Piazzolla: finding his unique voice

Nadia_Boulanger_1925Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) was a French composer, conductor and teacher who is notable for having taught many of the most distinguished musicians of the 20th century – including Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Quincy Jones, John Eliot Gardiner, Elliott Carter, Dinu Lipatti, Igor Markevitch, Virgil Thomson, Daniel Barenboim, Philip Glass and Astor Piazzolla.

Recalling his first meeting with Boulanger in his autobiography,  Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) wrote:

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Relax with Beautiful Pieces

Sheet Music Review

For those who play the piano purely for pleasure (rather than for certificates or prizes) the latest series of publications from Schott Music will be of special interest. The Relax With series is aimed at intermediate to advanced pianists who play “mostly at home for their own enjoyment”.

According to British concert pianist Samantha Ward, who put these selections together :

“Schott Music’s Relax With series is designed to help you unwind with some of the piano repertoire’s greatest works, alongside lesser known pieces from the Baroque period right through to the 20th century. I have tried to include as many different styles and techniques as possible, whilst remaining within the boundaries of ‘relaxing’ pieces of music.”

So let’s take a closer look…

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Playing the Piano “for Fun”?

I recently asked the members of an online piano teaching forum the following question:

“I want to learn to play piano for fun…”
What do you think when pupils/parents say this to you?

Perhaps it’s no surprise that answers ranged from “Get a trampoline!” at one end of the spectrum to “Great – that’s the best reason!” at the other. And the constructive debate that followed proved to be very interesting and enlightening. 

With this in mind, I would like to share a few of my own views and hope this will encourage further thought and ongoing discussion within the teaching and piano community.

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Music Collaboration Online

SoundCloud has become, since its inception in August 2007, the website of choice for collaborating musicians, offering them the ability to freely upload tracks, sharing them privately with selected recipients, downloading, and leaving timed comments.

It’s been a simple but winning formula that has won considerable popularity against more complex rival collaborative offerings.

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Encouraging Teenagers to Learn

How can piano teachers keep their students’ interest through the “difficult” teenage years, and stem the pupil drop off that seems to be such a worldwide problem?

This seems to be widely recognised as one of the big educational challenges of our time. The suggested answers are many and varied. But one thing is for sure: if we can retain our students through this phase of their lives, the potential rewards are great indeed.

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Motivation: one size doesn’t fit all

Guest Post by Karen Marshall

What is motivation and how does it relate to music teaching?

Motivation is all to do with thoughts and tasks becoming actions.

There are 10,050 minutes between one 30 minute weekly music lesson and the next – or 10,020 minutes for a weekly hour music lesson.

Here are some ideas to hopefully motivate students to use the time in between lessons musically!

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