Monthly Archives: January 2010

Incorporating Improvisation | Part 5b in the series

This is a continuation of the series on the topic: incorporating improvisation into private piano teaching.  I had originally planned to post all 4 steps into one post, but the post would be too lengthy.  So the topic “Incorporating Improvisation” is being divided into 4 separate posts: Develop Related Skills Create an atmosphere conducive to […]

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Free New Age Piano mp3s

I recently came across an interesting site containing free mp3s of new age solo piano music.  What a great resource to pass on to my piano students!  It’s important for students to listen to a wide variety of music, but often they are only exposed to pop music.  New age piano music is bound to […]

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

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Keyboards vs. Acoustic Pianos

Check out these pictures at, featuring modern keyboard designs by Yamaha!  I particularly like the one shown in the screenshot at right. Would I ever buy a keyboard such as this?  No, probably not.  If I had the money to spend, I’d buy an acoustic piano, not a keyboard.  Acoustic pianos are still far […]

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Incorporating Improvisation | Part 5a of the series

Now to the heart of the discussion!  We’ve already covered some common obstacles encountered when trying to incorporate improvisation, and we’ve briefly discussed the history and the value of improvisation.  Now let’s discuss a practical way to incorporate improvisation (non-jazz improvisation, in particular) into the piano lesson. There are 4 steps in the method I […]

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The Value of Improvisation | Part 4 of the series

As we saw in Part 3, improvisation has a rich history in Western classical music, but has virtually disappeared from modern piano pedagogy.  Today, we are going to discuss the value of improvisation: Improvisation fosters creativity and individuality. Improvisation appeals to both the performer and the audience. Strengthens the connection between theory and practice in […]

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

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Teacher Resources @

I just discovered some fun resources at the Piano Technicians Guild website – check them out!  One highlight is an activity for students to cut out and put together a 3D-ish piano out of paper.  It’s pretty realistic!

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Succeeding at the Piano | Method Books

The FJH Music Company website is introducing a new method series, available March 2010: Helen Marlais’ Succeeding at the Piano. I have heard some good things about the method, and am looking forward to trying it with a student once it comes out! Click here to view the page about it and to pre-register for […]

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A Brief History of Improvisation | Part 3 of the series

Before we can discuss a practical way to incorporate improvisation, let’s first trace the history of improvisation in Western classical music: Early and Renaissance Music: Improvisation has its roots in early music traditions, before the invention of musical notation — when music was shared and passed on to the next generation by rote. Baroque Period: […]

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Upcoming Poster Session @ Mich. Music Conference

Remember that improvisation paper for school that I’m been mentioning here and there?  Well, I’ve been accepted to present my research findings at the poster session on January 22 as part of the 2009 Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan!  I don’t know if any of you Michiganders out there are planning on attending […]

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is never enough for music.” – Sergei Rachmaninoff Every Wednesday brings Words of Wisdom here at the Color in my Piano blog…in the form of a musical quote or joke, intended to bring inspiration or humor to the middle of your week.   Have suggestions?  Send […]

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