February Teacher’s Guide

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.

Clara and Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann – Music for intermediate Students
The first part of Album for the Young, Op. 68 is the best way to introduce students to the works of Robert Schumann. Four of the most popular pieces are described in the February issue: Soldier’s March, The Wild Rider, The Happy Farmer, and First Loss. Others that are also very good include Melody, Humming Song, Little Piece (Bagatelle), and The Reaper’s Song. The more difficult pieces in the album are suitable for older, more advanced students.

Books about the Schumanns
For serious students or teachers wanting to expand their knowledge of Schumann’s life and work, here are some recommended biographical volumes:
Robert Schumann: The Life and Work of a Romantic Composer by Martin Geck, 2012
Robert Schuamnn: Life and Death of a Musician by John Worthen, 2010
Robert Schumann: Herald of a “New Poetic Age” by John Daverio, 1997
Clara Schumann: A Romantic Biography by John Burk, 2011
Clara Schumann: The Artist and the Woman by Nancy Reich, 2001

For elementary students:
Her Piano Sang: A Story About Clara Schumann by Barbara Allman, 2002 (grades 3-6)
Clara Schumann: Piano Virtuoso by Suzanna Reich, 1999 (grades 5-8)


Pianists and violinists often play together. Introduce students to this versatile instrument through the recordings on the website.

2016-2017 Schedule of Composers

September: Mozart
October: Mussorgsky
November: Handel
December: Debussy
January: Beethoven
February: Schumanns
March: Clementi
April: Rachmaninoff
May/June: Stravinsky
July/August: Gershwin


The 2017 Piano Explorer Composition Contest was announced in January in the magazine and full instructions are also on the February Kids page. The theme is Water and the deadline is March 10, 2017. Send music to Piano Explorer Composition Contest, 1838 Techny Court, Northbrook, IL 60062. Be sure to keep a copy as we cannot return music. Do not email the music please.

Any student who subscribes to the magazine may enter (subscriptions may be through the teacher but the student must receive a copy of the magazine each month – ie if you have three students entering the contest, you must have a subscription for three students.

There are two age divisions and creativity and following the theme are more important than advanced musical knowledge, so encourage even younger or beginning students to try to compose. Good luck to everyone!

Answers to February Puzzles

Matching (p. 9)
1. C  2. G  3. E  4. F  5. A  6. B  7. H  8. D

Quiz (p. 15)
1. a 2. c 3. c 4. a 5. a 6. lieder, symphonies, choral works, chamber music, piano works, opera, orchestral works. 7. c

Word Search (p. 13)

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://www.instrumentalistmagazine.com/100%20day%20challenge.php

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.