Driving practice home

by Shirley Penzi​The first piece of furniture my husband and I bought for our new home was a fine Mason & Hamlin piano. We placed it prominently in the sunset room and cared for it meticulously. But it sat mostly idle, beckoning to be played for several years. When our daughter, Summer, was three-and-a-half years old, we began to feel she was r...
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What is the "practice toolbox" you use with your students?

​Helping our students learn how to achieve expression, ease, and accuracy in their playing requires that we impart effective practice procedures. Some of these involve the how of playing, what we commonly call technique: awareness of how we move and use our bodies; how to prepare, execute, and follow-through when creating gestures; when to relax, w...
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What Practice Steps Would You Assign for the Burgmüller "Ballade" of Op. 100?

from the series: ​​The Other Teacher: Home PracticeElvina Pearce, EditorThe 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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The Other Teacher: Home Practice

Elvina Pearce, nationally recognized pianist, teacher, lecturer, author, and composer, studied piano with Isabelle Vengerova and pedagogy with Frances Clark. For 14 years, she taught pedagogy and directed the Preparatory Piano Division at Northwestern University. She currently teaches at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois where she also ...
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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 Is Your Opinion of Counting Aloud and How Do You Encourage This Activity at Home?

"I don't believe in counting aloud. I just feel the beat." You can imagine my surprise at this response from an adult student who was playing incorrect rhythms in passages of Rhapsody in Blue. I thought, like most of us would, that the fastest way to solve the problem would be to have this student count aloud. My ...
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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 ma...
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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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