Piano Teaching in the Age of Video Conferencing

Guest Article by Mark Polishook

This essay is about my experience teaching piano and jazz improvisation to adult students on Skype.

Right now Skype is a standard technology for online instrumental instruction. But there are alternatives, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Oovoo among them.

We call the medium Skype. We say we’re Skyping. But, really, it’s consumer-level video conferencing.

Marshall McLuan some years ago offered the medium as answer to what’s the message?

My question now:

How does video conferencing shape teaching and learning?

Three immediate answers on the positive side:

  1. It moves teaching from the local to global.
  2. It enlarges the pool of teachers from which students can select
  3. More stylistic diversity and specialities come from a larger, global teaching pool.

Are there downsides?

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Iconoclasts, Shibboleths, Paul Bley and Pierre Boulez

Classical composer and conductor Pierre Boulez passed within a week of the influential jazz pianist Paul Bley… in this brilliant in-depth article, guest author Mark Polishook considers the impact that both musicians had on the music of the 20th century and beyond…

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Piano Technique, Weight in Motion, Boxing, Taichichuan and The Cherry Tomato

Guest Author Mark Polishook takes a look at the benefits of weight-based piano technique, with reference to boxing, martial arts and … cherry tomatoes.

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