March Teacher’s Guide

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.

Click here to print out a certificate for your students who complete the challenge.

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


Nine students of Christine Kissack, Piano Learning Center, Falmouth, ME, finished the 100-day challenge and are shown with commemorative t-shirts after their winter recital!


March 2019 Issue

Amy Beach was an important early American composer who was an amazing child prodigy. She was almost entirely self-taught and after her marriage to a prominent doctor limited her performing to only two recitals per year. This focused her efforts on her compositions. She also was a strong advocate for music education and advised other female composers. Unfortunately, her music was mostly forgotten for many years after her death in 1944 when it began to be rediscovered.

Encourage students to listen to the various versions of Brahms’s Hungarian Dance #5 and answer the questions to the listening guide in the magazine. What is similar and what is different about the various arrangements?

Brahms Piano Music
  Almost all of Brahms’ piano music is for advanced pianists. Late intermediate students may wish to try selections from Waltzes Op. 39. Originally those were composed as duets, but Brahms later rewrote them for piano solo. He also composed a simplified version. Available editions:

Alfred Publishing, Waltzes Op. 39 for one piano, four hands
FJH Music Company, Waltzes Op. 39 for piano solo
Dover, Brahms, Complete Shorter Works for Piano (includes the simplified version of Op. 39)
Henle, Waltzes Op. 39, piano solo, easy arrangements by the composer
Henle, Waltzes Op. 39, one piano, four hands

Composition Contest

Last Chance to Enter! Deadline is March 8th.

    The annual composition contest was announced in the January issue. The theme for 2019 is Pets. We welcome pieces by students of all levels and experience. Students who have not composed before may not know how to get started so a few basic ideas are included in the issue. The most important factor for the contest is whether a piece is creative, original, and fits the contest theme. We do not want a generic piece with just a title that matches the theme. Some of the best works we have received in past years have come from young or beginning students.

       We require students to submit a statement, signed by them and a parent or guardian, that indicates that the work is entirely their own. They may have assistance from parents or teachers in writing down the notes. Form

Please note that all submissions must be sent via mail or fax – no email entries. If you are outside the U.S., please check with us about exceptions to this requirement. [email protected]

Send compositions to

Piano Explorer
Composition Contest
1838 Techny Court, Northbrook, IL 60062

Fax: 847-446-6263

Good luck to everyone!


Answers to March Puzzles

Word Search (page 5):

Quiz (page 14):
1. b 2. c. 3. Gaelic Symphony 4. b 5. a. 6. face, neck, elbows, fingers, legs, feet, shoulders, etc. 7. a


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.

Spring 2019 Composers
January: Prokofiev
February: J.C. Bach
March: Amy Beach and Brahms
April: Telemann
May/June: Mendelssohn
July/August: Holst

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

Contest Rules

Deadline: March 8, 2019

1. Students or their teacher must subscribe to Piano Explorer. (If the teacher subscribes, he or she must have as many subscriptions as students who have entered.) Students must be 18 years or younger.

2. Only solo piano music will be considered for prizes.

3. Write your name, age, address, phone number, and teacher’s name on the back of the music.

4. All compositions must be written by students. Parents and teachers may help write down the notes.

5. Do not quote other pieces of music in your compositions. We cannot print such pieces due to copyright laws. You must also include the signed statement on page 14 to participate.

6. Keep a copy for yourself. We cannot return music.

7. All submissions must be postmarked or faxed by the deadline, March 8, 2019. We are not responsible for pieces that are delayed in the mail.

8. Last year’s first-prize winners may not enter this year.

9. Drawings are encouraged, but not required.

10. Fax or mail entries only. Please no emails!

11. Make sure to compose music specifically to the topic. Don’t just add a fitting title to a composition you already have.

12. You must include a description of the piece. This is NOT optional. If you want your piece considered for a prize, you must write a few sentences about how your music represents the topic.

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 was announced in the January issue and online in January (see above). Note you must subscribe to Piano Explorer to submit a composition.