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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 shou...
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Fostering collaboration: Elementary and intermediate works for pianist and narrator

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B y default, being a pianist can feel like a lonely musical pursuit. Students frequently take private lessons, practice alone, perform solo repertoire, and only occasionally play duets with a teacher, family member, or friend. It is not until after many years of private study that students are finally encouraged to collaborate with other student mu...
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Pedagogy 101: Planting the Seeds for Success

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Recent Comments
Albert Halls
Marvin your webinar was very helpful and reinforced my teaching, but I am going to add the interval to my teaching.
Monday, 07 May 2018 22:11
antonelaf
This was very helpful! Thank you- Where can I find some similar rote pieces? Thanks again!
Monday, 21 May 2018 13:14
Margaret Buck
Thank you for this interesting video. I loved the idea of the cluster to make various ways of connecting with the keyboard. Also g... Read More
Wednesday, 06 June 2018 22:21
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Parents attending lessons: rewards and challenges

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Why would teachers want to encourage parents to attend lessons? Although some teachers—Suzuki, Yamaha, or preschool, for example—routinely invite parents, not all music teachers find that children or their guardians benefit from a shared experience. The following is an overview of some of the rewards and challenges of parental attendance at lessons...
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Yoda eats mushroom pizza

It's the last lesson before the recital. Garrett, age five, is playing "Graduation March," the final piece in Time to Begin from The Music Tree . The B section is made up entirely of half notes and whole notes. The good news? Garrett's rhythm is perfect; a huge improvement over last week, when all of the long notes were being cut short and the acco...
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New music reviews: July/August 2017

​Bastien New Traditions All-in-one Piano Course by Lisa, Lori, and Jane Bastien  James Bastien's series Bastien Piano Basics has been a beloved staple in many piano studios for decades, and now, for a new generation of students, Bastien family members Lisa, Lori, and Jane have written Bastien New Traditions All In One Piano Course . Levels Pri...
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Method reviews return! A review of Piano Safari

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Method reviews return! In 2009, Clavier Companion began a series of reviews exploring all of the major piano methods published at that time. Two years later, the series concluded and we had covered twelve major methods! (You can access these articles collected into a special digital issue on the claviercompanion.com website.) Since then there have ...
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How do you teach technique to beginning piano students?

How do you teach technique to beginning piano students?
Beginning piano technique: Back to basics "He's just trying it out, so he doesn't need an expert teacher. We'll just go to the most inexpensive teacher we can find until we know he likes it." How many times have we bristled at this kind of statement? We know that the first experience with any new endeavor is the most important, the most lasting. Be...
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Better together: Chamber music for all levels

Miki Sawada with her students
What pieces do you remember performing as a young pianist? Were they solo pieces? As pianists, we are lucky to have at our fingertips a seemingly infinite body of solo masterworks. To be able to sit down at an instrument and create music alone is a joyful privilege. It naturally follows that much of traditional piano pedagogy centers around the gre...
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Suzuki piano: A student-centered approach

Suzuki piano: A student-centered approach
Shinichi Suzuki's (1898-1998) ideas about music education were well ahead of his time.  His philosophy and approach to teaching were based upon a unique understanding of how children learn, and many of his ideas have since been validated by scientific research. The Suzuki method started with violin, but it has been applied to a multitude of in...
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How do you know when a student is ready to perform a piece?

​​​One of my studio recitals just ended. As I write this, I am  eating a leftover brownie and may snarf down a couple  more. Would wine be better? Probably, but it is only four in the afternoon. The recital went well. For one thing, everyone showed up. This doesn't always happen. For another, no one was wearing a sports uniform. While I a...
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How do we honor a child’s musical voice?

​My eleven-year old student Corey arrived at the year-end recital dusty and sweaty from playing two tournament soccer games. With fifteen minutes to start time and no audience yet present (graduation parties, other soccer and baseball games), Corey sat down at the piano to try out his pieces. He ran through the ABRSM Jazz Piano arrangement of Duke ...
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Brain trust: Words of wisdom from early childhood experts

Brain trust: Words of wisdom from early childhood experts
There's nothing more invigorating than a room full of young children eager to learn music. And there may not be anything more important to all music educators than giving these young children a good start.  In addition to a love of music and children, early childhood specialists need comprehensive training. Three top thinkers in early childhoo...
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An interview with Christine Barden

An interview with Christine Barden
An internationally recognized authority and leading music educator on early childhood music, Christine H. Barden is a coauthor of Alfred's Music for Little Mozarts preschool piano method, along with Gayle Kowalchyk and E.L. Lancaster. A graduate of San Francisco State University with a degree in piano performance, she also spent four years studying...
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Welcoming young children into your studio

Welcoming young children into your studio
Interested in widening your student base to include young children? Recent research points to enhanced brain development, increased musical potential, and even a higher occurrence of absolute pitch in students who begin lessons at an early age. In his essay "The Musical Brain," researcher Donald A. Hodges writes that "musical training changes the b...
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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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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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