Monthly Archives: March 2011

Is Grade 1 harder than it used to be?

I’ve been teaching for about 30 years (counting the years I was a student myself) and it seems to me that traditional wisdom held that after 2 years of study a student was ready for grade 1.  This is not … Continue reading

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Peace Country by Christine Donkin

The Peace Country is the area in northwest Alberta and northeast British Columbia through which the Peace River flows. It is where Christine Donkin grew up, although she currently lives in Ottawa. In her words, “the music in this collection … Continue reading

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Am I Too Loud?

This is the question commonly asked by accompanists and the title of Gerald Moore’s memoirs – the English composer who did more than anyone else to elevate the status of the accompanist, now known as a collaborative pianist. I first … Continue reading

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How do you draw a Treble Clef?

The best way ever to teach a student to draw a treble clef can be found at http://pianodiscoveries.ca/. Anne Crosby Gaudet has created several you-tube videos and a corresponding workbook to teach notation. “Gina” takes the student through the steps to … Continue reading

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From Prairie to Pine

From Praire to Pine is a collection of Piano Solos by Saskatchewan composers, published by the Saskatchewan Registered Music Teachers’ Association for the Saskatchewan Centennial in 2005. The collection includes 25 pieces by 15 composers. Some are familiar names to … Continue reading

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Learning to Listen: Elementary Class

Because of scheduling issues, this ended up being a large class. I had 8 students ranging from age 7-10, most in their 3rd or 4th year of lessons, but with 2 who were first-years. This was the class I was … Continue reading

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Learning to Listen: Advanced Class

My Advanced Class had 6 teen-age girls and an adult who couldn’t make it to the Monday class. Most are playing at an advanced level. I did find this week that grouping them by age worked better than by level. … Continue reading

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Learning to Listen: Late Elementary Class

The “Late Elementary Class” consisted of five students, aged 9-12, ranging  from an older beginner to grade 3. I read recently (not sure where) that grouping students by age, rather than level, is more successful. For this reason, as well … Continue reading

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Learning to Listen: Beginner Class

This is Performance Class Week. Last night I had the Beginner Class – 6 students age 7-8, all first- or second-year students. These are fun kids. I dragged my 19-year-old son, Mark, into the studio and had him assist me … Continue reading

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Learning to Listen: A Lesson from my Adult Students

I have been made aware lately by several of my students that they are not hearing music like I think they are, or the way I think they should be. I’m trying to sort out the differences between what I … Continue reading

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Precipitations

Drizzle, Sunshower, Dry Spell, Racing the Storm… The words conjure up more than weather; they bring to mind a mood. In this collection of piano pieces called Precipitations, Martha Hill Duncan does a fine job of depicting the mood and … Continue reading

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The Cello Suites

The Cello Suites by Eric Siblin is a beautifully written book about J.S.Bach, Pablo Casals, and the mystery behind Bach’s Cello Suites. It is written by a former pop music critic who had his fill of Top 40 and longed … Continue reading

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