The word “radical” comes from a Latin word meaning “root” and is closely related to the word “radish.” Though a radical is nowRead More
I was playing an arrangement of a familiar melody, and the chords sounded stale. This made the melody sound weary.
Fortunately, the Music Theory Angel appearedRead More
Why did Bach write the Inventions? Many assume he composed his keyboard music to be publicly performed at concerts or to be soldRead More
At the end of a workshop I gave on the subject of improvising with modes, a piano teacher came up to me and said something shocking. She said (and I quoteRead More
The other day, a new teenage student was playing To A Wild Rose. She was treating the melody carelessly, as if it were an out-of-date cell phone. For one,Read More
Who would deny the importance of having a balanced diet? This commonsense idea is frequently used as a metaphor to emphasize the importance ofRead More
Why is piano playing so often confused with racing?
A student was dashing through a piece. At that breathless pace, the phrasing was a casualty, the melodies ran together, andRead More
As music teachers, we occasionally encounter students who have a dynamic range that extends from forte all the way to fortissimo. How do we help these studentsRead More
The other night, I was teaching an eighteen-year-old girl who has been playing the piano for about three years. She had finished playing Mendelssohn’s beautifulRead More
Why do so many people feel anxious when asked to improvise or compose music? There are a lot of reasons. Here’sRead More
You have no doubt heard of F.E.I.S., a nervous condition afflicting piano teachers. I’m referring, of course, to Fur Elise Irritation Syndrome. This is caused by piano students repeating E and D-sharp over and over (and over) without a hintRead More
At the close of the SMU-IPT Conference last July, a piano teacher came up to me and said with a solemn tone, “Thank you for your presentations. I never knew you could teach music with creativity. I was just taught to play the notes correctly and that was it.”
Since the mid-19th century, the central focus of piano pedagogy has been toRead More