Introducing students to the music of Schumann

Because of the textural, technical, and interpretive demands of music from the Romantic era, students usually do not encounter it until their early intermediate years. Most likely some of the first Romantic compositions a student will study will be by Robert Schumann, whose bicentennial is being celebrated this year. In this issue Sharon Stosur, El...
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The Pedal Piano and the Schumanns

In 1845, Robert Schumann wrote what are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful and enduring pieces of music for the pedal piano, his Six Etudes in Canon Form, Op. 56; Four Sketches, Op. 58; and Six Fugues on the Name B-A-C-H, Op. 60 (for organ or pedal piano). Schumann was an enthusiastic student of counterpoint, and his interest in the pedal piano...
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Which Chopin?

There have been numerous collected editions of Chopin's music since his death, and few of them agree on anything. Why is this? The answer lies principally in the complexity of the source tradition, and I include under that heading both manuscript and early printed sources.It may be helpful to attempt a rough classification of these sources. Sketche...
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Chopin and Pleyel

Translated by Deana Shuman   The first concert in Paris Chopin's first concert in Paris (February 25th, 1832) played a determining role in the artist's career, leading to his recognition as a composer and a pianist, providing him contacts with music publishers, opening the most influential salon doors to him, and thereby assuring him a st...
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Robert Schumann and the art of musical composition

Following hard on the heels of the Mendelssohn bicentenary, 2010 marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Schumann (1810-1856), a composer who will surely garner his full share of symposia, concerts, and special events reassessing his place in the European canon. To a large extent, Schumann has fared better in music histories...
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Chopin's teaching

We all know Chopin's piano literature-almost every serious piano student plays (or aspires to play) his works. But what do we know about Chopin's teaching? After all, teaching was an important part of his life and provided his main source of income.1 What can we take from Chopin's teaching in the 1800s and apply to our own professional models ...
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Clara Schumann: Ambivalence and resilience

The lives of Clara and Robert Schumann make great movies.Two exist: Hollywood's "Song of Love" (1947), starring Katherine Hepburn as Clara Schumann and Paul Henreid as Robert, and the German film "Frühlingssinfonie (1983), starring Nastassja Kinski and Herbert Gronemeyer. Both films present what have become typical versions of Clara'...
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A survival manual for college teachers

Every year it's the same - a group of my students prepare to leave the hallowed halls of academia and search for the elusive "job." For these students, this is BIG - and not just a little scary. As the "professor," part of my job is to prepare these changelings for what will be one of the most exciting times in their lives. For me, mentoring my stu...
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What is your plan for teaching a new piece? How does it vary for different levels of students?

Learning a new piece is like building a house. First there is a conception of the end result. The foundation is then laid - the more solid and stable, the better. Then the frame is erected and the most basic infrastructural elements are added. The skeleton then has more "flesh" progressively added until the process is nearly complete. The fini...
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What do you consider when planning and choosing repertoire for students?

Marvin Blickenstaff has stated that the " hook" for students to continue their piano studies is to assign challenging and motivating repertoire they want to play. That is always in my mind when I select literature. My students play music from all four style periods, as well as a concerto each year. During the Christmas season, most of them pla...
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Eugénie Rocherolle - An American Treasure

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"One of the fundamental problems," says Eugenie Rocherolle, "is the fact that music in America is viewed merely as an extracurricular activity. We teachers need to reframe it in the public mind as a noble subject which develops character and skill through self-discipline and artistic relations with other people."A composer since childhood, Eugenie ...
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From notes to beauty: When, why and how?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor  This department generally focuses on the teaching of secure music reading. Although our regular consideration of how to successfully teach students to play correct notes and rhythms is important, we also need to widen our view and consider how "music reading" becomes som...
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Who was Albert Pieczonka?

from the series: ​Putting It All Together: Repertoire & PerformanceNancy Bachus, EditorI do not remember when I first "discovered" the Tarantella in A Minor of Albert Pieczonka. I do know I have taught it many, many times, and always with great success. I measure "success" in different ways. One measure was that every student gre...
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You consistently have high school students that play extremely difficult repertoire such as Chopin Ballades. How do you prepare them to play this difficult repertoire at such a young age?

I am amazed when I see high school students effortlessly playing advanced repertoire, and I have observed that certain teachers seem to constantly have students at this level. Wondering how this is accomplished, I asked two such teachers, Paul Wirth and Donald Morelock, to share some of their methods. Of course success...
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What repertoire do you use when a student can play with only one hand, and how do you assign it?

from the series: ​Putting It All Together: RepertoireMarvin Blickenstaff, EditorAll teachers become skilled in dealing with the unexpected. Most of us have had stud en ts enter the studio with an arm in a sling or cast, or fingers wrapped in heavy bandages. Our creative juices start to flow and we improvise lessons and assignments which bend w...
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How do you include music history in the study of repertoire?

​from the series: Putting It All Together: Repertoire Marvin Blickenstaff, EditorMy student and I are looking over an edited version of a Bach Two-Part Invention. "Is there anything here on the page that Bach did not write?" I ask. "What about the metronome marking, and the tempo marking? How about these slurs and the staccatos here in the sec...
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What are your all-time favorite pieces?

from the series: ​​The Magic Triangle: Teacher/Student/Parent Barbara Kreader, Editor No matter what the music's style, familiarity breedsinterest.... Yet all music doesn't need to be familiarto hook a student's excitement. How many times did you teach "Für EIise" this year? Do you know every known arrangement of ...
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Do You Use Recordings to Reinforce Your Teaching of Repertoire?

from the series: ​Putting It All Together: Repertoire Marvin Blickenstaff, Editor"Listen carefully." How many times did you use that phrase yesterday in your lessons? Listen...for what? How? Why? Most of us readily would agree that the hallmarks of artistic playing involve shaping of sound, balance of the texture, and tone color appropria...
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A Fond Farewell (Für Elise)

Marvin Blickenstaff, Editorfrom the series: Putting It All Together: Repertoire One of the favorite photos I have hanging in my study is a shot of the original staff of Keyboard Companion. Pictured there is founding editor Richard Chronister and his dear wife Marjore, Elvina Pearce, Brenda Dillon, Cathy Albergo and husband Frank, Ste...
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Helping at Home: A Parent's Point of View

How Do You Buy Supplemental Music For Your Child?​Miami, Florida. Kristen Smith, nine, loves to visit music stores with her dad. Peter Smith, a choir member who plays piano by ear, peruses music for appropriate material and sings to Kristen as they shop. Then she decides whether or not to buy. Their collection includes hymns, Christmas mu...
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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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