In this issue...
Video: A Useful Tool for TeachersA series of articles show readers recording techniques, equipment, materials, and applications in teaching that have been put to the test by a range of experts.
Also in this issue...
Alan Fraser discusses piano techniqueScott McBride Smith joins Canadian pianist Alan Fraser to discuss his understanding of piano technique. Includes in-depth looks into the structures and functions of hands, bones, and muscles.
Alsoin this issue...
Using Technology in TeachingIn the November/December 2014 issue, Clavier Companion launched a series of articles addressing the future of piano teaching. This article is part of that series, which will continue in future issues.
Also in this issue...
The Nuances of PedalingDevelop the "soul" of your foot with different kinds of musical pedaling from reverb pedaling, spark pedaling, rhythmic pedaling, and beyond.
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Piano teachers are not obliged to be good writers, though it certainly helps when trying to communicate one's services to potential students or parents. Fortunately, a few principles of clear, effective and persuasive writing can make all the difference to the success of your studio's website.
This article will focus on how to write an effective headline for your studio website's home page. Headlines are crucial because their major purpose is to get your website visitor's attention. If you don't get your visitor's attention, you've already lost them.
Every headline for a web page should follow at least two (and possibly three) principles:
- Get attention by grabbing the reader's interest
- Give them a reason to keep reading
If you are trying to get your website higher in the search engine rankings, your headline should also:
- Include keywords that people use to search for piano teachers in your area
If you include songwriting and/or music composition as a part of piano lessons, you already know how useful this can be to the study of structure, melody, harmony, and rhythm. Examining lyrics, poetry, and language also inspires students musically, in terms of developing musical phrases, as well as approaching stresses and rhythm. Even just a little exposure to these ideas can help to motivate students. Not only are they interpreting music to be played on their instruments, they are learning to analyze and evaluate music as a part of the creative process. As a result, other composer's pieces begin to take on new meaning as well.
I know the last time I promised to report on the book Make it Stick, The Science of Successful Learning and I do plan do that, but, for the moment I will do it in bits and pieces. Let’s start with some quotes from the chapter entitled “Embrace Difficulties” and put them together with a few other thoughts.
“Trying to solve a problem before being taught the solution (italics theirs) leads to better learning, even when errors are made in the attempt.”
“Learning always builds on a store of prior knowledge.”
“Elizabeth and Robert Bjork, who coined the phrase ‘desirable difficulties,’ write that difficulties are desirable because ‘they trigger encoding and retrieval processes that support learning, comprehension and remembering. If, however, the learner does not have the background knowledge or skills to respond to them successfully, they become undesirable difficulties.’”
My dear friend, James Sherlock, a young (30) and intensely gifted British pianist/organist/conductor (look him up—you won’t be disappointed) gave me this advice: “Your teacher is someone who is there to be a supportive presence on your journey.” He also said “The people who are unable to learn to play the piano fail because they won’t take an hour or two to solve every problem as it comes up.” (He is also a hard grader.) It was on James’ recommendation that I found my piano teacher.