Creative Piano Skills, by Gayle Dunsmoor

author of Melody Adventures (MA); Keyboard Accompaniment (KA) Series

During by 40 years of active piano teaching, I have continually searched for material to encourage students with the development of their ‘creative piano skills’. Although I found a plethora of material for teaching sight-reading and technical skills step-by-step, books to progressively encourage creative skills from the beginning to an advanced level were, to my knowledge, non-existent. I found this surprising, but I was determined to cover all the basses in my piano teaching. I wrote my first book and called it “Harmonization”. Looking back some 30 years - that book was not very good! It was tucked away! However, new inspiration came when I suggested, a few years later, that my daughter look at what I had done and asked her to apply a C or G chord accompaniment to a basic C major melody.  It was unfamiliar territory and she would not try. Unbelievable! My daughter was 13 years old with perfect pitch and a full wall of music awards from music festivals and examinations. She was about to try for the performance diploma (ARCT) with the Royal Conservatory of Music. How could a fully trained performer be unable to play two chords to a basic melody? That is the question...

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What is your favorite app?

by Leila Viss

While preparing an article for my column "Teaching with Apps" in Clavier Companion, I got stuck. My objective was to name the top five apps I'd recommend for first-time iPad owners. There were just too many favorites and the fifth one was not "rising to the top" as expected. So, I decided to gather the opinions of other teachers to help determine the fifth app to appear on the short list. To do this, I posted the following question in the iPad Piano Teachers Facebook Group administered by Linda Christensen.

If you had to recommend five apps for teaching piano, what would they be? Don't think about it too long, just go. 

Around 35 teachers replied to the post and their "votes" were tallied. The five apps teachers listed the most frequently are featured first. Next, I include the four apps I selected for the Clavier Companion article. The names of additional apps suggested by fellow teachers follow in alphabetical order.

As a new iPad owner and piano teacher I hope you find this list helpful as you integrate the iPad into your instruction. For veteran iPad piano teachers, you may find the list enlightening and discover new apps to add to your already-crowded mobile device.

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Win a Copy of the Mariinsky Label's Latest CD Release! Music by Rachmaninov, Stravinsky and Shchedrin with Denis Matsuev as Soloist.


The Mariinsky Label is generously giving away five copies of their latest release to Clavier Companion readers! This CD features Russian works for piano and orchestra including Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 1, Stravinsky Capriccio, and Shchedrin Piano Concerto No 2. Acclaimed Russian pianist Denis Matsuev performs as soloist, conducted by Valery Gergiev with the Mariinsky Orchestra.

Clavier Companion readers have the chance to win this CD before its September 11 release date! Use the Rafflecopter below to enter the drawing. The winners will be announced on September 2nd. This CD is available for purchase from the Mariinsky website and also on iTunes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What Are We Learning in Piano Study?


Clavier Companion invites you to use this infographic in your studio and share with others! 

3 Important Strategies for an Effective Piano Studio Website


The Internet is funny. In some ways, browsing the web is almost the opposite of studying the piano. Learning how to play the piano trains attention, whereas browsing the web fractures it. In fact, it's been said that the average website visitor decides within seven seconds whether to keep reading. The question that every visitor is asking during those seven seconds, even if they don't know it, is "Am I in the right place? "

All your website really needs to do is answer this question in the affirmative for as many visitors as possible, and then give them an easy way to take action. Here are three important strategies for doing just that. You can learn many more by reading my series, Piano Studio Website Strategies.

#1: Use Second Person

Prospective piano students and parents read your website with their own needs in mind. Believe it or not, you and your accomplishments are probably not the most important thing to them. On the home page especially, avoid being the ego-centered musician who proudly trumpets your successes (save this for your "About" page). Instead, focus on the reader's interests by making liberal use of the words "you" and "your."

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