Category Archives: Piano pedagogy

No tortoisian ambling, please

“Slow practice can be a complete waste of time if the mind is not working quickly. Simply to trawl through passages like a contented tortoise is a waste of the felt on your piano’s hammers. Good slow practice is more … Continue reading

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Somewhere over the rainbow

In the RCM Grade 9 piano repertoire book – a piano reduction of George Shearing’s arrangement of Harold Arlen’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Every grade 9 student latches onto this piece first. They’ve likely played simplified versions along the way, … Continue reading

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Don’t leave it to chance

I’m big on intervallic note-reading. Once the students get started, they’re away. But they need to get started. And sometimes restart mid-stream. At some point they need the ability to identify cold any given note on the grand staff. And … Continue reading

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Yay! I can just use my ear

or How To Pedal Chopin’s Waltzes Another great session at the recent APTA Conference was Allen Reiser’s Chopin in 3/4 Time. The Waltzes and Mazurkas. How they’re the same – and different – and a few tips on how to … Continue reading

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Don’t motivate. Inspire.

“I need you to motivate my daughter.” Red flag. Big Red flag. “She won’t practice. And she keeps telling me she won’t.” I accepted the student. I needed the money.  “She’s 13 and more interested in sports than music.” I’m … Continue reading

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Top Ten Technical Tools

… for first-year piano students. One more list to make me feel completely inadequate.* This is from a workshop by the indomitable Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield that I attended almost 20 years ago. I get depressed when I realize how many of … Continue reading

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When to apply for a piano exam

That’s obvious. When the student is ready, right? But is this how we really operate? I know I usually do things backwards. We – teacher/student/parent – decide at the beginning of the year that we’ll plan on doing a particular … Continue reading

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Quick. What comes before A?

No beginners this year, but still enough students who cannot tell me instantly what comes before C. Or after G. Time to haul out the alphabet drill again. Taken from one of Mary Gae George’s  videos, the drill consists simply … Continue reading

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The Back Room

It was a small war-time house with white wood siding and red trim. A few metres away sat a garage. The door was nearly falling off the hinges, barely protecting the navy blue VW bug inside. In June mature lilac … Continue reading

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No apps for me. Here’s why.

It started with Natalie. Her blog, Music Matters, has been around for awhile. What a treasure trove when I discovered it – 5 years ago maybe? I must have bumped up her hits substantially clicking on pretty much every category … Continue reading

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We’ve got it covered

Attending the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, held biennially in Lombard, Illinois, is on my bucket list. I haven’t made it there yet. Sigh. But in the meantime, I (we) can get a bit of a peek at some of … Continue reading

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Early Duets

I’m not really thinking much about fall teaching yet. I’m still enjoying the summer  - hiking, running, gardening, reading, devouring books on Expressionist art. But because a friend asked, here are my picks for ensemble materials. For first- and second-year … Continue reading

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