Barbara Kreader (Skalinder) has taught in her independent studio in Evanston, IL, since 1974. One of the coauthors of The Hal Leonard Student Piano Library, she has given workshops in more than 200 cities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Asia. Formerly the editor of Clavier magazine, she received her M.M. degree...

Barbara Kreader (Skalinder) has taught in her independent studio in Evanston, IL, since 1974. One of the coauthors of The Hal Leonard Student Piano Library, she has given workshops in more than 200 cities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Asia. Formerly the editor of Clavier magazine, she received her M.M. degree from Northwestern University.

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What My Adult Students Have Taught Me

Be Willing to Change Your Idea of Success "Don't worry. I know my playing jerks along. I probably won't get much better, but that's OK. I simply love playing the piano, and I love coming here every week to learn more about it."  This wise advice from my 75-year-old student, Katie, came to me many years ago. After three years of weekly, hour-lo...
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Whose Assignment Is it Anyway?

It happened again this week. I had used the word "heartbeat" to suggest the way the left- hand chords in the B section of Burgmüller's Ballade should sound. Every teacher knows the usual klunk-klunk sound most students first make when playing them. Owen had immediately responded to this image with exactly the right two-chord phrasing. Ah, success,...
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Patsy Surratt
Thank you so much for this great article. This was very helpful and very timely. I have a student working on the Burgmuller Ballad... Read More
Sunday, 22 September 2019 19:26
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September/October 2018: Variations

The music of life Serious illness visited my husband last winter. Our lives suddenly became a round of doctor appointments, surgery, tests, treatments, and continual bad news. My husband and I have received thoughts, prayers, food, visits, gifts both serious and funny, cards, and people's heartfelt love. We are gratefu...
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May/June 2018: Variations

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Rediscovering the joy of music  1950.  Rediscovering the Joy of Music Lincoln, Nebraska. I am four years old, living with my parents in a new GI-Bill financed tract house, dancing around my bedroom to Side B of my Golden Record of The Five Little Firemen . It is a 5-inch 78 RPM made of yellow plastic, and I am quickly wearing down its gro...
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Jan/Feb 2018 Variations: A nickel for every mistake

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Seven-year-old Serena's mother describes her daughter's first piano practice of every week. "We always have tears! If she makes even one mistake, she is ready to give up. She expects herself to be able to the play the piece perfectly the first time. No matter what I say, she gets upset. Eventually, she turns her frustration on me, which means she e...
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Studios are not just in living rooms anymore

Guitar-Orchestra-compressed
Sometimes the world brings people into your life who ignite your energy and restore your passion for teaching. Last February, on a sunny morning in Austin, Texas, last February, I met two such individuals, Wendy Kuo and Klondike Steadman, the executive directors and owners of The Orpheus Academy, a music school with 410 students employing more than...
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Perfectly managing imperfection

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. ---Vaclav Havel I am listening to seventeen-year-old Olivia play her college audition pieces: a Chopin Ballade and a Bach Prelude and Fugue. I am not her teacher; Olivia has an outstanding mentor at a renowned ...
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Variations: Being comfortable in your teacher skin

I recently met a passionate young teacher who told me this story: "One of my students came up to me the other day and observed: 'Mrs. L., you either love what you do, or you just can't find another job!' The child, only seven years old, had already intuited society's adage: 'Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.'" We laughed together over this...
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When students quit

I quit piano twice. During my last year of high school, I left my long-time teacher a handwritten note in an envelope on her desk. In it I detailed the reasons I was "quitting piano." I no longer remember what those reasons were, but I suspect they were related to feeling I had let her down by losing a then-recent contest. I don't remember that she...
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Make parents your partners

​In her book ​The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, ​Jessica Laney writes,"... why do so many teachers cite the challenge of dealing with their students' parents as their main reason for abandoning the classroom?" 1 Throughout the public and private school systems, the relationships between parents...
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I hope Tiffany still likes to jump in the mud

T​his issue's column features the writing of Tiffany Pon, piano student of my longtime friend and colleague, Mona Rejino. Mona teaches at the Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas, and Tiffany has been her student from the time she was six years old until she graduated this year. Mona is a well-known composer, arranger, and author of countless method bo...
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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 anoth er, no one was wearing a sports uniform. While I am not a stickl...
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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 a...
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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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I have a student who...

I have a student who graduated from my studio this year. Leah began study with me as a curly-haired, precocious five-year old. Today she is a vibrant young woman of eighteen. Leah chose three pieces for her final performance: "Footfalls," by Wayne Shorter, which included a luminous jazz improvisation; the first movement of Beethoven's "Moonlight" S...
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Bricks or clicks?

Ten years ago, one of my friends asked me if I knew of a cello teacher who would come to the house to teach her children. I looked down my nose at her and said, "Oh, you don't want a teacher who comes to the house. They are not true professionals." The January/February 2013 issue of Clavier Companion featured the magnificent studios of several teac...
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What Do We Do When Our Students Forget?

At my house, it takes a ladder to reach Richard Chronister's book, A Piano Teacher's Legacy . It is on the top shelf of the floor-to-ceiling bookcase next to my grand piano. This seems like the perfect resting place for it, because I always did put Richard on a high pedestal. I still do.  This fall I began my forty-fourth year of teaching. My ...
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Variations

She always wore a cherry-red coat... ​She always wore a cherry-red coat. At least that is what I remember she wore, whether that fact is true or not. Her gray hair surrounded her head in a fluff that looked like a halo pushed slightly askew, and she walked quickly, her back bent slightly forward in what looked like anticipation, but was probably os...
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Making time for happiness

When will I eat breakfast?" This question came from eleven-year old Irene during a recent interview with a family seeking piano lessons. The mother called me wanting to transfer Irene and her eight-year-old brother to a new piano teacher so "We can get our life back." Both children had studied from the age of five at the area's most prestigious mus...
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Teaching Music in a Virtual World

​On this overly-warm Autumn afternoon, I am attempting to teach a Net-Gener 1  how to play Bill Boyd's "Swing-a-Ling." How do I know eight-year-old Panagiotis is a Net-Gener? Because he stuffs his iPod and earbuds into his pocket, carefully places his iPhone on the music rack, and begins to fidget the minute I put the music in front ...
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About The Piano Magazine

The 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 the Piano Magazine in 2019.

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