Monthly Archives: February 2011

Let’s Pretend

Susan Griesdale, author of the Rhythm Practice booklet that I wrote about last week, has written quite a number of collections of piano pieces. Let’s Pretend is a book of 14 enchanting piano solos that captures the storytelling spirit of … Continue reading

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Those wretched finger numbers… Some questions in hindsight.

For years I diligently whited out finger numbers from the early method books, aside from the starting finger, thinking I was forcing my students to read the notes better. There is probably some validity in this, but my chickens have … Continue reading

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Awards Ceremony

Last weekend we traveled to Edmonton for Conservatory Canada’s Alberta Provincial Awards Ceremony and Recital.  Three of my students received awards for having top marks in the province in their respective exams.  

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Enough for a lifetime.

Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for Music. ~Rachmaninoff Image: I Like Pianos

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Rhythm Practice

The timing could not have been better. Two of my students (brother and sister) are arriving in an hour, eager to start the metronome exercises that I promised them at the last lesson. I was mulling over the worksheets I … Continue reading

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APTA Workshop

A good crowd of piano teachers braved the frigid February weather to attend an APTA workshop this morning. Katrina Thompson Fost, a teacher here in Calgary,  gave a well-organized, thoughtful, well-presented session titled “Miles in Minutes.” She discussed the planning … Continue reading

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Nighttime is for sleeping.

The old idea of a composer suddenly having a terrific idea and sitting up all night to write it is nonsense. Nighttime is for sleeping. ~Benjamin Britten Image: Stojkaaa

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From The Cello Suites by Eric Siblin, subtitled J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece. The great Mstislav Rostropovich, late in his career, with reluctance finally recorded all six of Bach’s cello suites. He explained his … Continue reading

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Addendum to Examinations Post

A minute after I posted the column below, I checked in on Natalie’s Music Matters blog. Her topic for today is interval drills for ear-training. She poses some very good questions about the validity of these drills. As this is … Continue reading

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My Thoughts on Examinations

In Canada we have a deeply entrenched music examination system, as I know other countries do. It’s a system I’m on the whole quite thankful for but it does have its drawbacks for both the student and the teacher. Learning … Continue reading

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It’s easy

I “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.” ~Leonard Bernstein Image: beautifulopiate  Related articles Leonard Bernstein’s First “Young People’s Concert” at Carnegie Hall Asks, “What Does Music Mean?” (

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Artistry Update

I am continuing in my exploration of the Artistry at the Piano series. In recent weeks I’ve read some of the Pedagogy Manual (download) and watched one of Mary Gae George’s DVDs (Teaching MUSIC… not notes). I’ve mentioned one student … Continue reading

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