some point in our lives, been urged to be the best that we can be—to work the hardest, study the longest, practice the most. But what if you hear that the person against whom you are competing for a job or important gig is taking enhancement drugs that allow them to need less sleep, stay more focused, and become mentally sharpe...
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The trapeziectomy diaries: Part two

The trapeziometacarpal joint, also called the "trapezium," is at the base of the thumb. Osteoarthritis, a well-known condition suffered by many adults, affects the trapezium in some people. Sufferers experience pain, stiffness, and weakness in the thumb joint. This is particularly troublesome when the sufferer is a pianist. Luckily, there are ...
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The trapeziectomy diaries: Recovering from arthritis

Jill Dew is one of my favorite people. You can't help but love her charisma and her enthusiasm. She is a superb singer and vocal coach who loves her students. She also loves playing the piano, sometimes in tearful wonder of the instrument and her accomplishments. Then she was robbed. Robbed by the effects of arthritis.Jill is not naive—arthritis is...
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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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Medical issues facing adult students

"Growing old is not for the weak in spirit." Although I've heard this adage countless times, I finally know what it means. For me, 2010 ushered in a series of medical mishaps, medications, and miracles. I'm now a cancer survivor, yet I feel that surviving the myriad of prescriptions is another story.I always knew I would grow older, but I neve...
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Partners in Time: You and Your Piano

Madeleine Crouch has been in love with the piano since a piano teacher moved next door when she was eight years old. Music continues to be a part of her professional life. She has taught piano, worked as a music retailer, and is now an administrator for the National Piano Foundation. She also operates her own company, Word's Worth Communicatio...
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About Piano Magazine

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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