In this issue...
Beyond the KeyboardIs there more to teaching piano than reading and technique? Do we teach reading too soon? What is the most effective sequence for teaching music? Read this thought-provoking address from one of the most influential music educators of the twentieth century.
Also in this issue...
The Teaching Legacy of Rosina LhévinneThese notes, taken directly from Lhevinne's legendary masterclasses, include her invaluable advice on pedaling, memorization, the music of Beethoven and Chopin, and more.
Also in this issue...
What are the best practices?In business, research usually drives practice, allowing the business to adapt new knowledge. However, the field of piano teaching is sadly lacking in this area. Learn how to become a more effective teacher by examining current trends.
Also in this issue...
Nine practice habits of highly ineffective pianistsPianist, teacher, and composer Peter Janecwicz gives his witty perspective on being an ineffective pianist. "It is with these simple, profound, yet oddly appealing strategies that you too can hone your piano skills to the transcendentally lackadaisical standard that your heart so desires."
Now for iPad and iPhone...
The Clavier Companion appWith the Clavier Companion app, subscribers have full access to all the content of the print magazine, plus enhanced multimedia features complementing selected articles. Receive Clavier Companion the moment it is published, and enjoy access to purchased issues for life! Prices start at just $4.99!
by Leila Viss
While preparing an article for my column "Teaching with Apps" in Clavier Companion, I got stuck. My objective was to name the top five apps I'd recommend for first-time iPad owners. There were just too many favorites and the fifth one was not "rising to the top" as expected. So, I decided to gather the opinions of other teachers to help determine the fifth app to appear on the short list. To do this, I posted the following question in the iPad Piano Teachers Facebook Group administered by Linda Christensen.
If you had to recommend five apps for teaching piano, what would they be? Don't think about it too long, just go.
Around 35 teachers replied to the post and their "votes" were tallied. The five apps teachers listed the most frequently are featured first. Next, I include the four apps I selected for the Clavier Companion article. The names of additional apps suggested by fellow teachers follow in alphabetical order.
As a new iPad owner and piano teacher I hope you find this list helpful as you integrate the iPad into your instruction. For veteran iPad piano teachers, you may find the list enlightening and discover new apps to add to your already-crowded mobile device.
My decade long study of piano as a youth was not exactly swimming with solfege. In fact, when it came to solfege, it was bone dry. Other than seeing Julie Andrews sing “Do, a Deer” and having the occasional brush with solfege hand signs in my general music classes in elementary school, my solfege education didn’t really begin until my college theory classes. In those classes, when I was formally introduced to solfege (the moveable Do variety) and was taught to use it in transposing simple melodies and harmonies, I was shocked by how it made music theory gel for me. This revelation was truly enlightening – angel choirs singing, light bulbs illuminating, dark clouds parting – it was THAT transformative for me!
Solfege transpositions led me to a much better understanding of diatonic harmony, which improved my sight-reading dramatically as I started “seeing” the underlying harmonic structures in the music I was playing. Solfege also improved my ability to “think within a key”, so I could improvise, arrange, and compose far more capably than before. And solfege patterns were so ridiculously simple, that I wondered why I hadn’t been taught them when I was six years old.
The Internet is funny. In some ways, browsing the web is almost the opposite of studying the piano. Learning how to play the piano trains attention, whereas browsing the web fractures it. In fact, it's been said that the average website visitor decides within seven seconds whether to keep reading. The question that every visitor is asking during those seven seconds, even if they don't know it, is "Am I in the right place? "
All your website really needs to do is answer this question in the affirmative for as many visitors as possible, and then give them an easy way to take action. Here are three important strategies for doing just that. You can learn many more by reading my series, Piano Studio Website Strategies.
#1: Use Second Person
Prospective piano students and parents read your website with their own needs in mind. Believe it or not, you and your accomplishments are probably not the most important thing to them. On the home page especially, avoid being the ego-centered musician who proudly trumpets your successes (save this for your "About" page). Instead, focus on the reader's interests by making liberal use of the words "you" and "your."