December Teacher’s Guide

Russian Music

    Besides the listening suggested in the issue (links on the students’ page), teachers may want to introduce easy and intermediate pieces by Russian composers. Short pieces for beginnings students are collected in the Russian School of Piano Playing (Hal Leonard). They may be more challenging to read than songs in American method books for beginners, but the delightful melodies are worth the extra effort.

    For intermediate students there are many choices by Russian composers, including Goedicke, Gretchaninoff, Tcherepnin, Tchaikovsky, Kabalevsky, Khachaturian, Prokofiev, Rebikov, and Maykapar. Many of their pieces can be found in collections, such as Masterwork Classics (Alfred), Festival Collection (FJH), Contemporary Piano Literature (Alfred), and Essential Keyboard Repertoire (Alfred).

    Kabalevsky’s and Tchaikovsky’s intermediate-level pieces have also been published in their own albums: Tchaikovsky’s Album for the Young, Op. 39 (Schirmer) and Kabalevsky’s 24 Pieces For Children Op. 39 (Schirmer) and Short Pieces for Piano (Schirmer).

Elbows and Shoulders

    Students are often unaware of how their body feels as they play and may develop tension without realizing it. In addition to emphasizing the correct position for optimal playing, encourage them to notice how their hands, arms, shoulders, neck and back feel at the piano.

You can renew or order Piano Explorer for your students at our online store. Or email us with your order or if we can answer any questions: [email protected]  (Address changes may be sent here as well.) Call 888-446-6888 toll free during business hours. Remember you may adjust your quantity at any time during the year.

2017-2018 Schedule of Composers

September: J.S. Bach
October: Haydn
November: Rossini
December: Tchaikovsky
January: Satie
February: Spanish Composers
March: Grieg
April: Liszt
May/June: Britten
July/August: Copland

The 2018 Piano Explorer Composition Contest theme will be announced in the January 2018 issue. We will not provide contest information prior to that. We will feature the music of different countries in upcoming issues and there will be features on additional composers in the months that their countries are covered.

Answers to December Puzzles

Word Scramble (page 11)

Glinka, Rachmaninoff, Borodin, Stravinsky, Haydn

Quiz (page 15)
1. c 2. b 3. c 4. various answers 5. a 6. b 7. a 8. It is smaller, has metal bars that are hit by a hammer instead of strings, and has a high bell-like sound. 9. Cannons!

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.

Print out a certificate for your students who complete the challenge.pdf

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

Music Corner: Encourage students to submit music to Music Corner throughout the year. Music must be a student’s own work although you may help them write it down. It can be hand written or done with a music program. Please keep a copy as we cannot return music. Write the student’s name, age, address, and teacher’s name plus any relevant information about the music on the back of the first page.

Send music to Music Corner, Piano Explorer, 1838 Techny Court, Northbrook, Illinois 60062.