Introducing Classical Music to Children

A friend recently emailed a wonderful NPR article to me about introducing classical music to kids. I think it makes an excellent point that children really are so open to experiencing great music, and that we should give them opportunities to listen to and experience the classics. I know that my own son loves music, and especially seems to react wonderfully to the classics - singing classical tunes over and over during playtime, dancing around the room to a Beethoven sonata, listening so intently (and seeming to be so almost moved) by beautiful orchestra works.

I love this paragraph from the article:
The music belongs to children just as much it belongs to "us" — the ones with the years of listening experience, who have already absorbed current conventions of concert-going practice (don't applaud between movements, obey the dress code, etc.), and who might well have had years of formal training. Classical music isn't a museum piece to be looked at and not touched, as it were.

From the video included at the end of the article, I also discovered some fun videos for youngsters about classical music. Take a look!


Let's play!

I was recently told by a family member about a music program for children called Let's Play Music. I was perusing their website and just had to share this video about the program...it not only looks like a fabulous program for young children (and so much fun!), but made me SO excited about teaching music to youngsters! I love their philosophy that music is learned best through play; I think that it is so important to help young children experience the fun and joy in music. I feel so motivated and inspired to make my own preschool program tons of fun as well!


Preschool Music: Methods & Schools of Thought

So, my mind has been on early childhood music education a lot lately (remember my preschool piano camp?).

my darling son!
I think it's probably in large part because I have a three-year-old son who loves music. I loved what Heather Wilson said in her guest post about the seasons of our lives. I feel like in my life and the season I am in right now (being a young mom to a preschooler), my son's age and development seem to be guiding my musical activities a bit....and I love it! I want him to have access to a great music education, if he so desires, and I love teaching these preschool classes that he can attend with me and we can learn and play together!

We have visited the topic of preschool music a lot here lately, but this week I'd like to delve a little deeper (honestly, because I am so interested in this topic right now - hopefully some of you are as well!). I'd like to talk about the different "schools of thought" of early childhood music education this week, and learn a little more about the people who greatly influenced this movement. I also am so interested in all of the different preschool music methods and programs out there, so we might mention some of those as well.

Digging through my old college notes, I have found so many interesting things to re-read and to research a bit. Here are a few quick tidbits, including a little research on musicality in children, and some basic information on the great influences on preschool music (and please click on the links to learn more if you so desire!).

A little research and some facts about musicality in children, by age

Ages 2 1/2-3: recognition and imitation of folk tunes, often in the form of multiple repetitions of learned fragments and variations; by the end of the third year of life a rhythmic structure is learned

Ages 3-4: capable of reproducing an entire song, as far as overall contour goes (accurate pitch is not always possible)

Age 5: able to keep a steady beat, sing an entire song in the same key with an increasing awareness of pitch

"Critical to musical development in the earliest years is the home environment. Opportunities, not just to hear music, but to interact in musical games and activities is critical to emotional and psychological development....It is becoming increasingly apparent that all human beings are biologically predisposed to be musical and that this inborn predisposition for musicality has important consequences for us not only artistically, but emotionally and socially, as well."

Influences on Early Childhood Music

Emile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950)
Basics of his philosophy: full body movement (eurythmic practices), solfege and aural training, keyboard improvisation. Sound can be translated into motion and motion can be translated into sound.
Learn more: here

Carl Orff (1895-1982)
Basics of his philosophy: teaching rhythm and melody with speech, singing, movement and percussion instruments; instrument performance and personal expression
Learn more: here

Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967)
Basics of his philosophy: Music literacy through native folk songs; melodic and rhythmic perception come from use of patterns in singing games and folk songs; solfege
Learn more: here

Now, I would love to hear what specific preschool music programs you teach, have taught, have enrolled your children in or that you have heard about - leave a comment telling us what the program is (whether it be Kindermusik, Musikgarten, Let's Play Music, etc.) and what you like about it!


Weekend Repertoire: La fille aux cheveux de lin

Today's piece: La fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair), by Debussy
Level: Early Advanced
Teaches: sound, color, impressionism, attention to rhythm, playing big, interesting chords
Listen: to this video of Michelangeli performing this piece (such a beautiful recording!); or, how about a gorgeous violin version?
Find the music: in this great collection of Debussy's Preludes, Book 1

Debussy -- Preludes, Bk 1 (Alfred Masterwork Editions)

This gorgeous piece is one that is close to my heart, as it is in my mind the first "real" difficult classical piano piece I learned. 

I began piano lessons while in the first grade, and took for about six and a half years from a wonderful woman in my neighborhood who taught me to love the piano. I loved piano lessons, but as I progressed quickly I soon outgrew her experience and training. I played through ALL of the levels of the Schaum and Eckstein method books while taking lessons from her, and then near the end of my time taking lessons from her she found me a book of piano classics. 

I am ever grateful for my Dad, who always listened to classical music at home and even played a little by ear on the piano. He had a "favorite song" that he encouraged me to learn on my own - Debussy's La fille aux cheveux de lin. Really it was far above the level of the pieces I was learning at the time, but I was ready and loved the challenge. I learned it quickly and memorized it on my own. When I auditioned to study with my new teacher while I was in the seventh grade, I played this piece for her. I remember her smiling after I played it and saying something like, "How fitting - the girl with the flaxen hair is playing The Girl with the Flaxen Hair!"

So, I count this piece as the piece I have known the longest. I absolutely love it and it means a lot to me! Its beautiful harmonies are gorgeous and so fun to play. 

When teaching this piece, it is so important to help our students learn how to produce a beautiful sound. Concepts such as tone and color can be introduced or developed using this piece. It is a great piece to use to teach impressionism. I think it is helpful to listen to versions of this piece played on different instruments (such as the violin version linked to above) and to have them listen specifically for tone colors and sound that they can strive to produce on the piano.

Aside from all of these important sound qualities of this piece, I think that RHYTHM is very important when learning this prelude. If we are not careful, it is easy to get lazy with the rhythms and not hold notes at the end of phrases long enough. In fact, I have the tendency to shortchange some of these rhythms myself, having learned it a bit incorrectly in certain places. I like to have my students learn this piece with the metronome, paying strict attention to the rhythms and counting out loud. Try it out - you may be surprised at some of the rhythms! After the rhythms are learned correctly and solidified, the student can then add in their rubato and expression on top of the framework of the correct rhythm.

I just love this piece! What piece is near and dear to your heart?


Summer Teaching Ideas

Summer is a great time for piano lessons. Unfortunately, many students (and parents) think that summer is a time for taking a break from piano lessons! This is so sad to me, because not only do students lose ground (and have to spend the first month or two of the fall making it up), they also lose the extra opportunities that the summer provides. Make sure your students know that you will continue teaching through the summer, and talk to them about the fun things you will be doing in their lessons.

(On a scheduling note, what I do is ask parents to tell me up front the dates of any family vacations, summer camps, and other conflicts. Usually these types of things are scheduled well in advance. I then look at where the holes in my schedule will be, and put students in those holes when they are in town—which means they will sometimes come twice in a week or for a double lesson (more about those later)—to make up for when they will be out of town. This way my income stays fairly consistent, and I don't have a huge list of makeup lessons to do at the end of the summer.)

Here are some of the things I do with my students during the summer that we don't always have time for during the school year:

  • Composing: We have a composition recital at the end of each summer, and we also put together a book of everyone's compositions as a keepsake. Having the students learn to notate their own compositions is also a valuable theory lesson.
  • Playing by ear: Make a list of well-known tunes and send your students home each week with a melody to figure out by ear. If this is easy for them, have them add LH chords and try different keys. If they master that, have them experiment with different arrangements—break up the LH chords, add harmonic notes in the RH under the melody, move the melody to the LH, etc.
  • Improvising: This is related to playing by ear, but more on-the-spot, and could use a familiar melody or a composed one. Teach about chord progressions and melodic construction. For beginners, have the student improvise the melody while you play the chords. Try having the student use only black keys while you play a repeating chord progression in the key of F#.
  • Jazz: Okay, I don't really teach a lot of this, since I am not well-trained in jazz techniques myself, but I thought I'd include it since it's a good idea. And you might have some extra time to take a class yourself and learn some techniques to pass on to your students.
  • Transposing: Start with simple folk tunes and move on to more complicated pieces. Students have to read completely by intervals which is great for their sight-reading as well.
  • Theory: Ha! Of course your students do their theory diligently throughout the school year, so why have I included this? Because even the best students occasionally get out of the habit of completing those weekly theory assignments, and the summer is a great time to set some new goals and re-commit. Theory is also an essential part of all of the things I have listed so far, so if you are teaching composition, improv, etc. your students need to understand the theory behind what they are doing.
  • Duets/Trios/Quartets: We have an ensemble recital every summer, which is a great opportunity for students to make new friends and experience the pleasure of making music in groups—something which the solitary pianist rarely gets to do.
  • Accompanying: For another type of ensemble experience, find a voice or instrumental teacher that you can do a combined recital with, and match up your students with soloists or groups that need an accompanist. The skills they develop will be among the most valuable they can gain in their time with you.
  • Sight-Reading: This is another skill that is extremely valuable, and will be the determining factor in whether or not your students continue to play the piano after they stop lessons (which 99% of students eventually do, even those of us who study it in college). Use the more relaxed pace of summer lessons to spend extra time on sight-reading skills.
  • Basic Skills: flashcard quizzes, review of intervals, counting, etc. If these skills are not completely mastered, what better way could you use your time? Use the summer to conquer them once and for all.
Regarding double lessons/multiple lessons in a week: there are so many valuable things to fill this time with! Use the extra time to practice with the student and teach practice skills in more depth than you usually have time for. Or spend the extra time working on a new composition, learning to improvise, doing flashcards, or working on sight-reading skills. These double lessons can be some of your best lessons if you use the time well and take advantage of the momentum you can maintain in a longer lesson.

I hope these ideas are helpful as you are looking forward to summer this year. Please share more ideas in the comments!


Summer Teaching Survey Results

Thanks to all who responded to our survey! I loved reading your great ideas for summer lessons. Anyone have other ideas to add?

Tell us about summertime in your music studio - what do you do differently? What fun camps or activities do you have planned? What does your summer look like this year?  

  • This summer I am doing a 6 week course called "A Classical Summer". Each student will be assigned a classical composer to learn about. 1-2 songs from that composer will be learned. Our weekly 30 minute lesson will be less formal as we work on compiling information on the composer & how to put the "report" together. We'll be doing more hands on activities as well. On week 6, a group lesson will be held for each student to give a creative "report" on their assigned composer & then play their learned pieces. I have talked with my Piano Technician & scheduled a group lesson for week 4 to have him come & talk to the students about the piano, how it works, what "tuning" is, & also general information for the parents on what to look for when searching for a used piano to buy. I am excited to start summer lessons already!
  • I give students the option of four to eight lessons, paying four lessons in advance. We schedule on an individual basis, and we only do fun pieces of their choice and popular repertoire. If they are beginners, we continue in the lesson books. I always look forward to the break from every day teaching, and I enjoy looking for new music, attending workshops at my local music stores, and organizing my studio.
  • I require each student to pay for eight lessons. That gives me a few off, them a few off, but keeps them fairly consistent in lessons. I also try to be more flexible with scheduling. Students who want more than eight lessons can pay for the extra lessons one at a time. I tend to do more games in lessons and work on fun songs to keep summer exciting!
  • I offer "packages"of either 4, 6, or 8 lessons where families choose to take that many lessons during the summer. Once upon a time when I made my packages larger (8 or 10 lessons), I had so many families that didn't take lessons because they didn't want that many. I figure I would rather see students (and get paid for) 4 lessons than nothing. Generally all my students take lessons, with the exception of those that are out of town all summer. Families choose which days they come and request times that work best (mornings, late afternoons or evenings). I don't promise them the same time each week they come like I would during the school year. I also offer a summer piano session where students without a piano come and take 6 lessons, usually 1 lesson each week. This is like a merger between standard private lessons and a piano camp. Obviously students aren't excepted to practice on a piano between lessons (I encourage them to practice finger numbers, note names, etc) and if they wish to buy a piano and keep taking lesson in the fall, I essentially start from the beginning again. Currently about half the students that do the trial session continue with lessons so it's a great way to acquire new students. (it's essentially a 6 week interview, so I know what to expect come fall!)
  • My summer is the same as usual. In my part of the world, Canada, kids go to school from Labour day until the end of June, so we break for the summer and come back refreshed and ready to go when school starts in September.


Summer Piano Movie Night!

There are lots of great flicks out there about the piano and music, or that feature some great piano performances - many of which might be great for showing clips of at a studio class of some sort, or for curling up and having your very own summer piano movie night!

They Came to Play
This is a film about the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, hosted by the Van Cliburn Foundation. An inspiring film for any pianist - even for those who may take a few years off for some reason or other (which I love because as a young mother it is hard to find the time to practice!). I know that this film is available for instant streaming on Netflix!

The Music Instinct: Science & Song (PBS)
This is a fascinating documentary about the relationship between music and the brain. Also available on Netflix instant streaming, for those of you who do Netflix.

The Art of Piano: Great Pianists of the 20th Century
I have yet to watch this whole film, but recently discovered it on YouTube and I am so excited to watch it and learn more about famous pianists!

Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L1037
I just barely started watching this a couple of days ago and still need to finish it, but find it so interesting! I think it's wonderful to learn about the process of making a great piano. This is also available on Netflix!

Any Victor Borge special!
Who doesn't love Victor Borge? I think I may need to add this to my wishlist!
Victor Borge Classic Collection

How about some Marx Brothers?
I was introduced to the Marx Brothers by my husband and in-laws, and these are so fun to watch! These guys are really so talented. You gotta love their technique, especially their glissandos!

What other movies would you add to the list?


Weekend Repertoire: Album Leaf by Gliere

Today's piece: Album Leaf, Op. 31, No. 11, from 12 Children's Pieces, by Reinhold Gliere (who, by the way, taught Prokofiev at the Moscow Conservatory)
Level: Late intermediate
Teaches: Artistry, including beautiful phrasing, graded dynamics, sound production, playing with expression, rubato - you name it, this piece is very Romantic with a slightly modern twist!
Listen: I wish I could find a recording, but I can't!
Find the music: I found it in this great Repertoire book by Lynn Freeman Olson. I have also seen it online here  and here.

So I found this great little piece while playing through some music I have. It is perfect for the late intermediate student to work on artistry. It is the subtle nuance, the slight change of color and sound, and the careful phrasing that will make this short little Romantic piece, or break it. If you can help your student to achieve a truly beautiful performance of this piece, the audience will be on the edge of their seats, enchanted by the beautiful harmonies and use of dynamics. I think the thing I love about this piece are the beautiful dissonant harmonies that resolve so subtly and beautifully. It makes me want to watch some old classic romance, like An Affair to Remember. sigh....


Planning a Piano Camp

Today I wanted to talk about planning a piano camp! I'm going to share a few ideas and suggestions, and I hope that many of you readers (who have planned many more camps than I have!) will share your suggestions and wisdom as well.

Things to consider when planning a piano camp:

  • What age group/level will your camp be available to? - the camps I have planned have been for preschoolers age 3-5 :)
  • Who is your target audience in advertising for your camp? Is it current students who are already in your studio? Or are you using this as a tool to find new students in the community? Are you advertising to the community at large? To friends and neighbors? To people who attend your church?
  • How many days/how long will your camp run? We decided on five 50-minute sessions during one week's time. The last day is a Parents' Day where the parents come and join in, see what their children have been learning and hear a little "recital," then we give out certificates and present the children with their binders of camp activities to take home.
  • What do you want the focus of your camp to be? Music theory? Performance? Music appreciation? Duets/ensemble playing? Piano fundamentals? - the purpose of my camp is to introduce preschoolers to music and to the piano, and we teach piano fundamentals, music & movement, basic music theory, etc.
  • Are you going to use an already-prepared curriculum, or write your own? I wrote my own curriculum, and started out by jotting down all sorts of game/activity ideas and brainstorming with the other instructor. We decided on a few main concepts that we wanted to teach, and went from there.
  • Scheduling activities/planning the curriculum: we found it helpful to have a similar schedule/routine each day of the camp - this helped in planning and is nice to have a predictable routine for the kids to count on. We broke the activities into different categories, such as instruction/story time (we taught a lot of keyboard concepts in the form of a story of some sort - it really captured their attention!), music & movement activities (which usually got them up and moving around while learning different concepts), table time (where we would either do some kind of craft or review/learning activity while sitting at a table), time at the piano, etc. We found that it was important to have a variety of activities, and to break up the high-energy games with some lower-energy, sit-down activities.
  • What materials will you need? How much will the materials cost? What preparations need to be done beforehand? - this was a big consideration for us because we wanted to send each student home with a binder of camp games and activities so they could review what we learned at home; this turned into a BIG job of making binders, but we loved the end result! We have learned to look for good deals on the materials we need, and to think of ways to streamline the preparation of the materials to save time. We also sent each student home with a camp t-shirt!
  • How much will you charge? Will you charge a materials fee and then a tuition fee, or just have it all in one? How much do you need to charge to cover all material costs and have enough left over to cover your time? How much can you charge and still make it affordable to your target audience? This is the topic that we probably debated on the most - we wanted to make our camp affordable (many of the people we advertised to are families with young children who live in our area with a parent attending medical or some other school), but of course we still wanted to make some money. This is a topic that can be discussed a lot, but I think in general if you make it comparable to a month's worth of piano lessons, that is a pretty good guide to go by.

What ideas and suggestions do you have for planning piano camps? What kind of piano camps do YOU have planned for this summer?


Summer in My Studio

Ah, summer! For a piano teacher, summer can mean different things - maybe it's a not-as-busy time with students taking a little time off; maybe it is busier than ever (but also more fun than ever!) with summer camps and programs! Although we have visited this topic before, I thought that with the summer fast approaching it would be a good topic to revisit!

What kinds of things do you like to do in your studio in the summer?

My summer (as far as piano teaching goes) will be like this:

*teaching as normal, except that I am more flexible with scheduling due to family vacations and the like; students still pay in advance at the beginning of the month, but we sit down and pull out the calendar in advance to decide how many lessons each student will receive.

*a friend and I will be holding the second session of our Early Expressions Piano Preschool Camp! We are super excited. More on planning a summer camp later...

*my baby will arrive at the end of July, so I will be taking off all of August and half of September for a maternity leave of sorts. Before that happens, I plan to come up with plenty of things for each student to work on/practice for that month and a half while I am not teaching! I am thinking memorizing pieces, doing some listening assignments to become more familiar with some great piano literature, theory and ear training practice online, and "checking in" with me periodically via email.

So, tell me, what does your summer look like this year?


Weekend Repertoire: Fairy Pieces from Prokofiev's Cinderella Suite

Since we've been discussing ways to motivate ourselves to practice, I thought for Weekend Repertoire this week I'd share a piece I am working on a bit!

Actually, it is four pieces - they come from Prokofiev's Cinderella Suite, op. 97, which is his piano arrangement of music from his ballet Cinderella. I first discovered this work in college, and immediately loved it! The four pieces that caught my attention from this collection are the four fairy pieces - Spring Fairy, Summer Fairy, Autumn Fairy and Winter Fairy.

These are short pieces which are so fun and imaginative, and I love how they really evoke distinct feelings about each of the different seasons. For example, Spring Fairy is fast and full of life, while Summer Fairy totally sounds to me like a hot, sunny, lazy summer day (speaking of which, I am about to experience my first San Antonio summer, and I'm getting a bit nervous with April temperatures already being consistently in the 90's....and I am just about to enter my third trimester of pregnancy....wish me luck!!).

If you are not familiar with these pieces, they are so fun to discover! You can listen to some mp3 samples by pianist Frederic Chiu here.

Prokofiev: Piano Music: Romeo & Juliet / Cinderella

The sheet music seems a bit hard to come by - amazon.com says it is currently unavailable, but it looks like you may be able to purchase it from sheetmusicplus.com.

View the orchestral/ballet version of Summer Fairy here:


Survey Results: Motivating Ourselves to Practice

Thank you to all who participated in our survey! We had some wonderful feedback and I really loved reading your comments. I think there is so much we can all learn from each other, so thanks for participating!

Question #1: Are you able to practice consistently?

Question #2: What inspires or motivates you to practice?

  • Performance assignments
  • Leaving a piece I really want to learn or love on the piano where I can see it. It somehow makes me feel guilty that it's just sitting there.
  • When I imagine myself with my goal completed. (I am working on my ARCT in piano pedagogy).
  • When I see myself making progress through practicing. -It's kind of a good cycle if I can just keep it going!!
  • When I hear other pianists, or even my students, how can I tell them to have meaningful practice time if I don't do it myself?
  • I am a graduate student in music performance. Also, it's my favorite part of the day!
  • I just started taking lessons again as an adult. I am enjoying it but find it can hard to practice as much as I would like.
  • Singing or playing songs for my children
  • Needing to know a piece by a certain time; Feeling like I've actually improved or learned something better
  • A piece I enjoy
  • Setting "Performance Dates" for Church, talent shows, and also playing for the elderly in the Assisted Living Homes around town.
  • I love the effect it has on my children.. when I practice they seem to want to follow my example. Its also fun to watch my little ones move rhythmically or dance to the music I'm playing. But having deadlines - like performing for a group lesson helps too.

Question #3: Do you use any specific tools to help you practice -
like a practice chart, a list, an iPod app, a planner, etc.?

  • Sometimes a list
  • Stickers, pencils and pens, jotting down practice time
  • Nope! But I probably should!
  • Nope. Just rely on the guilt & the over whelming feeling that time is running out before the "date" is here!

Question #4: What have you learned in your own practicing that has made you a better
teacher, or that has helped teach your own students how to practice?

  • how to listen and evaluate
  • It finally occurred to me that I should be taking notes about how I practice. I haven't yet shared it but it has just made me more conscious of WHAT I am doing and the rationale behind it.
  • Practicing again makes me realize how much discipline it takes. Just because I'm playing advanced repertoire doesn't mean it gets any easier to practice. It helps remind me to keep motivating my students and to help them realize that it is not always fun, but it is so worth the work. I love seeing the same pleasure in their eyes that I have when I learn a piece well.
  • that practicing takes effort and attention, it is more productive to identify the areas of concern and break the song into smaller sections than to mindlessly play the whole thing from beginning to end over and over.
  • I find that half the time what gets told to me by my teacher when I get frustrated, is usually something I'VE said to one of MY students! :o)
  • Fingering is so important - do that first and the memorization will be much easier.
  • Don't practice the entire piece every time; don't practice mistakes over and over - isolate and fix them; don't "over-practice" a song and become bored with it - let it rest a few days
  • Practice makes perfect. It affirms how much practice is essential to progress.
  • To teach my students how to do everything that I DON'T! I'm definitely a work in progress:)
  • Practicing small sections slowly and plenty of repetition are imperative... even though I still find it tempting to just want to play through a song w/ the stumbles some times. I still love that feeling of accomplishment that comes after putting in the time and patience to conquer a challenge spot. Its always nice to reward yourself when you reach your goal.............. for me that might mean some chocolate or a bowl of ice cream!


Famous Pianists: Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

I am excited to feature another famous pianist on The Teaching Studio today! I am so enjoying learning a little more about the great pianists, and so grateful for YouTube and all of the wonderful historical recordings there that are available to watch. :) My sources for this post include Schonberg's The Great Pianists: From Mozart to the Present, and http://www.arturobenedettimichelangeli.com/.

"It is not a profession to be a pianist and musician. It is a philosophy, a conception of life that cannot be based on good intentions or natural talent. First and foremost there must be a spirit of sacrifice." 
-Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

Today's pianist: Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

Born: January 5, 1920 in Brescia, Italy

Died: June 12, 1995 in Lugano, Italy

About the man: Michelangeli began his musical training at the age of four, and at fourteen he launched his concert career. At age 19 he won the first prize of the prestigious Geneva International Competition. His importance as a towering figure among 20th-century pianists was coined by pianist Cortot's saying "Here is a new Liszt." Along with performing, Michelangeli dedicated himself "with great enthusiasm" to his teaching activities. He is the only Italian pianist of his century (until Pollini) to achieve an international reputation.

Characteristics of his playing: Schonberg puts Michelangeli in the same class as Horowitz and Richter as "one of the great colorists." He is a legend as a "playing machine," and some of his colleagues put him in the Horowitz class as a "super-virtuoso." (Schonberg, p. 461). Schonberg says, "Some of his playing is startling in its sheer pianistic polish and perfection. His fingers can no more hit a wrong note or smudge a passage than a bullet can be veered off course once it has been fired...[He is a] complete master of tonal application, as evidenced in his performance of Gaspard de la nuit...The puzzling part about him [is that] in many pieces of the romantic repertoire he seems unsure of himself emotionally, and his otherwise direct playing is then laden with expressive devices that disturb the musical flow."

Repertoire: Debussy, Ravel, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt


I wish this were a video, but I couldn't pass up posting this incredible recording of Michelangeli performing Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit.


sweet deals on piano music at amazon.com

A few months ago as I was purchasing music for some students, I discovered that amazon.com had a great 4-for-3 deal on many items, including a lot of piano books (and if you know me, you know I love a great deal)! I'm not sure how long this promotion will be going on, but it is still going on and I thought I'd share it with you!

This is a great opportunity to build up your teaching library at a discounted rate, or to simply get some great deals to save your students some money. Or, if you need 3 books for students, you can buy those (still saving a little money for them because you don't pay sales tax on amazon.com) and then get a free book to build up your own library. The way it works is that when you purchase 3 qualifying items, you get a 4th (of equal or lesser value) for free! Look for "Special Offers Available" on the product page (as seen below), then scroll down to make sure it qualifies for the 4-for-3 promotion.

I have gone through and found a whole bunch of method and repertoire books that qualify, but I know there are many, many more! 

Music for Little Mozarts

Music for Little Mozarts: Music Workbook One (Music for Little Mozarts)Music for Little Mozarts: Lesson Book 1Music for Little Mozarts: Recital 1Alfred's Music for Little Mozarts: Music Recital Book 2Music for Little Mozarts: Music Lesson Book 4Music for Little Mozarts: Flash CardsMusic for Little Mozarts: Recital BookMusic for Little Mozarts, Music Discovery Book 4: Singing, Listening, Music Appreciation, Movement and Rhythm Activities to Bring Out the Music in Every Young ChildMusic for Little Mozarts Sticker Book (Sticker Book)Music for Little Mozarts: Lesson Assignment BookMusic for Little Mozarts Coloring Book

Faber's My First Piano Adventures

My First Piano Adventure, Lesson Book A with CDMy First Piano Adventure, Writing Book AMy First Piano Adventure, Writing Book BMy First Piano Adventure, Lesson Book B with CDMy First Piano Adventure, Lesson Book C

Faber's Piano Adventures

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