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."

Read more: 3 Important Strategies for an Effective Piano Studio Website

Take the Solfege Plunge: How Moveable Do Solfege Transpositions Changed My Life


My decade long study of piano as a youth was not exactly swimming with solfege.  In fact, when it came to solfege, it was bone dry.  Other than seeing Julie Andrews sing “Do, a Deer” and having the occasional brush with solfege hand signs in my general music classes in elementary school, my solfege education didn’t really begin until my college theory classes.  In those classes, when I was formally introduced to solfege (the moveable Do variety) and was taught to use it in transposing simple melodies and harmonies, I was shocked by how it made music theory gel for me.  This revelation was truly enlightening – angel choirs singing, light bulbs illuminating, dark clouds parting – it was THAT transformative for me!

Solfege transpositions led me to a much better understanding of diatonic harmony, which improved my sight-reading dramatically as I started “seeing” the underlying harmonic structures in the music I was playing.   Solfege also improved my ability to “think within a key”, so I could improvise, arrange, and compose far more capably than before.  And solfege patterns were so ridiculously simple, that I wondered why I hadn’t been taught them when I was six years old.

Read more: Take the Solfege Plunge: How Moveable Do Solfege Transpositions Changed My Life

An Interview with American Pianists Association

Our May/June 2015 issue brought Clavier Companion readers an exclusive interview with award-winning pianist Sean Chen. Chen was named the 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow of the American Pianists Association (APA). As a Classical Fellow, Chen is supported in many ways by APA. The mission of the American Pianists Association is to discover, promote and advance the careers of young, American, world-class, jazz and classical pianists. We're happy to highlight the work of APA and share our conversation with APA President Joel Harrison. 


All of your fellows are excellent, but did you realize you had something special with Sean Chen when he was in the APA competition? How does APA continue to work with Sean Chen as his career moves forward?


I knew Sean a bit prior to his APA experience, so yes, I had some idea that he has some extraordinary qualities. Having heard him now in many different situations, from solo, to working with high school orchestras and students, masterclasses in varied settings, rehearsing and performing with excellent professional orchestras, and a variety of community outreach experiences, I have come to more fully realize how truly gifted he is. He handles every situation with ease and grace, and he never fails- no matter what!

Read more: An Interview with American Pianists Association

Celebrate Stravinsky’s Birthday – Win Piano Scores, plus SAVE 25% on ALL Books From Dover Publications!


Celebrate Igor Stravinsky’s 133rd Birthday, June 17th!


Dover Publications wants to help Clavier Companion readers celebrate the birthday and compositions of Igor Stravinsky. They are generously giving away piano scores of his two greatest works: one reader will win a copy of The Firebird For Solo Piano, and another will win a copy of The Rite Of Spring arranged for Piano Four Hands. To enter the drawing, use the Rafflecopter at the end of this post. Contest ends 6/22/2015. Check back on 6/22/15 to find out the winner(s), and see below to SAVE 25% on all books!


Firebird For Solo Piano

Composed in 1910, The Firebird was the first of many successful ballets that brought Igor Stravinsky international recognition. In collaboration with Sergei Diaghilev of the Ballets Russe, Stravinsky based his score on an old Russian fairytale. It tells a musical story of a prince's kindness to a captive bird, his encounter with a bevy of princesses trapped in an enchanted garden, and his battle against an army of monsters. "You don't even have to see the stage," explained Leonard Bernstein in his Young People's Concerts, "the music tells you everything. This music does honor to the art of ballet, and to music, and to Stravinsky himself, the greatest master our century has produced."

This edition is Stravinsky's own reduction for solo piano. Originally intended for Ballets Russe rehearsals, this arrangement has evolved into a popular and challenging part of the piano repertoire. It also offers an excellent way for listeners to follow this complex work and fully appreciate its brilliance.


The Rite Of Spring For Piano Four Hands

Composed for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, The Rite of Spring premiered in 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. Igor Stravinsky's harmonically adventurous score--along with a scenario of pagan sacrifice and Vaslav Nijinsky's unconventional choreography--excited both opposition and support, and the event’s climax in a near-riot remains among the most notorious premieres in music history.

Stravinsky created a version of the orchestral score for piano four hands, and it was in this form that the piece was first published in 1913; the full score was unavailable in print until 1921. World War I's disastrous effects permeated every aspect of European life, and there were few performances of the work in the years following its composition--which made this arrangement the primary introduction to the work. Scaled down for rehearsal purposes, this reduction provides a practical opportunity for two pianists to perform the complete work, or for listeners to delve inside the structure behind Stravinsky's landmark opus.


About Dover Publications

Dover Publications offers an incredibly diverse catalog of over 850 music books and scores, and many are the least expensive editions published today. These are the finest quality, most authoritative editions available for performers, music students, teachers, and scholars. Dover's piano scores include works by composers like George Frideric Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, Claude Debussy, Antonin Dvorák, Felix Mendelssohn, and many others. Works by more contemporary composers like Amy Beach, Frank Bridge, and Charles Ives are also represented. Dover also publishes a line of beginning piano books that feature simplified versions of important pieces by such major composers as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schumann, and others, many with free MP3 downloads for all of the compositions to facilitate learning.


Besides piano music, Dover also offers the following genres of books and scores, many printed with lay-flat bindings, making them perfect for both performance and study:

  • Orchestral & Concerto
  • Opera, Choral, Leider & Art Songs
  • Chamber
  • Organ
  • Miniature Scores
  • Books on Music: History, Theory, Technique, Biographies and more

In total, Dover publishes over 10,000 books and eBooks in many other fascinating categories, including Literature, History, Art, Nature, Children’s and much more, and as a special offer to Clavier Companion readers, now you can SAVE 25% on ALL of Dover’s books! Just go to www.DoverPublications.com/music and use code WWAN at checkout.

To enter the drawing for Stravinsky piano scores, use the Rafflecopter below. One reader will win a copy of The Firebird for Solo Piano, and another will win a copy of The Rite of Spring arranged for Piano Four Hands. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure Statement: This is an Ad Feature promotion by Dover Publications, a company that advertises in our magazine. Clavier Companion received no compensation for this blog feature.

8 Reasons to Attend NCKP 2015

NCKP2015 ThePianoMagBlog

ThePianoMag staff is eagerly looking forward to the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP) this summer. Brought to you by the Frances Clark Center, NCKP is a biennial meeting of keyboard music educators, researchers, and industry leaders representing all fifty states and over a dozen nations. Here are some of the top reasons you should join us!

8 Reasons to Attend NCKP 2015

1. Keyboard Lab sessions (NEW for 2015) – Directed by workshop leaders for participants to apply session content in a keyboard classroom setting with access to dozens of digital keyboards and headphones.

2. The Conference Hotel – The Frances Clark Center has secured the exact same reasonable hotel rates as we offered two years ago at NCKP 2013. Being a Westin hotel, the rooms and facilities are spacious and comfy.

3. Edwin E. Gordon – Music learning theory legend Edwin E. Gordon will deliver a keynote on Thursday morning that is sure to be inspiring and change the way you teach, regardless of how long you have been teaching.

4. The Concerts – Sean Chen and John Perry will both be giving full-length solo recitals at NCKP. You will not want to miss these, or the other concerts scheduled throughout the conference!

5. Seven Pre-Conference Tracks, more than ever before. Immerse yourself in one of these focused topics: The Creative Pianist, Technology, Independent Music Teachers, Wellness for the Pianist, Teaching Students with Special Needs, Students and Young Professionals, and Collegiate Pedagogy Teaching.

6. Chicago! If you haven’t been to the windy city, summer is a great time to be there. And Lombard is only a short drive away.

7. Exhibit hall and showcases:  Meet your favorite composers and get great deals from publishers on the latest releases.

And most importantly. . .

8. Face-to-face interaction with hundreds of pianists like you from all over the world. We are expecting over 700 in attendance at NCKP 2015! 


Will you be attending NCKP 2015 this summer? We hope to see you there! Post your comments or questions about the conference here for the NCKP staff.