September/October 2018: Pupil Saver

From the "Motivating Bookshelf Logan is sitting on the piano bench, his mother behind us. Logan and I are discussing repertoire for both short- and long-term goals.Logan is in soccer, tennis, robotics, piano, violin, and a plethora of church activities. Following a polished performance of "The Little White Donkey" from Jacques Ibert's Histoire...
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Deciphering Chopin’s shorthand in the posthumous Mazurka in F minor

​If someone had told me a decade ago that I was going to produce the first (and, so far, only) published reconstruction of Chopin's posthumous Mazurka in F Minor that includes every uncanceled measure of the composer's sketch, I would have laughed. But apparently when a performance opportunity inspires a research obsession, unexpected things can ha...
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Performing Chopin in the style of Chopin?

Interest in historically-informed performance continues to evolve as scholars and serious-minded pianists gain more knowledge regarding nineteenth-century performing styles. Though much progress has been made in this field, a question still remains: Is there a definitive performance practice that enables pianists to play the works of Chopin in the ...
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Touching Debussy, Teaching Alchemy

faries-are-dancing The Fairies are Exquisite Dancers, Illustration in 'Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens' by J.M Barrie
Sound is touch at a distance. Jad Abumrad, from Radiolab"Sound is touch at a distance." I heard this quote at a recent talk given by Radio Lab creator, Jad Abumrad, and I couldn't get it out of my mind. Over and over it repeated itself. Mothers sing to babies after they put them down as a way of continuing physical contact, Jad told us. So, is...
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Elizabeth Medici
Wonderful discussion of Debussy's elegant and refined style that gives us so much emotional freedom at the piano. It is also a ver... Read More
Thursday, 12 July 2018 10:22
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First Debussy piano pieces with pedagogical advice

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Claude Debussy was a person of great restraint and even considered elusive by some. He was not concerned with the technical issues of a pianist, and yet was highly attentive to the quality of a pianissimo and its relationship to softer or louder levels of sound. We know his playing generally did not reach a forceful fortissimo. He cared less about ...
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Connections between the music of the United States and Claude Debussy

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It has been more than one hundred years since Claude Debussy was composing masterpieces that were part of a general revolutionary movement that challenged European musical traditions. Debussy was looking for ways to distinguish himself as unique and French, while at the same time using sources from other countries. He found inspiration in varied an...
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July/August 2018: Pupil Saver

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A grand setting for C minorby Carmen DoubrovaSome students diligently practice their repertoire pieces, but are less enthused about scales and exercises. Fortunately, long ago, I discovered Ballade from Betty Colley's early-intermediate collection Styles for Piano (Kjos). This piece is a brilliant study of the natural minor scale.The C-minor k...
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Linda Mannering
Hello Carmen, Thank you for this article. I cannot find Betty Colley's early-intermediate collection Styles for Piano (Kjos) or ... Read More
Saturday, 21 July 2018 09:33
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Why don't you come out of the pantry? Is left-handed piano music anything more than just a historical curiosity?

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Why should a pianist with both hands in perfectly working order bother to devote their time and energy to study—not to mention perform—compositions or arrangements for the left hand alone? Is there any value in exposing oneself to that obscure genre? And what if you actually have some inclination towards it, but a...
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From Schumann to Schoenberg

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Cover: Blaues Selbstportrait, 1910 by SchoenbergBreakfast was not a good idea before tackling measures seven and eight that featured sixty-fourth notes and tremolos, as well as a meter shift from 6/8 and 3/8 to 2/4, among other mind-bending directions. Is playing music meant to induce nausea? At age ten, I took one year of piano lessons. Adole...
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March/April 2018: Pupil Saver

Got a Pupil Saver? We love to hear from you. If you are interested in submitting your Pupil Saver for consideration, please contact Susan Geffen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Pikes Peak Rag by Melody BoberSometimes, a jaunty little rag is just what students need to rejuvenate their musical juices. Melody Bober's thirty-measure early-interme...
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​​Too much of a good thing: The dangers of over-demonstrating in a piano lesson

The Piano Lesson.1871, George Goodwin Kilburne
The scope of teaching tools at the disposal of any music instructor is often as rich as the music they teach. Since the earliest days of education, there has been an ongoing evolution of what teaching is, how learning happens, what role the teacher plays in a pupil's education, and what teaching methods produce the highest degree of learning.A prim...
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Celebrating the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage

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 In March of 2017, I had a delightful experience that I thought I'd share with you, and as a result, introduce you to some exciting and marvelous music you may wish to explore further.In 1917, women were given the right to vote in New York State. Three years later, on August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote w...
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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. Mo...
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Alice Peterson
Gail Smith's Women Composers in History music collection is a mainstay in my studio alongside the Maurice Hinson edition, as are ... Read More
Sunday, 20 October 2019 14:12
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Jan/Feb 2018 Pupil Saver - Nocturne by Catherine Rollins

Pupil Saver
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. Thoug...
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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 willi...
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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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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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