Elvina Pearce studied piano with Isabelle Vengerova and pedagogy with Frances Clark. She was a founding faculty member of the New School for Music Study, one of the founders of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, and Editor-in-Chief of Keyboard Companion magazine from 2000-2006. For fourteen years, she taught piano and pedagogy at Northwestern University. In 2008 she was named by MTNA as a Foundation Fellow, and, in 2011, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. She has presented workshops and recitals in more than forty states as well as in Canada, the Republic of China, and Australia. Her concert career is highlighted by a performance of the Liszt E-Flat Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony in Orchestra Hall. A nationally recognized author and composer of educational piano music, Elvina resides in the Chicago suburb of Naperville with her rescue dog Jessie, a three-legged, miniature Australian Shepherd.

Kabalevsky Toccatina, Op. 27, No. 12

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Thinking Tempo: teaching students to practice slowly

We are thrilled to share this archival footage of Elvina Pearce in the inaugural episode of our new series, Timeless Teaching Videos. Video from this episode was recorded at a Piano Pedagogy Seminar at the New School for Music Study in year 2000. At The New School for Music Study, founders Frances Clark and Louise Goss created a tradition...
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Teacher "Talk and Tell" Vs. Student "Discover and Do"

During my fourteen years as an instructor of piano pedagogy at the collegiate level, one aspect of my work was to observe the teaching of interns enrolled in the course and then follow-up with one-on-one conferences in which the lesson happenings were discussed. I recall that one of the major issues which was addressed in nearly every post-lesson c...
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What do college piano majors have to say about their piano study and practice?

Since many of our articles focus on what we, as teachers, think about the needs of the pre-college level student, I thought it would be interesting to survey several college students to find out what they have to say, most particularly about their own piano study and practice habits. Via a questionnaire, I interviewed four students: Jessica De...
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A Teacher's Roundtable on Solutions to Common Practice Problems

from the series: The Other Teacher: Home Practice Elvina Pearce, Editor For our Home Practice column in this issue, we have invited five highly successful teachers to become a roundtable panel and share with us some of their solutions to the most common issues which have to be addressed in their own studios, and which those of us who teac...
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How do you teach students to listen to themselves as they practice?

from the series: The Other Teacher: Home Practice In an interview with Nelita True which appeared in the Home Practice column of the Autumn 2002 issue of Keyboard Companion, she was asked, "What do you consider to be the most important thing you do when practicing?" Her answer was, "Listening!" In the same article, when asked, "What things abo...
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What practice strategies would you assign for the "Fantasy Dance" from Op. 124 by Schumann?

from the series: The Other Teacher: Home Practice Elvina Pearce, Editor Over the years I have always found the "Fantasy Dance" of Schumann ("Phantasietanz," No. 5 from the Album Leaves, Op. 124) to be an excellent teaching piece for the early advanced student. Marked presto, it is brilliant, and dramatic - a wonderful "show-off" piece for...
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What Practice Steps Would You Assign for the Burgmüller "Ballade" of Op. 100?

from the series: The Other Teacher: Home Practice Elvina Pearce, Editor The Burgmiiller "Ballade" of Op. 100 (see pages 18-19) is usually a favorite with all students who can play it well. In my studio, we frequently refer to it as the "Beauty and the Beast" piece, with the "misterioso" A sections (mm. 1-22 and 49 to the end) portray...
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How Can We Find Out More About Our Students' Home Practice? Part II

by Elvina Pearce  Evaluating a student's home practice is getting a lot of attention these days. In KEYBOARD COMPANION's most recent issue, we reported on a project at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, that was designed to help their teachers find out more about their students' independent learning skills. At the 1994 meeting...
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How Can We Find Out More About Our Students' Home Practice?

Certainly one way we can find out about student practice is to assign a new piece, give the student no help with it, and then hear the the piece after a given amount of time. The results of such an exercise can tell us quite a bit about things such as accuracy (notes, rhythm, symbols), pedaling, musicality, and technique. What this kind of pro...
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What Have You Learned From Your Own Practice That Has Affected What and How You Teach Your Students About Practice?

Most of what I've learned about practice, I've learned from teaching. However, there are a few things that I learned as a student that I still strongly believe in and pass along to my students. Here's part of my "lecture" on practice that occurs during each new student's initial interview:  Students who practice at the same time each day ...
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What Steps Would You Suggest for Practicing the Kabalevsky Etude, Op. 27, No. 3?

by Elvina Pearce Probably every teacher would agree that a student's ultimate success with a new piece depends, for the most part, on how that student approaches it during the first week or two of home practice. Going one step further, I would say that the productivity and success of this initial practice is largely dependent on what is done w...
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What Suggestions Do You Give Students for How to Practice Ornaments?

We have all heard student performances of pieces which might have been quite acceptable except for the stumbles and hesitations surrounding the execution of ornaments. Perhaps these students should not have been assigned pieces containing ornaments. Or, maybe all of the ornaments should have been deleted before the pieces w...
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What Do Parents Have to Say About Their Children's Practice?

Last spring, I asked seven teachers to distribute a questionnaire to the parents of five or six of their students. Twenty- seven parents (who, for the most part, retained anonymity) returned the questionnaires. Not all of them answered every question, and the resulting data is by no means "scientific," but for the purposes of this department, ...
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What Suggestions Would You Give Two Students to Ensure Productive Ensemble Practice?

It's probably safe to say that most piano students have most of their ensemble experience playing duets with their teacher. This is a logical introduction into the art of collaborative performance and is both fun and worthwhile musically. However, in this format the teacher continues to "call the shots," so-to-speak, setting the tempo, and mak...
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As a College Teacher, What Would You Like Your Incoming Freshman Students to Know About How to Practice?

AII of us who have been in college music buildings which house practice rooms are aware of the almost continuous sounds of student practice emanating from within. Those who work in this environment must acquire the ability to tune out much of this round-the-clock piano playing in order to fulfill their teaching and/or other professional responsibil...
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What Have You Learned From Listening to Your Own Children's Practice?

from the series: The Other Teacher: Home Practice As a piano teacher with no children of my own, I have sometimes wondered how, as a parent, I might have handled music lessons for my child. Would I (should I) have insisted that the child take piano lessons? If so, what role would I have played in this event? Would I (should I) have taught the ...
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How Do Your Students Practice a New Piece When You Don't Give Them Any Help?

Most of our lessons involve two processes-teaching and testing. The teaching aspect of the lesson has to do primarily with preparation and presentation. In the area of concept formation, this means getting the student ready to learn something new and then introducing it. In the area of practice, it means getting the student ready for a week of prac...
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What is included in your weekly written assignment?

    A teacher can learn a lot about a new student's previous study ~ and practice by simply looking at the former assignment notebook. That's why I always ask a prospective student to bring it along to the pre-enrollment interview along with the music and other materials most recently studied. In some cases, the weekly assignments have be...
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What Are Your Main Concerns About Your Students' Home Practice? Part II

From the series The Other Teacher: Home Practice by Elvina Pearce with other KEYBOARD COMPANION Associate Editors In the Summer, 1992, issue, the question addressed in our Home Practice Department was, What are your main concerns about your students' home practice? The article began with a list of twenty-four items which were submitted by...
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