The Hidden Life of the Humble Arabesque

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In a letter of July 1910 to Jacques Durand, Claude Debussy announced that, as an artist, he was "accustomed to living among apparitions." Exactly what form those apparitions took is anybody's guess, but some may well have appeared in the form of arabesques, and not always friendly ones at that. Despite the fact that arabesques are so innocuous ...
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With or Without Your Music

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Around ten years ago, a detailed study was made by neurosurgeons and seasoned performers to determine the chief cause or causes of stage fright. Opinions were conclusive: it was ascertained that eighty percent of performance anxiety is caused by a fear of memory slips. If this is so, then the question remains: how best to secure our memor...
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Decatastrophizing the Memory Lapse

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The practice of memorizing music is relatively new. In the 1988 film by John Schlesinger, Madame Sousatzka,1 there is a haunting scene that still fills many a pianist with an uncomfortable sense of apprehension. The young madame is performing Beethoven's Appassionata to a packed concert hall, when suddenly the unthinkable happens. A small hesitatio...
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Slow Looking: Applications of Shari Tishman’s Observational Strategies in Piano Study

One of the most difficult aspects of teaching music and art is the ambiguous and subjective transmission of abstract concepts to the learner. Teachers often fail to communicate the concept of musical interpretation effectively, due to the subjectivity of language and delivery. How can one identify the feeling of "calmness" in music? Furthermore, ho...
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Don't Make Me Use My Teacher Voice: How to Get Results Without Getting Frustrated

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I recently assigned a Bossa Nova to my sixteen-year-old intermediate piano student. Even though the style was new to him, he enjoyed the sound of the piece and was excited to learn it. In preparation, we watched performances on YouTube so he could hear a range of tempi and characterizations. We wrote out the beats in the score so he could understan...
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The Composer's Score from Conception to Publication: The Evolution of Ginastera's Piano Sonata No. 2

Pianists, when learning repertoire, are not always aware of the challenges faced in producing a published edition. Some composers seem to frequently change their minds, making it difficult for scholars to agree upon a definitive score. Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 53, by Alberto Ginastera is an interesting case study. I first encountered this work when ...
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Myra Hess and Wartime London, 1939-1945

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Are the arts a societal luxury or a necessity? How do people respond to the arts during times of suffering and destruction? The destruction of World War II threatened hope and morale, even in brave England. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill inspired his people to fight against the "pestilence of Nazi tyranny" and defend "all that is mos...
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Clara Schumann: Role Model for the 21st Century

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Clara Josephine Wieck was born two hundred years ago on September 13, 1819, in the German city of Leipzig. Her father Friedrich chose the name Clara, which meant bright, shining, or famous, and from her birth was determined to turn her into a piano virtuoso. By age eleven, she was touring Europe as a concert pianist, often playing her own compositi...
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Isata-Kanneh Mason: A Rising Star

The Kanneh-Mason family is not your typical family. All seven siblings, whose ages range from nine to twenty-two, have achieved musical accomplishments far beyond their ages. As both soloists and in ensemble, they have quite an impressive list of performances to their credit, including the BBC Young Musician competition, BBC Proms, the BAFTAS ...
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2019 NCKP Preconference Highlights

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NCKP has eleven subcommittees, comprised of leaders in each of the following subcommittee areas: collaborative performance, collegiate pedagogy teaching, creative music making, inclusive teaching, independent music teachers, music in early childhood, research, students and young professionals, teaching adults, technology, and wellness. Over seventy...
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Narrativity of Histoires by Jacques Ibert

​Jacques François Antoine Marie Ibert was born with the fire of Spanish blood in his veins and claimed Manuel de Falla, the famed Spanish composer, as his cousin. The love of music and art that permeated the Ibert household laid the foundation for his acceptance into the Paris Conservatory in 1910, where he studied harmony under the tutelage of Emi...
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NCKP 2019 PEDx9 Preview: Crossing the Divide: Latitude 49 and the Evolution of Chamber Music

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Blending the finesse of a classical ensemble with the drive and precision of a rock band, members of Latitude 49 come together from across the United States and Canada to bring dynamic performances into venues large and small. Our diversity of experience is our strength: a variety of thought, background, and aptitude enhances what we can create tog...
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Illuminations of the Past, Innovations of the Future: Piano Playing and Building in the Twenty-first Century

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The advent and popularization of historical performance practice in recent years has led to some wonderful innovations in piano performance. In many circles, Mozart's original and intimate ideas of phrasing are now readily reinstated and relegitimized over more long-line Romantic approaches; familiarity with Bach's ornamentation and practices of ar...
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The Score Speaks: Steps to Interpretation for Growing Musicians

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As teachers, we know that there are effective ways in which to analyze a score for musical learning. During my study at the New School for Music Study, Frances Clark taught us systematic ways in which to do this—from the very beginning stages of learning a piece.Among these steps were the following: 1. Look at the piece and think about how it shoul...
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The Beethoven Piano Sonatas: Frequently Asked Questions

As the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) approaches, it is a good time to get in the celebratory spirit by answering some FAQs. A warning, though: behind every seemingly straightforward answer, there are always more questions!1. What editions should I use? Simple answer: There are excellent Urtext editions avai...
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Bringing Performance Experience with a Period Piano to a Modern One

If Mozart had had a modern concert grand piano, would he have composed the same music? Absolutely not! No doubt, he would have been strongly influenced by the characteristics of the modern instrument, and his musical approach on the piano would have been completely different. Why am I so sure about this? Did I have coffee with Mozart? Unf...
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Dean Elder: Forever Missed, But Never Forgotten!

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On December 3, 2018, the piano world lost a true icon of the profession, Dean Elder. His life ended, but his brilliance lives on in the amazing legacy that he left for generations of future pianists.Harold Schonberg said, "Dean Elder is one of the few real piano connoisseurs in the country." As consulting editor and record reviewer for Cl...
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Steps to Parnassvs: Preparing Students to Play Advanced Masterworks

All learning of complex knowledge and sophisticated skills must be approached by first learning more limited and simplified versions of what students are eventually needing to master. The nature of the simplifications—the substance and magnitude of each task, the sequence in which the tasks are presented, the speed of ...
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The Neglected Consolations of Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt's beloved Consolation No. 3 in D-flat Major from the Six Consolations S.172, is a character piece frequently performed by the advancing pianist in recital and festival adjudications. Reminiscent of a nostalgic nocturne, Consolation No. 3 features a stunning melodic line and unpredictable harmonic nuances that have surely contribute...
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Deciphering Chopin’s shorthand in the posthumous Mazurka in F minor

​If someone had told me a decade ago that I was going to produce the first (and, so far, only) published reconstruction of Chopin's posthumous Mazurka in F Minor that includes every uncanceled measure of the composer's sketch, I would have laughed. But apparently when a performance opportunity inspires a research obsession, unexpected things can ha...
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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 Piano Magazine in 2019.

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