January Teacher’s Guide
This issue features the life and music of the great Ludwig van Beethoven. Have students listen to the music on the kids page and see if they can hear the difference between music written at different times of his life. What changes can they hear? While many of Beethoven’s works for piano are very difficult, he also wrote some wonderful compositions for intermediate pianists. Russian Folk Song is a short piece with an interesting melody in the right hand and a single line accompaniment in the left. Beethoven also wrote German Dances, Bagatelles, Ecossaises, and Three Country Dances. These pieces use fun combinations of staccato and legato passages, many dynamic changes, accents, accidentals, and some syncopation. Für Elise is probably the most famous student piece by Beethoven.
Johann Nepomuk Hummel is best known today for his famous trumpet concerto, but he was a talented pianist who impressed Mozart, Clementi, and Haydn. He was a contemporary of Beethoven’s, and he was overshadowed by the more famous composer. He wrote a number of works for piano as well as orchestra and chamber music.
Answers to January Puzzles
Logic Puzzle (page 13)
Lexie, Organ, 50
Meredith, Piano, 100
Alex, Trumpet, 75
Derek, Violin, 125
Quiz (page 15)
1. a. 2. b. 3. b. 4. e. 5. b. 6. a
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Coming in February: Saint-Saëns, Louise Dumont Farrenc, the cello, natural signs, and improving focus when practicing.
While we are continuing to print the winning compositions from this year’s contest, we would like to remind teachers that we also print non-contest music throughout the year (once we have published all of the winners’ pieces). Students can write music on any topic. We cannot return music, so students should keep a copy. Write the student’s name, age, address, and teacher’s name on the back of the music. All music must be original work. Send pieces to Piano Explorer, Music Corner, 1838 Techny Court, Northbrook, IL 60062.
Annual Composition Contest
The contest theme is announced this month. Full information is available on the home page and in the magazine. Note you must subscribe to Piano Explorer to submit a composition.
100 Day Challenge
Encourage your students to try the 100 Day challenge. If they practice every day for 100 days, send their information to us and we will print their names in the magazine. We have heard from many teachers that this has been an exciting incentive for their students. If students are away on vacation or are sick, they must still do something with music each day. The specifics are up to the teacher but some ideas are: listening to music, studying their pieces without a piano, reading Piano Explorer, writing a composition, or researching a composer, piece or musical period.
The completed practice sheets continue to pour in. If you haven’t tried this with your students, you can still start now. Please email us names of students who complete the challenge to: [email protected]. Include the student’s name, age, state, and teacher’s name as well as how many days of practice the student has completed. Please do not mail them in.
As one teacher said, “The 100 days of practicing has inspired my students to more than I thought each was capable!”
We will continue this challenge in the upcoming year, and students may start at any time. Check out the students who have played for 100 days at http://pianoexplorer.net/100-day-challenge/
Many teachers ask what students should do when they are sick or on vacation. We offer the following guidelines:
It is up to the individual teachers to decide what is best for their students. However, the one requirement is that students must do something music related every day – even on vacation. Teachers and students have been very creative about this. Some ideas for vacation practice have included listening to music, bringing their sheet music and studying it each day, researching/reading about composers, reading Piano Explorer, listening to music clips on peforkids.com, writing a composition, or doing a report on a composer, musician or time. Others have found a piano where they are traveling or brought along a keyboard. The goal is for students to do something related to their music study for at least a few minutes each day no matter what so that practicing becomes a regular part of their lives.