Rebecca Grooms Johnson, Ph.D., NCTM, is a nationally respected leader in the field of piano pedagogy. She is an independent teacher and has taught extensively at the university level. Active in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), she has served as National Certification Chair, Vice-President, and President-Elect. She is currently Presid...ent of MTNA, and three times a year she publishes a feature article in American Music Teacher titled “What’s New in Pedagogy Research.” More

Piano method review: Carol Matz's Interactive Piano Method

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by Rebecca Grooms Johnson This method offers a flexible combination of lesson books and web-based materials. The four core lesson books (Levels 1A, 1B, 2A, and 2B) can be purchased as hard copies (which are mailed to the home address) or as downloadable PDFs. The hard-copy packages are moderately more expensive. Both hard-copy and downloadable Less...
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Piano Method Review: Tales of a Musical Journey

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Tales of a Musical Journey, by Irina Gorin with assistance from Olga Lukantsov, is presented in the form of two chapter books for young children ages four to seven. Author Irina Gorin writes, "Books 1 and 2 cover the span of the first year of study and will sufficiently prepare the students for classical repertoire." 1 The characters in this f...
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More Than Just the Notes: An Interview with Sean Chen

Attendees of the 2015 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy will have the exciting opportunity to hear guest artist Sean Chen—a brilliant pianist who was the first American in sixteen years to win an award (the third-place Crystal) at the 2013 Van Cliburn competition. Among his many other accomplishments and honors, Sean was also awarded the 201...
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Exploring the Teaching of Mary Craig Powell

It has been my privilege for many years to know Mary Craig Powell as a colleague and friend. Although Mary Craig is an internationally renowned Suzuki specialist, her pedagogic knowledge and instructional skills reach far beyond the confines of a particular method or philosophy. Watching Mary Craig teach is a revelatory and inspiring experience, an...
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Healthy technique for beginning students

Technique is such a broad term— thousands of pianists with different physical approaches to the instrument play well and (hopefully!) without injuries. But often when we discuss injury-free techniques, we are talking about advanced pianists playing extremely demanding repertoire. Very few of us, however, will ever teach students at this level —a gr...
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Children Get Hurt, Too!

In the last twenty-five years a great deal of much needed attention has been given to musicians' injuries. It seems, however, that an overwhelming majority of the conference sessions and articles on this topic only address the potential injuries of advanced pianists—either at the collegiate or artist levels. In th...
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An ethical dilemma

​Most of us have, at some point in our lives, been urged to be the best that we can be—to work the hardest, study the longest, practice the most. But what if you hear that the person against whom you are competing for a job or important gig is taking enhancement drugs that allow them to need less sleep, stay more focused, and become mentally sharpe...
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Still on fire or burning out?

W​hat type of music teacher burns out? Often she is an idealistic, "on fire" individual who does not have a firm pedagogic sense of what is real and what is fantasy. Someone who believes that all children can achieve a high level of mastery at the instrument, regardless of their level of intelligence, talent, discipline, and parental support. He ma...
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Feeling singing? Coping with burnout

As you returned from the holiday break (or madness!), did you look forward to your regular teaching schedule, or did you feel less than enthusiastic at the idea of seeing your students again? Most of us have times in our lives when we feel tired and withdrawn, not ready to face another long day of teaching.  In this issue and the upcoming May/...
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Author Response to Robert Pace Keyboard Approach

Response to The Robert Pace Keyboard Approach  Editor's Note: Clavier Companion has invited the authors or representatives of each method series reviewed to respond to that review in the following issue. The response to last issue's review of The Robert Pace Keyboard Approach is presented below.  Robert Pace, who passed away in September ...
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A survey of current methods: The Robert Pace Keyboard Approach

his issue concludes Clavier Companion's survey of piano methods. 1  Looking back over the past two years, I have come to realize that we are blessed with a tremendous variety of excellent, pedagogically sound materials. Several of my core beliefs have been confirmed: no one series is right for every teacher, or for all of any one teacher's stu...
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A survey of current methods: Succeeding at the Piano

This issue continues Clavier Companion's survey of piano methods.1 Each article in this series has three sections—an introductory synopsis by the Associate Editor, two articles written by teachers who have used the method extensively in their studios, and a response from the authors of the method surveyed in the previous issue. We hope that you fin...
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A survey of current methods: Music Moves for Piano

​This issue continues Clavier Companion's survey of piano methods. 1 Each article in this series has three sections—an introductory synopsis by the Associate Editor, two articles written by teachers who have used the method extensively in their studios, and a response from the authors of the method surveyed in the previous issue. We hope that you f...
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A survey of current methods: Bastien Piano Basics

​This issue continues Clavier Companion's survey of piano methods. Each article in this series has three sections—an introductory synopsis by the Associate Editor, two articles written by teachers who have used the method extensively in their studios, and a response from the authors of the method surveyed in the previous issue. We hope that you fin...
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How do you teach musicality?

We  have all heard it from our beginning (and sometimes more advanced) students-that awful, wooden, unmusical playing. What can we do to fix it? If we tell them to crescendo to a certain note and then get softer, they stiffly climb up and down the dynamic ladder, and it sounds even less musical! Can musi cal playing be taught, or do some ...
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How do you teach students with AD/HD?

Ha ve you ever had a student who just couldn't sit still and listen? Have you ever had a student who couldn't focus on what you were saying for more than a few seconds? Have you ever had a student who got frustrated easily? Are these rhetorical questions? Of course they are!  Anyone who has taught for several years has perhaps dreaded the sigh...
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Starting a studio: What, where, and how?

Teachers sometimes find themselves in the position of establishing or re- establishing a studio. Perhaps they have just graduated from a college or uni- versity with a degree in music; perhaps they have recently moved to a new location; or perhaps they don't feel that their studio is as successful as they wish it to be and would like to rethink the...
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How do you teach students who learn at a slower pace? Part two Issues and Ideas: Perspectives in Pedagogy

from the series:  Issues and Ideas: Perspectives in Pedagogy Rebecca Johnson, Editor  In the Summer issue Patricia Cestaro shared advice on teaching beginning piano to the student who learns at a slower pace. She illustrated how to introduce the basics of finger numbers, key names, and keyboard topography, and she gave us a clear idea of ...
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How do you teach students who learn at a slower pace? Part I

from the series: Issues and Ideas: Perspectives in Pedagogy Rebecca Johnson, Editor Over the years, I have received requests to teach students with vari ous disabilities. I have always refused because I felt ignorant and ill-equipped to work with children who have these kinds of challenges. However, about a year ago I accepted into my studio a...
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What does research tell us about the learning process?

from the series: ​Issues and Ideas: Perspectives in Pedagogy Rebecca Johnson, Editor One of my favorite comics in the Columbus Dispatch is called "Zits." As you might surmise, it is about a teenaged boy and his often befuddled parents. Occasionally, when his mother is particularly at a loss she opens a door in his forehead and peers in to see ...
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