Category Archives: Theory

Composers refuse to be bound by rules

“Some people will perhaps wonder why I have undertaken to write about music, there being so many works by outstanding men who have treated the subject most thoroughly and learnedly; and more especially, why I should be doing so just … Continue reading

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“Rule” should be a four-letter word

Ersatz: being a usually artificial and inferior substitute or imitation. (Merriam-Webster) “Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” This quote by Debussy was Wednesday’s post. I didn’t think a lot about it – just wanted … Continue reading

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Okay. I’ll share my secret.

None of my students ever get the interval of a minor sixth wrong on the ear test portion of the exams. Ever. Forget the sappy Love Story tune. So not appealing to anyone under the age of 40. Maybe even … Continue reading

Posted in Examinations, Piano pedagogy, Practice Tips, Studio News, Theory, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

You don’t have to understand music…

…to enjoy music. A warm, inspiring video about the enjoyment of music. A reminder to those of us who teach to not let the theoretical stuff crowd out the love and beauty and joy.  

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On the “lowering of standards”

The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM), Canada’s largest exam system, recently announced changes to the theory requirements for their diploma, the Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto (ARCT). I jumped for joy, in a manner of speaking, when I … Continue reading

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The devil’s interval

The tritone – that interval of 3 whole tones (augmented fourth/diminished fifth) – harsh, dissonant, one of the cornerstones of our music since about 1600 because of its tension and then demand for a sweet release. Those two notes (F-B) … Continue reading

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Too. Much. Paper.

Walls are re-painted. Most stuff on the walls has been stashed away. Music has been sorted, culled, and given away. Time to tackle the paper. And ditch the guilt. The plethora of music theory resources – so much of it … Continue reading

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The big gun

Week 3 of the summer teaching schedule. Week 3 of the intense “let’s improve your reading” campaign with one of my early advanced students – blogged about here. Two weeks ago, in addition to what I blogged about I sent … Continue reading

Posted in Piano pedagogy, Practice Tips, Sight Reading, Studio News, Technic, Theory | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Dark Romantic

Jay Gatsby – In the Hall of the Mountain King – Cliff Barnes from Dallas (old TV drama) – Hotel California – all associated with the key of B minor, according to a quite fun series put together by CBC … Continue reading

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How to Ace a History Exam

Here’s where I hold my nose and go against all my principles of educating. The topic of the music history exams was being discussed on a forum recently (Royal Conservatory of MusicĀ in Canada; TheĀ Achievement Program in the US). The syllabus … Continue reading

Posted in Books about Music, Examinations, Theory | Tagged | 2 Comments

Music as medicine

Joy Morin at Color in My Piano posted the following quote today: “Music is the medicine of the breaking heart.” ~Leigh Hunt, English essayist and poet The Lacrymosa from Mozart’s requeim is the perfect medicine for a breaking heart – … Continue reading

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The One-Minute Club

As the year begins to wind down (from my perspective, possibly not from the students’ perspective!), my goal for a number of my 2nd and 3rd year students is to be able to say the letter-names of all the notes … Continue reading

Posted in Piano pedagogy, Sight Reading, Theory | Tagged , | 10 Comments