September Teacher’s Guide

Listening Guide:

Schubert’s Impromptu Op. 90, No. 4 in A flat major  pdf
   Listen for two distinct features in this piece: cascading arpeggio figures and blocked chords with a melody in the top voice. Notice how Schubert goes back and forth between those two motives. Some of them will be in minor keys, and others in major. Can you tell the difference?

   Although the piece is written in A flat major, the opening is in the key of A flat minor and the music later shifts into a major key. How does it change the mood of the music?

   Notice the pattern in the left hand underneath the arpeggios – there is a single bass note followed by a longer chord. Later in the piece, underneath similar right-hand arpeggios, the left hand starts to play a melody.

   The melody grows in intensity until the music reaches a fortissimo level and tumbles down in another cascade of arpeggios. These lead into a triplet section, which highlights another beautiful melody in the right hand.

   Notice how the melody is hidden in the top of the right hand, on the first triplet of each beat. When the triplets end, a familiar section returns. Do you remember this section from earlier in the piece?

   Soon after this, you will hear a new section – a beautiful melody on top of fast-paced chords. The chords are played in both hands, and the melody is at the top of the right hand part.

   The melody is sweet at times and sad at others. Notice how the creascendos and decrescendos shape the phrases (musical sentences) and help express the feeling of the rising and falling melodies.

   The last few sections of the piece should sound familiar. Do you recognize where they are from? Where did you hear them before?

Otto Erich Deutsch
Similar to the Köchel numbers for Mozart’s music, Schubert’s music uses a D before the number. The D stands for Deutsch. Otto Deutsch was an Austrian musicologist who made a detailed catalog of all of Schubert’s music.

Recommended recordings of Schubert music:
Schubert Impromptus D 899 and D 935, Krystian Zimerman (Deutsche Grammophon, 1992)
Schubert Piano Works, Alfred Brendel, 7-disc set (Decca, 2011)
Alfred Brendel Plays and Introduces Schubert Works DVD, (Euroarts, 2007)
Schubert Symphonies No. 1 and 8, R. Mutti with Wiener Philharmoniker (EMI Classics, 2012)
Schubert, Trout Quintet, Etc., (Sony, 2005)


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.

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.

Answers to September Puzzles

Word Scramble (page 5): Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Chopin, Schubert

Quiz (page 15): 1. a 2. various answers 3. a 4. a 5. b 6. d 7. a

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.