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DIGITAL-ONLY CONTENT: Music for the intermediate pianist by eight women composers

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Editor's note: This is a companion piece to the January/February 2018 article, "Women of exceptional  accomplishment: Eight women composers" by Teresa Rupp, found here . Anyone who thinks there is a lack of piano music by women composers from previous centuries hasn't looked too hard. Take the music of these eight composers as a great example....
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Jan/Feb 2018 Pupil Saver - Nocturne by Catherine Rollins

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Nocturne from the collection Spotlight on Romantic Style by Catherine Rollin (Alfred) is an accessible and motivating piece for the intermediate pianist. My first encounter with Rollin's music was her Concerto Romantique when I was searching for a first concerto for a piano student. I was, and continue to be, impressed with how captivating her musi...
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New music reviews: November/December 2017

(S3) From Sight to Sound: 6 Original PIano Solos, by Randall Hartsell.  Randall Hartsell composed From Sight to Sound to express the "interconnectedness of nature and our lives," and this collection contains six reflective pieces characterized by melodic simplicity and harmonic richness. The collection capitalizes on the piano's capacity for c...
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Moving from Sonatina to Sonata: Bridging the gap with Johann Wilhelm Hässler

Progressing from late-intermediate level sonatinas by Clementi and Kuhlau to early-advanced level sonatas by Mozart and Haydn can be a challenge for students. The piano repertoire does not have many well-structured eighteenth-century pieces of good musical quality by well-known composers that bridge this gap. The Six Easy Sonatas by Johann Wilhelm ...
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Pupil Saver: Set your alarm

Students are sure to make time for Kevin Olson's energetic early-intermediate piece Time's Up! (FJH). The imaginative use of changing meters and brisk tempo give this piece a delightful spontaneity and definitely make it an enjoyable introduction to asymmetrical time signatures. The A section, in 5/4 meter, uses the treble clef for both hands. Thou...
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Bumping into Brahms: A conversation about the Intermezzo, Op. 118, No. 2

JM: Oh! Sorry sir, you startled me! I almost bumped into you. But wait, I know you! Are you not Herr Doktor Brahms? Brahms : Guten Tag? Bitte, kein Doktor. I am amazed that we have somehow encountered one another here. Might it be because I have played so many of your wonderful song accompaniments and piano pieces recently? Would you possibly be wi...
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Pupil Saver: Jamaican Rumba by Arthur Benjamin

Once again, my high school student—who seems to be involved in every activity possible—needed a unique piece. I had in mind what I wanted: The piece needed to be fairly short, patterned for quick and easy learning, impressive, and infrequently played (that last requirement was more for me than for the student). I found the perfect piece, Austr...
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Winds of Change: July/August 2017

Pianists are blessed with an incredibly rich, diverse repertoire. I have thought a lot recently about how one chooses a recital program—so much to learn, so little time. Risking too much self-revelation, I will share the experience of my most recent attempt to reach an audience. Much of this column is based on the program notes I wrote for the reci...
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Book review: Piano Duet Repertoire

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First published in 1981, Cameron McGraw's useful Piano Duet Repertoire is an invaluable resource for teachers and ensemble pianists. In this second edition, duo-pianists Christopher and Katherine Fisher have updated and enlarged McGraw's volume to a book almost twice its original size. As in the first edition, the volume contains two appendices—"Co...
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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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Pupil Saver: Mendelssohn Song without words, Op. 30, No. 6

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Stress reduction at the piano It's  exciting to see a student advance after years of diligent work, but often the thought of moving on to larger works is daunting and stressful, especially for those students juggling too many activities. That big piece will never be finished, and interest wanes. One solution for student burnout is Felix Mendel...
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Enrique Granados's musical postcards

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The centennial of Enrique Granados's death in 2016 and the sesquicentennial of his birth in 2017 allow musicians an opportunity to celebrate the piano works of the Spanish author, pianist, composer, and pedagogue, who lived from 1867 to 1916. Granados is considered to be the "Father of the Modern Catalán School of Piano." After a two-year...
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The teaching of Enrique Granados

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In addition to being a great composer, Enrique Granados was also a dedicated and innovative teacher whose pedagogical approach has been explored only recently. Many of his ideas were not published during his lifetime, but rather entered into his diaries, passed on to his pupils verbally, and annotated on scores. Many of his pedagogical works were, ...
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William Gillock: A centennial retrospective

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"To provide a musically thrilling experience." --Willam Gillock, on the purpose of student piano literature ​ I often ask my piano pedagogy students to take a few moments to reflect on their motivations for being a music major. After all, studying music is challenging and time consuming, and there's no clear-cut promise of financial riches at the e...
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New Music Reviews: May/June 2017

(S3) Aurora: 5 Original Solos Inspired by the North , by Naoko Ikeda. Japanese composer Naoko Ikeda composed five lyrical character pieces based upon "the Scandanavian landscapes of [her] own imagination." Aurora has the potential to motivate intermediate students, especially those who enjoy music with lyrical phrasing and expressive timing. Ikeda ...
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Closer Look May/June 2017: New Ways with Bach

(S4) Bach Meets Jazz: 15 Well-Tempered Classics, arranged by Phillip Keveren. Phillip Keveren's latest arrangements will entertain anyone who loves Bach. In Bach Meets Jazz, Keveren cleverly adds a jazzy spin to fifteen popular Bach works. All the original melodies in these two-to-three-page arrangements are recognizable throughout, and the setting...
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Pupil Saver: The Song of Twilight

The Song of Twilight," by Japanese composer Yoshinao Nakada (Frederick Harris Celebration Series: Piano Repertoire, Level 3 ), is an accessible and motivating piece for the late-elementary pianist. When I prepared students for the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, many students chose this piece as their finale because of its soaring mel...
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Playing composers' slurs: From Mozart to the nineteenth century

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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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Winds of Change: March/April 2017

Change has been on our minds a lot lately. When I coined the name of this column in 2009, I had no idea how prescient it was (some of these recent changes would have been hard to predict even a year ago). With the future certain only insofar as there will be a future, please allow me some personal ruminations about "modern music" and its role in br...
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Amy Beach: Celebrating 150 years

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Many years ago, while reading an issue of the old music magazine, The Etude, I found an article written by Mrs. H. H. A. Beach: "Ten Commandments for Composers." I had no idea who this mystery composer was, so I began my research to find information about her life and music. During my travels, I stopped at antique stores looking for editions of her...
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