December Teacher’s Guide


Frédéric Chopin

Pieces for Intermediate students:
Chopin wrote several pieces that can be considered easier and would be suitable for intermediate students. Students who have had some experience with Bach’s Two-Part Inventions, Beethoven’s Sonatina in F major or Fur Elise or the more difficult Clementi and Kuhlau sonatinas should be successful learning these easier Chopin pieces. However, teachers should remember that playing the notes correctly is only part of success when it comes to Chopin’s music. Its emotional depth requires sensitive phrasing, tone control, and understanding of rubato, and younger students might have a difficult time executing those nuances. It’s still a great exercise and a wonderful stepping stone in students’ progress.

Some pieces to consider:
Waltz in A minor, Op. posthumous
Polonaise in G minor Op. posthumous
Mazurka in G minor Op. 67, No. 2, posthumous
Mazurka in C major, Op. 67, No. 3, posthumous
Mazurka in A minor, Op. 67, No. 4, posthumous
Mazurka in F major, Op. 68, No 4, posthumous
Waltz in Ab major, Op. 69, No. 1, posthumous
Prelude in E minor, Op. 28, No. 4
Nocturne in c minor, posthumous
Cantabile in Bb major, posthumous


Recommended books
Chopin’s Letters
Chopin in Paris: The Life and Times for the Romantic Composer by Tad Szulc
Chopin: Pianist and Teacher, As Seen by his Pupils by Eigeldinger, Shohet, Osostowicz, and Howat
The Life of Chopin by F. Liszt
Chopin: Prince of the Romantics by Adam Zamoyski

For Children: Frederick Chopin (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers) by Mike Venezia

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.


2018-2019 Schedule of Composers

September: Schubert
October: D. Scarlatti
November: Ravel
December: Chopin
January: Prokofiev
February: J.C. Bach
March: Brahms
April: Telemann
May/June: Mendelssohn
July/August: Holst

Other composers and musicians will also be profiled throughout the year.




Student Compositions

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 (they might try a ragtime piece – see page 9 of the July issue). 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 will be announced in the January issue and online in January. We will not give out advance information about the them before then to be fair to all participants. Note you must subscribe to Piano Explorer to submit a composition.


Answers to December Puzzles

Which Composer (page 13):
1. Schubert
2. Ravel
3. D. Scarlatti
4. Copland

Word Search (page 13):


Quiz (page 15):
1. a 2. d 3. a 4. b 5. Polonaises, Mazurkas 6. b

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 http://pianoexplorer.net/100-day-challenge/

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.