Announcing our photo contest winner!

The votes are in! We were delighted to hear from so many of you about our photo contest. Anthony Tobin’s lego photo received the most votes from our followers. Congratulations, Anthony! We hope you enjoy your $100 gift certificate to! Special thanks to Frank Baxter at for donating this prize.


A shout-out from ThePianoMag to everyone who submitted photos or voted! What kind of piano-themed contest would you like to see next? Let us know, and we’ll do our best to make it happen!


Announcing Our Photo Contest Semifinalists

Our summer photo contest has been a great success, and we have really enjoyed seeing all of the creative photos our readers submitted! We have narrowed down the submissions to four semifinalists, and we need your help to decide the Winner. 



Let us know your favorite in the comments section below this post or on our Facebook page by Monday, July 28 at 11:59EDT. The Winner receives a $100 gift certificate to, generously donated by Frank Baxter at

Read more: Announcing Our Photo Contest Semifinalists

Making Music With Your Brain in Mind

Everyone is fascinated with the brain, the three-pound mass of tissue that sits atop our spinal cord and has everything to do with who we are and how we function – and how we play the piano.  It’s rare to open a newspaper or magazine, surf the web, or check the TV listings for a week, without finding an article, video, documentary, or episode of a TV show that concerns some recent discovery about the brain.

While a lot of this interest in the brain appears to be recent, it may surprise you to learn that neuroscientists have been studying musicians and the process of making music for the past 25 – 30 years, and they have uncovered a great deal of interesting information.  So what makes musicians so interesting to study? 

First of all, musician’s brains are different.  Long-term practice of an instrument causes both functional and structural changes in the brain and scientists can learn about plasticity or how the brain changes by studying us.  Second, since mastering an instrument requires very sophisticated skills, including coordination of auditory, visual, and motor information, scientists can learn about what they call “multimodal processing” in the brain, processing which is very complex.  

And, in fact, most neuroscientists say that making music is one of the most, if not the most complex activity that a human engages in.   So they have been studying us for some time and gathering a great deal of information that musicians could use – if we knew about it. 

Read more: Making Music With Your Brain in Mind

Wanted: Creative Piano Photos

Enjoy some summer silliness with Clavier Companion’s photo contest, and you could win $100 to! This photo from reader Becky Yeung, entitled Bunny Rhapsody for Four Hands, Opus 6, No. 15, was too cute not to share and inspired us to get in the spirit of piano humor.

We’d love to see fun, festive photos of your piano! Get creative with stuffed animals, action figures, or other decorations at your piano, then share your photos on our Facebook page or by email to enter our contest. One winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to, generously donated by Frank Baxter at Piano World.


How to Enter:

1. Decorate your piano and snap some photographs. Multiple entries welcome!

2. Post your photo(s) to Clavier Companion’s Facebook page by July 18, 2014, 11:59PM EDT. Make sure to tag Clavier Companion and Frank Baxter at Piano World.

3. Not Facebook friendly? Email your photo entries to us instead at

3. Check back on ThePianoMag blog after July 18 to see the finalists! Readers will vote on a winner.


Contest Rules:

Photos cannot include people or pets. Any content deemed inappropriate by Clavier Companion will be deleted. By submitting photos, readers agree to the images’ use on Clavier Companion’s website and social media. This contest is not affiliated with or sponsored by Facebook.


Reader Discussion: Do your students have what it takes for a successful career in music? If not, do you tell them?

In the July/August 2014 issue of Clavier Companion, Robert Weirich devoted his "Winds of Change" article to a hot topic in university teaching: Should your students really be pursuing an advanced piano performance degree? And if not, should you tell them?

Weirich wrote, "Do I tell them they are too far behind in their pianistic development for success as a professional performer, or do I continue to teach them with discouraging results for all? Is this a question of standards? Are music schools dumbing down their graduate degrees in the name of enrollment, or does everyone, even pianists who can't get through a Bach invention, deserve the chance to study and be rewarded with a diploma that in the past has credentialed them as musically educated and accomplished?"

We want to hear your thoughts on this crucial subject in our field. Use the comment section below to join the discussion.