Problem-solving and helping students move forward with confidence is one of our toughest jobs as piano teachers. I’ve guided and mentored teachers of all ages and stages for years and love to assist them with their toughest struggles.
There are only so many things we can figure out on our own. Sometimes an outside POV can be HUGE in helping you make clear plans, better decisions or more realistic goals. Or perhaps all you need are answers to a couple of key questions in order to move forward. I’m here to help.
Think of it as the piano biz hotline – via Skype, FaceTime, or just the plain ol’ phone. Head over HERE to find out more of what I do. General inquiries are certainly welcome. Just email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get a glimpse of what it might be like, join me and other teachers at my weekly LIVE BROADCASTS on Periscope – Tuesdays mornings, 10AM Central. We have such a great, sharing community over there. We keep it friendly, encouraging, and down-to-earth and the chat box is open to everyone! CLICK HERE to learn how to download the FREE Periscope app to get started. P.S. No Periscope on March 15.
Did you attend the 3rd annual MusicEdConnect Webinar last week? The feedback was wonderful and it looks as if this online conference will continue. What can be better than attending 26 sessions LIVE, or in REPLAY mode from now until Dec. 31, 2016? And all from the comfort of your own home via your computer or mobile device.
Thanks to those of you who were able to attend my session “A Quick Guide to the Most Popular Piano Classics Students LOVE to Play” I gave a tour of original piano classics that students really gravitate towards and I hope the session will assist you in making repertoire decisions for students with discerning tastes. It’s always a fine line, right? — what we think is good for them and what they’d prefer to play. This is just a small part of a more in-depth guide I’m working on that will help teachers know what to teach and when, and it will offer clues on what students find the most rewarding in a particular piece.
If you missed the webinar it’s not too late to access a replay of all 26 sessions by 26 different presenters. Anyone can register for the replay pass (and should) as it was amazing and such a great value. I cannot believe how many tips and info were shared! The replay pass is $129. RegisterHERE and you’ll have immediate access to all the videos now thru Dec. 31, 2016. Tell your friends! NOW …. for those MusicEdConnect participants who listened to my session last THURS, Feb. 4, and then hopped over to the blog here with a reply ….DRUM ROLL please…..
You EACH win a DISCOUNT COUPON CODE for one of my digital publications at www.pianopassport.com! You’ll have a chance to check out one of my newest publications for teaching. It’s a small assortment so far, but there’s a good variety to select from. HINT: I suggest my late elementary version of Clair de Lune. I think it works really well for those students who just can’t wait to play this beautiful melody, especially adults.
WINNERS: Judy K., Rosemarie P., Renee S., Kathy S., and Melanie
Congratulations to you all. I will be emailing the code to each of you shortly.
Michelle Sisler and her team have been working hard to prepare fantastic sessions and exhibits once again this year. Looking at the presenters and their sessions, you will be truly impressed at what’s planned. 26 NEW SESSIONS! including mine:
A Quick Guide to the Most Popular Piano Classics Students Love to Play
THURSDAY, FEB 4, 12:45pm to 1:45pm Central Time
by Elizabeth Gutierrez
Having a hard time deciding which piano classics you should teach and when? Do you wonder whether your students will like your selections? Elizabeth will help you narrow down the sea of choices to create a well-rounded, balanced repertoire for students of all abilities and especially those with discerning tastes.
The beauty of MusicEdConnect is that all sessions will be available ON-DEMAND after the live conference dates so you can re-watch a session or view a session you missed. While there is a specific time for each live session, you do NOT have to watch it on that date. You may watch the 2016 sessions until December 31, 2016!
My READERS receive a COUPON CODE!
UPDATE: My code has expired and if you are just now reading this post, try code “MEC1516” to save $10. Expires Feb. 2
A little overview of the conference:
The conference will begin with keynote speaker, Pete Jutras, presenting “The Road Ahead.” What is the future of teaching piano and what is the best way to teach this next generation effectively?
NEW this year, Tech Tuesday will offer a wealth of beginning to advanced technology sessions including very practical applications on a shoestring budget, how to replace that spaghetti of cords in your studio and iPad iDeas! Also part of Tech Tuesday, are the many HOW TO 30/30 sessions on topics such as HOW TO Broadcast Your Recital Over the Internet, extend your screen, use iMovie and GarageBand. These unique 30/30 sessions will offer a half-hour live with the second 30 minutes recorded for you to watch later when you are ready for that next step. This will help these technical sessions be a bit less overwhelming so you can take it one step at a time at your own pace.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, learn how to deal with difficult parents, conduct engaging and effective studio classes, gain new sight reading strategies, understand chord symbols, perfect your teaching language, teach beginners technical movements, teach pop music, how to make the most of your lesson time especially with over scheduled students, better engage your students, marketing magic and everything in between! And….showcases from JoyTunes, TimeWarp Technologies and Keys to Imagination.
Saturday, the networking session returns (Full Access/Live attendees only) as attendees will get to network with other attendees to give and receive great advice, all hosted by some of our presenters.
Since I began using Periscope as both a broadcaster and a viewer, I’ve been amazed at how this LIVE broadcasting technology brings a worldwide community together simply at the touch of a finger on your phone or tablet. With input from a few blog followers, I’ve decided to start a new Periscope “mini piano workshop” series beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 10am Central Time.
I invite you to join me for #PianoTipsin10 (aka Piano Tips in 10 minutes), a weekly series designed specifically to provide solutions to pain points we often encounter when teaching. I will offer you my own time-tested teaching strategies, but the beauty of Periscope is that we ALL benefit from interaction with each other via the comments. I hope we all take away fresh ideas and renewed energy.
Because we are teachers with incredibly BUSY schedules, I will limit the workshop to just 10 concise minutes on one single topic. However after the 10 minute period, feel free to stick around a bit longer for some Q&A if you like. Even if you can’t join the LIVE presentation, the “scope” will remain on your Periscope account for 24 hours so you may view it at a convenient time later.
Here’s my working list of pain points so far:
Reinforcing a Rounded Hand Position at the Piano
Collapsed nail joints
Flying pinky fingers
Accuracy with Rhythmic Subdivisions
Introducing Legato for the First Time
Refusal to count
and so forth……
What are the burning pain points in your studio this semester? Please feel free to list one or two I could consider by commenting below. The more, the better!
NEW to PERISCOPE? Click HERE to learn how to download the FREE app to your phone or tablet (available on Apple and Android) and be sure to FOLLOW my account “@pianoprof88” with Notifications ON. You’ll get a “tweet alert” when I go LIVE. You can view it in watch-only mode on the web here: https://www.periscope.tv/pianoprof88 but I encourage you to download the app to your smartphone so you can comment, give hearts, etc.
FOR ADVANCE NOTIFICATION of my Scopes, please do one of the following:
1. Subscribe to this blog on the sidebar to the right.
2. Follow me on Twitter — @egpiano
3. Visit “Piano Camp for Piano Teachers” on Facebook, LIKE the fan page, and click GET NOTIFICATIONS.
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WINNERS! Thank all of you for watching my latest scope on “Elementary Music for Boys and Animal Lovers” and also for the sweet comments about my elementary solo sheets. As promised, new followers were placed into a drawing for 2 packets of my music, one larger and one smaller. The winners are 1. Betty Lawson and 2. Joyce Harwood! I will get your prizes to you as soon as we connect. Please email me at email@example.com if you read this post first.
Thanks to everyone who watched, even via the web or on the replay at katch.me. The REPLAY is still available HERE. (and you can rewind/fast forward!)
I’m dreaming up new scopes to solve pain points for working piano teachers. Piano teachers are some of the busiest people on the planet, so I will definitely be “katching” them for your viewing after they expire on Periscope and summarizing some here on the blog. I’ll keep some of these scopes short and right-to-the-point.
HOWEVER….. the best feature is having YOU on Periscope interacting with me and other teachers LIVE on the scope. We all learn so much from each other, right? So, if you haven’t downloaded the FREE Periscope app (Apple or Android mobile devices), please do and FOLLOW me @pianoprof88. My name will have a little keyboard next to it. And set your Notifications to ON.
I hope you can view LIVE from time to time. I’ll try to mix up days/times as I am able.
Teachers have been asking me to place all my educational piano pieces in one place on the blog and finally it’s done! When you click on SHOP on the menu above, you’ll see 3 categories: Ebooks, Sheet Music, and Sheet Music Downloads.
Under SHEET MUSIC, you’ll see all the hard-copy material published under my name — sheet solos, collections, and one reference book. You can click each title and read a description of the work and see a page view in most instances. So have fun browsing and if you find something of interest to you, you can certainly order direct from the blog (via Sheet Music Plus), but I urge you to order copies from your local sheet music retailer. Please support them whenever you can. They are such an important asset to the future of music in our communities and we need to keep them in business.
Stay tuned for upcoming Ebooks and Sheet Music Downloads. I’ll reveal those goodies soon. Be sure to subscribe to the blog off to right to stay updated.
To celebrate the launch of the SHOP, I’ll be doing a LIVE Periscope Piano Workshop on Monday Nov. 9 at 10:00am CENTRAL featuring my early elementary and elementary piano pieces. A few have been listed on the NFMC Junior Festival list before and are perennial favorites with boys especially. I’ll play the pieces, discuss the principle teaching concepts for each, and tell you when you could introduce them if you’re using one of the popular piano methods.
WHAT’S PERISCOPE, did you say? — it’s a new app for Android and IOS phones and tablets that allows you to watch LIVE broadcasts for free. You download the FREE app, create a quick profile for yourself, and “follow” a few folks whom you’d like to view whenever they broadcast. And you can broadcast too!
TO JOIN PERISCOPE:
1. If you’re on your mobile phone or tablet right now, click on the little “pianoprof88” button off to the right on the sidebar and it should take you to the Periscope app for download and then you can “FOLLOW” me.
2. Download the FREE Periscope app on your phone or tablet from the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android). Use your cell phone# or your Twitter account to sign up (use Twitter if you have it). Set Notifications to “ON.” Create your account and choose your @name. Post a photo of yourself and bio on your profile when you get the chance. Search for me “@pianoprof88″ and FOLLOW. Whenever I’m about to broadcast, you’ll hear and see a little tweet alert on your device.
See you on the scope!
Side Note: To those of you who are already following me on Periscope, please follow me now on @pianoprof88 instead of the old account @pianoprof. I had to change to a new account for good reasons. On Monday, I’ll hop on the old account and alert you to follow me at the new account just in case. Thanks!
Hope you all enjoyed the Benda A Minor Sonatina Play-Along. Even if you weren’t able to stay on schedule while it was happening, the beauty of a Play-Along is that you can jump in anytime even after the scheduled Play-Along has ended. Make any Piano Play-Along our own self-guided project to learn a new piece and gain a little more insight about it. But remember Play-Alongs are community projects also. I want to hear your thoughts about the pieces whenever you “play-along”. So….. practice a little, read a blog post along the way for insight, maybe make a comment on your findings, practice a little again, read another blog post, comment, etc.
I’m still hearing from folks who are reading along with the Kabalevsky Play-Along from last year. I enjoy reading the comments and returning to the score to investigate someone else’s finding or suggestions. 🙂
A little info about Benda to share with students…..
My take-aways from the Benda Play-Along:
This is a deservedly-popular and beloved piece for student pianists because of its engaging musical characteristics. It offers tuneful melodies, dramatic harmonies, and finger-tickling toccata-style goodness with every measure.
The fact that it’s short, yet full of interesting twists and turns makes it appealing to students and its show-stopper quality is appealing to audiences as well. Makes you wish there was more of it once it’s over.
Excellent study in rhythm and part-writing for an aspiring intermediate pianist and offers opportunity to explore a good range of the keyboard.
The student will have to count like a fiend and absorb many details in articulation, but the pay-off is worth it.
I find that students continue to play this piece on their own even long after they’ve completed it. That’s a good sign of a mesmerizing piece…..
Studying the Supraphon edition at imslp.org was quite revealing. It was surprising to see how over-edited this piece has become through the years and how inaccuracies have prevailed in student editions.
I think a NEW student edition is in order, one that reflects Benda’s first edition more accurately with added notes to students about pedaling, accurate distribution of the voices, repeats, etc.
I’m going to prepare a new student-friendly edition for the Piano Passport catalog, and include a short learning guide for mastery of the more difficult technical areas. How does that sound? More teachers and students should have quick access to this wonderful piece!
Please pipe in with your take-aways below…. would love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time!
I hope you all have enjoyed the Benda A Minor Sonatina Play-Along with the Periscope enhancements this time. I’ll continue to “scope”-along with our Play-Alongs. 🙂 I think it brings our score study to life and I enjoy how it builds even more community among participants in our group. Please comment below with your thoughts on the addition of Periscope, and tell me if there are other aspects I could highlight during a scope session. I’ll try to add more future student performances as I am able. And….I’m working on a plan to SAVE some of the Play-Along Periscopes for later viewing after the 24-hour expiration. Bear with me!
Don’t forget to watch the mini-video tutes on Instagram. FOLLOW @pianoprof at Instagram and Periscope and set your notifications to ON.
Now that you’ve been playing the Sonatina for approximately 2 weeks, what do you think is the trickiest passage(s) in the piece? Either for you or a potential student? Please ADD YOUR COMMENT BELOW with measure nos.
Of course, there could be several “tricky” spots for students when they first begin working on this piece and I remarked on those in an earlier Periscope. For this post, I limiting it to the TWO spots that I think cause the most concern for the teacher and student.
1. Measures 41-48
This sudden change in texture really blindsides students at first. At m. 41 they lose all rhythmic precision and suddenly slow the tempo way down. I believe the root cause is the rhythmic shift from 16th-note subdivisions (mm.39-40) into eighths, then quarters later, and then dotted eighth-sixteenths, etc. I find that students try to approximate the pacing of the eighths in m. 41 rather than count it precisely.
As mentioned in my Periscope, students must count like fiends in this area. There’s just no way around it. I have students count aloud from mm. 39 forward, by just saying the rhythms aloud first without playing. While pointing to the rhythms in the score, I have them count 16ths in mm. 39-40, followed by eighths in mm. 41-43, and so forth. My students recite “1-ee-and-a” for 16ths and “ 1 and “ for the eighths (you could choose another counting method if you prefer). Once they get their lips wrapped around the counting, they truly know it and can direct their fingers to follow what they recite aloud. While counting they can also listen for the steadiness of their tempo. Of course, have them work hands apart as needed.
2. Measure 44
This is the first and only pause in the entire piece. Did you notice that? And it seems that students park themselves on this rest while they scurry to arrange their fingers quickly for the dotted rhythms. Again, working hands separately and counting 16th subdivisions very precisely will assist in the entrance, but it’s the quick consecutive double-note manuevers in the RH that cause concern here.
Here’s the fingering I suggest for m. 44 (in the photo above – Supraphon edition):
RH: 5-1 to 4-1 then 3-1 to 2-1 (which lands on beat 1 of m. 45)
LH: 2 to 3 to 1 to 2 (which lands on beat 1 of m. 45)
NOTE:Two notes for the RH and single notes for the LH. is exactly how Benda wrote it in his first edition according to the Supraphon editors. For more info about this Czech edition, click HERE.
PLAYING TIP: Rather than play directly downward into the keys on the RH double notes, stay close to the keys and use a “sliding” motion with the hand as you play each pair of double notes. The video below demonstrates.
When you time the sliding motions with your counting it all comes together so much more easily and there’s no fumbling around with the hand jumping about. Do you hear the student counting? He makes it look easy, doesn’t he? But…..he’s always determined to solve issues by counting.
I hope this helps. I look forward to your REPLIES below. Please share so we all may compare notes, OK? A little Benda “wrap-up” post will soon follow this one. Keep on practicing!
To celebrate the close of the BENDA A minor Sonatina PIANO PLAY-ALONG, join us on PERISCOPE for a LIVE student performance and interview- SAT, Oct 10, 12:15 Central Time. Learn about the student’s perspective of this piece and see him in action. He’ll take your questions LIVE. You must download the PERISCOPE app on your mobile device in order to interact with him. Once you do, FOLLOW @pianoprof and set notifications to ON. *** If you miss it, the REPLAY will be available for 24 hours on your device.
QUICK PERISCOPE HOW-TO:
Download the FREE Periscope app on your mobile device – cell phone or tablet. Go to the Apple store or Google Play to download the app.
Use your cell phone# or your Twitter account to sign up.
Set Notifications to “ON.”
Create your account and choose your @name.
Post a photo of yourself and bio on your profile later if you prefer.
Search for Elizabeth Gutierrez or “@pianoprof88” and FOLLOW.
Whenever I start a broadcast, you’ll hear and see a little tweet alert on your device. You may REPLAY the broadcast later, but it expires after 24 hours.
Without the mobile app, you may view LIVE on the web here — www.periscope.tv/pianoprof88— but you receive an alert or be able to chat with everyone. REPLAY is available for 24 hours.
FOR ADVANCE NOTICE of FUTURE #PIANOSCOPES (piano teacher workshops on Periscope), go to the SIDEBAR just to your right and LIKE the Piano Camp for Piano Teachers FACEBOOK page. In the LIKE area, choose GET NOTIFICATIONS.
Thanks to all of you who joined in on the PERISCOPE this past Monday morning, Sept. 28. Hope you’re enjoying this method of relaying info!
THE NEXT PERISCOPE will be TIPS for TRICKY PASSAGES & PRACTICE TECHNIQUES – Tuesday, Oct. 6, 10 AM
Stay tuned to INSTAGRAM for video tips!
Here’s a summary of Monday’s PERSICOPE when I compared a researched edition of the Am Sonatina with the the modern editions available to us. I shared information I found in the Supraphon edition below ( a 1984 Czech edition edited by a Dr. Jan Racek and Vaclav Jan Sykora). The editor of the Suprahon edition, Mr. Sykora, consulted a rare print of Benda’s own 18th-century publication of sonatinas to create this edition below.
Editio Supraphon Praha – 1984
I located this score at the International Music Score Library project website HERE. This website is an invaluable source to any musician looking for public domain music whether it be urtext editions, early editions, or something more scholarly than what you may own. Downloads are available to you under some conditions which are stated at the site. You should definitely refer to this site often when you question the authenticity of any score you own (for public domain music only; composers who died before 1922). _____________________________________________________________________ STATEMENTS MADE in the SUPRAPHON PREFACE that apply to the A minor Sonatina:
Benda was indeed friends with CPE Bach whose friendship stimulated his growth as a musician.
The Allegro tempo indication is Benda’s own.
The notation in our modern editions is correct, with the exception that Benda used the soprano clef instead of the treble clef. The Supraphon editors changed it to treble in their edition.
The rhythm in our modern editions is true and accurate, including the division of the hands (16ths).
– Dynamics are almost non-existent in Benda’s original, so what you see in today’s editions is editorial. The Supraphon editors added dynamics based on the hammer action of the modern piano (i.e., areas of the piece with lots of rhythmic activity would be louder than those with little)
Phrasing that you see in our modern editions has been added (by this I mean slur markings) to follow modern principles of interpretation. Benda used phrase marks rather haphazardly.
Pedaling is entirely lacking in Benda’s original! What you see in our modern editions is editorial. Interesting…..
Fingering is not mentioned in the preface, but more than likely Benda didn’t include it. In those days you were expected to know how to finger appropriately.
_____________________________________________________________________ COMPARISON of the SUPRAPHON edition vs. MODERN STUDENT EDITIONS on my desk. Get your pencils out.
Note that Benda DID NOT include pedaling in any of his music according to the editors of the SUPRAPHON edition, so don’t be so inclined to strictly follow what you see in our modern editions. The editors of the SUPRAPHON included some suggestions for pedaling the 16ths for a more “modern interpretation” and perhaps this is what our modern editors have been following. In keeping with the Pre-Classical tradition, I would only add pedal for warmth and resonance in certain areas of this piece. I advocate “half-pedalling” or “dabs of pedal” in order to make the piano ring a bit more in the forte areas. The clarity of the 16ths should never be compromised or obscured. I advise “undetectable” pedaling in this piece (i.e., no obvious blurriness).
The staccatos you see in the modern editions are indeed Benda’s own, but note that the first 16th of the piece (RH “A”) should not be staccato as I notice in a couple of editions.
Slurs were not written by Benda, but if so, rather haphazardly. The editors of the Supraphon editors included what you see in your scores for the most part, with a couple of minor instances in the LH. (EX: mm. 23-24 — the LH is detached). Playing the LH quarter notes in detached style throughout would be considered stylistic for the time period if you preferred to do that.
Accents — m. 5 (F) and m. 29 (A) are the only accents included in the Supraphon edition, but the editors did not indicate if they added them or if they were Benda’s.
The leggiero indication in m. 17 — added by the Supraphon editors, but no mention of whether it’s Benda’s. But it’s a good idea given the texture and the toccata style of this piece.
Benda did not include any in his original, including hairpin cresc. or dim. marks. The editors of the Supraphon edition included the following suggestions based on what keyboardists may have performed on early pianos (or harpsichords) of the time.
mm. 1 – 16 (A section): All forte
m. 17 – piano
m. 23 – crescendo toward m. 25 — forte
m. 33 – piano
mm. 35-36, 39-40 – swells (cresc., then dim.)
m. 41 – piano
m. 44 – forte
* I generally agree with the editor’s suggested dynamics based on the texture and the performance practice of the time. You certainly could add hairpin cresc. and dim. marks to certain areas of 16ths to create more melodic shape. Nothing wrong with making your 16ths sound melodic on the piano, right?
ORNAMENTATION: The only ornament Benda included is the trill in m. 42. Since the sonatina is from the Pre-Classical period, it’s best to follow the practice of the time and perform the trill as a 4-note trill (E-D#-E-D#).
_____________________________________________________________________ Hope this revelation into the Supraphone edition helped. Please feel free to comment BELOW with any other questions you might have about your score. See you TUESDAY, OCT. 6, 2015 at 10am CENTRAL TIME on PERISCOPE! (find me @pianoprof)