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Reinforcing the same concepts a different way

Often, in my teaching, I find that I become bored with a piece or activity before my student does. I am excited to move on to the next new concept, new piece, or new technical skill. I constantly have to remind myself that the student hasn't been teaching piano for many years, they only come once a week to their lesson, and they just haven't experi...
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Preparation, Presentation, and Reinforcement: Triads and Inversions

  Many teachers are absolute sticklers for proper fingering in triads and inversions. I am one of these teachers. Witnessing an incorrect fingering creates an unreasonable anxiety, quite possibly out of proportion with the fingering infraction. Knowing this about myself, and less selfishly, knowing the importance of establishing "friendly habi...
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Preparation, Presentation, and Reinforcement

"Successful teaching at the early levels means three stages: Preparation, Presentation, and Reinforcement " – Marvin Blickenstaff  Below is a list of phrases or activities that might be seen or heard in a lesson. See if you can decide which item belongs in each of these three categories: Preparation, Presentation, and Reinforcement. "Let's sig...
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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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Building Better Practicers

One of our greatest responsibilities as teachers is to provide our students with the skills and strategies to practice and improve independently. In working to attain this goal, we carefully plan our students' course of study, meticulously analyze their pieces, and walk our students through detailed workouts of their new repertoire in their lessons...
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Of Robots and Clones

  "Motivating students to practice and developing students who know how to use their practice time wisely is our biggest single challenge as teachers." – Frances Clark It seems quite simple: We teachers give our students excellent practice guidelines, our students practice in precisely the way we have painstakingly communicated via assignment ...
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EXPERIENCING Music

"Teaching is not what you say or do. Teaching is what you have the STUDENT experience in your presence." –Sam Holland  What do we want the student to EXPERIENCE in the lesson? I don't have to think about it very long to come to the conclusion that what I want my students to experience through their lesson is good music. Regardless of where the...
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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 ...
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Teacher "Talk and Tell" Vs. Student "Discover and Do"

During my fourteen years as an instructor of piano pedagogy at the collegiate level, one aspect of my work was to observe the teaching of interns enrolled in the course and then follow-up with one-on-one conferences in which the lesson happenings were discussed. I recall that one of the major issues which was addressed in nearly every post-lesson c...
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Ease and Excitement

"Never send students home with a piece without capturing their interest and excitement in the piece, and giving them a sense that they can master it easily." – Frances Clark One part of this quote particularly permeated Frances Clark's lectures: "A sense that they can master it easily." If the students feel they "can" and they are also are excited ...
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The 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 and learning.

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