Off to a Great Start – Promoting Success in the New Teaching Year

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Margaret Buck
Thank you Marvin. I really enjoyed your clear ideas. Good to have confirmation of what I already do and great to get new ideas to ... Read More
Tuesday, 25 September 2018 20:57
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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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I failed to plan

I try not to use clichés in this column, but lately I've been reminded of the ubiquitous quote, "Failing to plan is planning to fail." As commonplace as this saying is, it holds great truth. Some say this proverb dates back to Benjamin Franklin, though it is likely a paraphrase of his—Franklin used the word "prepare" in place of "plan." Over the la...
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Lesson Planning: A Teaching Essential?

Road maps and detours by Craig Sale One of my worst nightmares is arriving at the school where I teach to realize I have left that day's lesson plans at home.  On the rare occasions when this has happened, I have managed to conduct a reasonably structured lesson by following the student's last assignment in their notebook. Generally, I remembe...
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Independent Study Project

When I taught on the college level, I would frequently assign my freshman and sophomore students a composition to be learned on their own. No help from me. They might listen to recordings and would sometimes play for friends, but the preparation was basically independent study. Junior and senior level students would be assigned one of those indepen...
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What do you do when you can't find a "purple moment?"

 "Plant a purple moment in every lesson."—Marvin Blickenstaff Marvin Blickenstaff is one of my very favorite people! He is a brilliant teacher and just as brilliant at teaching all the rest of us. Best of all, he is kind, generous, humble, and simply one of the best people you will ever meet. One of the things I appreciate most about Marvin is...
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Musical Growth: A Natural Process

My second child turned one in October. I am always amazed at how much a baby grows and changes throughout the first year. I think back to Christmas last year and he was basically a newborn, sleeping most of the day and not very aware of his surroundings. Only one year later he is nearly running, stealing ornaments off the Christmas tree, eating enj...
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Vision and Transformation

Dear friend and pastor Nina Peck Reeder spoke once about an experience she had as a child: she was very unhappy about needing to wear glasses…they were pink and, in her view, horrible-looking. But then she put the glasses on and was astonished to really see. How beautiful each blade of grass! You might guess that her sermon would go on to explore s...
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Vision

"We need to have a vision of our student as an accomplished learner. Great performance begins with clear vision. Teaching is just the same. We have to have the same vision of our students." – Sam Holland  Ah, the pressure! It is daunting enough to deconstruct quotes by the great Frances Clark… but the also great, living, breathing, Sam Holland...
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Questions & Answers

Q. I think I had a pretty good college pedagogy class, but I am still unsure about what to include in my student's lesson assignments. Could you offer some guidance on this subject? A. Planning the student's lesson assignment is one of the piano teacher's most important responsibilities. A carefully thought-out and well-balanced assignment takes mu...
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Questions & Answers

Question I took a two-semester course in piano pedagogy in college, and I am now teaching professionally. I do not feel that my preparation in lesson planning was adequate. Could you give me some help?  Answer Lesson planning is one of the most important teaching skills we have to learn, and if it was not covered sufficiently in your pedagogy ...
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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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