​​Too much of a good thing: The dangers of over-demonstrating in a piano lesson

The Piano Lesson.1871, George Goodwin Kilburne
The scope of teaching tools at the disposal of any music instructor is often as rich as the music they teach. Since the earliest days of education, there has been an ongoing evolution of what teaching is, how learning happens, what role the teacher plays in a pupil's education, and what teaching methods produce the highest degree of learning.A prim...
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¿Por qué no?

Barcelona
Upon completing my master's degree, I considered various ideas as to where and how to continue my education. Although pursuing a doctoral degree is essential for musicians who wish to achieve careers in academia, the time commitment and financial investment did not feel right for me at that point. During my years in undergraduate and graduate schoo...
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East meets West: Connecting with Chinese students

Sichuan
Currently, an estimated 40 million students are learning piano in China, and the number continues to grow. In this age of the China boom, there is also a burgeoning interest in the West, leading more Chinese to study abroad than ever before. Now practically any active piano teacher, regardless of where she teaches, is likely to interact with Chines...
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On boating and the pleasures of ear training

Yes.You read right.I bet you never thought you'd see the words "pleasure" and "ear training" mentioned in the same sentence. Pleasure and boats seem so much more compatible. People tend to grimace at the very thought of ear training, as if they'd just discovered half a worm in their apple. When I was a student at McGill, "Ear Training and Sight Sin...
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The legacy of Leopold Wolfsohn

Leopold Wolfsohn. You may look at this name and wonder why it seems vaguely familiar. If you access Leopold Wolfsohn on Google, it will notify you in 0.27 seconds that you have 18,700 results. Of course, as the search continues it gets further away from its initial goal. However, there is a common denominator in the vast majority of sites: Leo...
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Cliburn 2017

Cliburn-Winners107-copy
Every four years, piano fans gather in Fort Worth, Texas, for one of the piano world's biggest parties: the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.At this year's Cliburn—the fifteenth—Yekwon Sunwoo, 28, earned the Gold Medal. Although a native of South Korea, Sunwoo has degrees from Curtis and Juilliard (and, yes, he played the Rach 3). The Si...
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Putting it all together: Creating a great lesson

I've recently been inspired to think about the essential elements of a successful lesson, prompted in part by Pete Jutras's column "Quality Ingredients" (Clavier Companion, July/August 2015) and a superb 2012 workshop that Marvin Blickenstaff presented at Nazareth College, just outside of Rochester, NY.Jutras's points—that every lesson should have ...
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Jascha Spivakovksy: Rediscovered Romantic

1929-Jascha-at-piano
Our appreciation of pianists of the past is based primarily on their recordings. How amazing it is that in this age of digital technology we can listen to the actual playing of pianists born and trained in the nineteenth century—including pupils of Liszt and pianists who studied with Chopin's students—hearing with our own ears pianism from an era t...
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Pianist as artist: Samuil Feinberg on the role of the performer

Feinberg-2
It's not just historically minded pianists who listen to older records. Music lovers of all sorts do. 2015 marked the first year that 'catalogue' albums, defined as any recording made more than eighteen months previous, outsold new music by 4.3 million copies.1"Records." That's what Thomas Edison called his reproducing wax cylinders in 1888, associ...
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Playing composers' slurs: From Mozart to the nineteenth century

Slurs-Excerpt-3-MJ-1_20170619-234056_1
In recent decades, scholars and publishers have reproduced composers' original notations in so-called Urtext editions. In these scholarly editions and facsimiles of composers' autographs, pianists will notice two slurring patterns—slurs obviously cutting off a phrase or a melody, or a slur ending before the bar line when the end of the phrase or me...
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So you have been asked to play the organ: A guide for pianists

It is likely that, sometime during a pianist's career, he or she will be asked to play the organ for a wedding, funeral, or a Sunday service. This can be daunting for pianists who have little or no organ experience. Looking at the organ, pianists might scratch their heads and wonder how to use the multiple keyboards (including the pedals) and how t...
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Developing sound expectations: Does the sound match the picture?

How do we develop a student's sense of musical awareness in performance? So often the wonderfully phrased and dynamically diverse musical performance in a lesson becomes a lifeless memory of its former glory when presented in public. How do we help our students develop the ability to maintain this musicality when performing for their families and f...
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Recent comment in this post
Amy Glennon
Wonderful article!
Wednesday, 29 August 2018 12:52
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Rethinking the master class

Recently, my husband Louie and I presented a joint master class at the Mississippi Music Teachers Association State Conference. We have developed a different format for these educational, and sometimes intimidating, sessions where a student performs before an audience of peers and teachers, and an invited guest teacher, by reputation a "master," ma...
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On the Value of Art Music Today

david
As a promoter of the arts and arts education, in Alberta, Canada (as founder and director of Alberta Pianofest, a summer festival of concerts and piano master classes), I often have occasion to speak before audiences of music-lovers, arts patrons, and potential supporters. These audiences are sympathetic to the cause, and they understand at th...
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Repertoire: Bach's Two-Part Inventions

Affect in J.S. Bach's Two-Part InventionsBach's oldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann, was born in 1710 when Bach was twenty-five years old. By the time Wilhelm was ten, his father had instructed him in playing—as well as composing—some rather complex pieces. According to The New Bach Reader, Bach used the Two-Part Inventions and Three-Part Sinfonias as a...
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What about that bass?

As piano teachers, we commonly show our students how composers divide pieces into three parts, such as in Sonata or Minuet and Trio forms. What is often missed is that most music is composed with a vertical division of three as well. We are adept at teaching students to focus on—and voice—the melodic content. However, often overlooke...
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Finding musical expression through photography and film

Music is invisible. Yet how many times have we heard teachers, critics, and the general music using the piano. Our priorities often lie in teaching proper technique to avoid unnecessary tension, and in showing students how to decipher notes, tempo markings, dynamics, and written terms on the page. These elements are crucial in order to give pi...
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Winds of Change

While this column usually focuses on change as it transforms our profession and sometimes flusters its practitioners, I want to think about something that doesn't change: the effect of artistry and its long-lasting impact.These thoughts come to mind as I reminisce about the unexpected effect Phyllis Curtin had on my life. Phyllis was an admired Ame...
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A Life Among Legends: an impresario looks back, part II

Jacques Leiser ©Jacques Leiser
​Many of the biggest musicians of the twentieth century have worked with Jacques Leiser: Richter, Michelangeli, Berman, Arrau, Cziffra, and Callas, to name just a few. As an agent, impresario, and photographer, Leiser helped direct the stunning careers of many household names. Such a life brings with it many valuable stories and insights that take ...
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The dynamics of sound and time

Music is at once simple and complex. We hear it, and we are moved by the feelings the music evokes. Yet, it is also a complex matter. There are eight ingredients of music: medium (the sound), meter-tempo-rhythm (the time), melody (the tune), harmony (the chords), texture (the thickness or number of voices), form (the organization), dynamics (t...
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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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