November Teacher’s Guide

Maurice Ravel

Have students listen to excerpts from Ravel’s compositions. Discuss the different styles he incorporated in them, including Spanish music, modes, unusual chords and harmonies, Impressionism, jazz, and Asian melodies. Look at Impressionist paintings and discuss how painters played with light and atmosphere as opposed to an exact story or depiction. How did Debussy, Ravel and others of the time do this with music?

Study guide for Bolero
Bolero is one of the most recognizable melodies of classical music. It is a great piece to study with a group of students in a theory class or a piano group class. Here are some questions teachers might use when discussing this work.
1. The piece opens with a repetitive snare drum rhythm. Does the rhythm stop after the introduction or does it remain underneath the orchestra for the duration of the piece?
2. What instrument first plays the main theme? Name as many instruments as you can that carry the famous melody throughout the piece.
3. Does the piece begin loud or soft? How do the dynamics change?
4. Describe what happens in the final moments of the music. What instruments are playing? What is the dynamic level? How does Ravel end the piece?

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: 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 November Puzzles

Listening (page 5):
Fanfare for the Common Man: slow and loud
Molly on the Shore: mostly soft and fast:
Pines of the Appian Way: slow and soft to slow and loud at the end
Candide Overture: fast and loud

Crossword Puzzle (page 13):

Quiz (page 15):
1. c 2. a 3. a 4. b 5. a 6. various answers

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.