Craig Sale is an adjudicator, workshop clinician, and piano pedagogy specialist. Now residing in Tucson, AZ, he was Director of the Preparatory and Community Piano Program at Concordia University Chicago for thirty years. He is editor of The Success Factor in Piano Teaching by Elvina Pearce, and co-author of the Activities books for Levels 3 and 4 ...of The Music Tree. More

Kabalevsky: Running Along, Op. 39, No. 6

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Preparation and Presentation Context: Pieces that are helpful to have experienced or played before approaching this one Kabalevsky, A Little Porcupine, op. 89, No. 8 Köhler, Melody, op. 190, no. 27 Diabelli, Scherzo in C, Op. 149, No. 6 Get Ready: Creative activities to explore before the first encounter with the score, to prepare a student for dee...
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Concept Preparation: The Missing Link

​ Click here to download handout Did you enjoy this webinar? Please complete our brief survey to help us improve our webinar series and continue to bring you the highest quality resources in piano teaching. Survey
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Linda Gaines
This was wonderful. I absolutely love the idea of the ropes and notes. I have a whiteboard with electrical tape and black magnet... Read More
Tuesday, 11 June 2019 07:58
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Rediscovering the past: Alexander Borovsky

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Editor's note: Clavier Companion reviewed these recordings for the May/June 2018 issue. Click here to read it.  It is a delight to uncover lost gems from the last century such as Alexander Borovsky, a great 20 th century pianist and teacher, and his paper entitled "The Bach Specialists of the World." Borovsky was born in Mitau, Latvia, March 8...
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To judge and be judged

Teachers should always strive to provide positive and successful music experiences for their students.  Within the walls of the teaching studio, it is much easier to create these experiences—the environment and people involved are familiar, and the teacher has more control of outcomes. However, this is not the case when students leave the stud...
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Interdisciplinary inspirations: Using visual images to enhance your teaching

Meaningful connections Successful teachers always try to make connections for students— creating and demonstrating meaningful relationships among various activities and concepts. They strive to show students how a good technique enables them to play their repertoire with greater ease; how understanding music theory makes reading and memorization ea...
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How do you teach the dotted-quarter eighth note rhythm?

In this issue, we address the teaching of a basic, but often challenging, skill—the dotted-quarter eighth note rhythm. We wanted to take a different approach and survey several teachers to assemble a wider collection of ideas for you, the reader, to consider.  Nine teachers of pre-college students submitted their thoughts on teaching this rhyt...
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How Do You Teach Students to Read Patterns Rather Than Note-By-Note?

The idea of reading patterns in music first became important to me when I began teaching young students how to read music. In my formative years I was raised on a note-by-note approach that began at Middle C. It worked for me... at least I thought it did. Today, even though I teach children to read by interval relation...
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Four teachers and Facebook: Ideas for improving sight-reading

E​arlier in the year, I established a private discussion group on Facebook with four teachers from around the country— Monica Allen, Laura Beau- champ-Williamson, Rebecca Pennington, and Scott Price. Our goal was to have some conversations about music reading which would lead to the sharing of ideas and resources. It is important to know that ...
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Music Reading

​Experience and research tells us that the more one reads a language the more fluency is gained. This is, of course, true of sight-reading as well. Making this happen with our students in an organized and motivating manner eludes many of us, myself included. This is why I was so intrigued when told of the exciting new sight-reading program implemen...
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Boiling it down: Recipes for effective teaching

When I think back on the great teachers I have encountered in my life, I find that they all had one thing in common—the ability to boil things down to their essence. These teachers' abilities to reveal the essence of the subject matter made my understanding possible. Perhaps it was an applied teacher communicating the essentials of tone production,...
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How do you help a college piano major with poor reading skills?

t first glance, the scope of this issue's topic may seem limited. The majority of readers are independent teachers working with students before they leave for college. The percentage of their students who major in piano is small. However, the following articles by Dr. Timothy Shafer and Dr. Sylvia Coats contain valuable information and insights for...
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How can colors be used to help students learn to read music?

​For centuries, music notation has been a "black and white" subject. To read this music, musicians have decoded black and white print and transferred it into colorful sound. Even when making notations in our printed music we have usually grabbed an ordinary pencil, thus adding a shade of gray to the page. When things get really bad we might actuall...
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How do you teach fluent reading on ledger lines between the staves?

In the Spring 2005 issue of K eyboar d Companion, the Music Reading Department addressed the teaching of reading ledger line notes above and below the staves. In this issue, we are focusing on ledger lines between the staves. Although many methods begin reading with these notes surrounding Middle C, this ambiguous land remains a mystery to students...
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From notes to beauty: When, why and how?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor  This department generally focuses on the teaching of secure music reading. Although our regular consideration of how to successfully teach students to play correct notes and rhythms is important, we also need to widen our view and consider how "music reading" becomes som...
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How do you handle reversals in reading?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor When you stop and think about it, what we often ask a young student to do at their first lesson is completely unreasonable. They sit at a huge keyboard, barely able (if at all) to reach the far ends of it, still uncertain of which hand is right and which is left. They are told...
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What common pitfalls occur in the teaching of music reading?

from the series: ​Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor For this issue my colleague Bruce Berr and I wanted to share our thoughts on common pitfalls that occur in teaching music reading and in teaching rhythmic subdivisions. Having dealt with these issues in our own departments over the years, we decided to "switch departmental ha...
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How does 'experience before definition' apply to your teaching of reading concepts?

The natural order of learning 1 , as described by Piaget and specifically applied to music learning by Frances Clark 2 , begins with the child hearing, feeling, and seeing a concept before it is presented (i.e. sound-feel-sign-name). Experiencing a concept before learning its name and symbol, is meaningful learning . I like to think that teach...
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What are your favorite teaching aids for music reading?

Whenever I visit the exhibit hall at MTNA and other music teacher conventions or browse through the advertisements in publications for teachers, I am always a bit overwhelmed at the number of teaching aids available. For me the bottom line is whether or not the product has pedagogical value, specifically in the teaching of music reading.   I a...
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How much in-lesson assistance do you give students in learning new repertoire?

I think most teachers would agree that independent learning is an important  goal of teaching music reading. I believe, however, that we fall short of that goal if, once a student can satisfactorily read music, we begin to simply assign repertoire to be learned independently. When we do this, we cease to be a guide and facilitator during the f...
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Describe your sight-reading library contents and organization

I admit it- I am a "packrat." My natural  inclination is to hold on to things because "you never know when they might come in handy someday!" Although I strive for reform from this behavior in my daily life, I continue to collect and save music for students. The fact is that this music can be very useful to my students, often as sight-reading ...
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