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CONTENTS V O L U M E 4 1 | N U M B E R 2 | FA L L 2 0 1 7


5 President’s Message Gwen Churchill

22 MTAC Order Form 35 Legal News Elaine Dai, Esq.

38 Book and Music Reviews Heather Morris


6 I Am Not an Accompanist Robert Thies

12 As CDs Become Obsolete, Will You Shift to Streaming? Leila Viss

14 Clara Schumann and the Opus 15 Quatre Pieces Fugitives Part I of II Justin Philip Nash

18 Helpful Insights from Master Class Teachers Page 6

Fung Ho

23 Teaching the Bach Sinfonias: A Reminder Part I of II Dean Curtis

26 Fundamentals of Teaching Students with Special Needs Annie Wang and Maggie Wang Page 32

30 Schoenberg’s Three Piano Pieces, Opus 11 Charles Fierro


32 Finding the Perfect Flute! Cynthia Kelley

Bravura Innovations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Lee Galloway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 MusiKeys, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Piano Technicians Guild . . . . . . . . . . . 21 San Francisco Conservatory of Music. . . . 4 Spotlight Musicals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Steinway & Sons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Truluck Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Cover photo is of a 2017-2022 Young Artist Guild Member

CaliforniaMusicTeacher STATE BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Gwen Churchill Publisher Music Teachers’ Association of California® CMT Coordinators Verna Balch Jane Beseda Design & Layout Low & Joe Creative Printer Lauretta Printing Published by the Music Teachers’ Association of California 833 Market Street Suite 900 San Francisco CA 94103

First Vice President Jane Masur Second Vice President Janice Sheng Treasurer Nancy Woo Recording Secretary Marceline Lee Membership Secretary Carol Townsend Directors Mindy Cabral Grace Macatangay Edwards Debbie Siemer

The Music Teachers’ Association of California, incorporated in 1897, is a professional organization of approximately 5,000 members. Throughout its 100- year history, MTAC has dedicated its efforts toward the pursuit of excellence in music education. Each of the more than sixty Branches throughout the state maintains its own schedule of programs and activities and participates in statewide projects and programs. The California Music Teacher is a peer-reviewed journal. Annual subscription is included with MTAC membership dues. Please report address changes to: MTAC, 833 Market Street, Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94103. Copyright 2017 by Music Teachers’ Association of California. All rights reserved. Nothing in this publication may be duplicated or reprinted without the advance written permission of the publisher. The statements and opinions expressed on these pages are not necessarily those of the publisher, MTAC. CMT reserves the right to refuse any advertising that conflicts with its policies. Acceptance of advertising does not imply endorsements. The publisher assumes no responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts, photos, or artwork. Unsolicited letters to the editor, articles, and other editorial matter will be edited at the discretion of CMT staff. MTAC reserves the right not to publish any material deemed inappropriate by the publisher. Please address all editorial and advertising correspondence to: California Music Teacher, 833 Market Street, Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94103. The California Music Teacher magazine would like to publish articles of interest to music teachers written by our own MTAC members. CMT is looking to feature well-written, pedagogically-sound, appealing articles that offer original perspectives to our readership. Suggested topics include composition, improvisation, repertoire, rhythm, technique, technology, business aspects of the studio, and any other topics of interest to those in the music teaching profession. The California Music Teacher magazine serves as an up-to-date source of information on all aspects of music teaching and serves to promote the mission of the Music Teachers’ Association of California. We strive to promote excellence in the music teaching profession through high membership standards, strong ethical values, and continuing professional education. Our editorial committee and feature article writers all work in a volunteer capacity. CMT appreciates the dedication and expertise of these many volunteers. The opinions of the authors do not necessarily express the opinions of MTAC.


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MTAC Mission: To pursue excellence in music education and advance the music teaching profession through innovative programs that foster artistic growth and achievement.

Welcome to a new year of teaching. It is a new beginning for me as I step into the position as your 63rd President. I do this with great humility and passion for our mission. This is a forceful organization powered by the talent of our Branch members, the State Board, and the Executive Director and Office staff. Together, we will achieve great things! I am excited to lead the newly installed State Board for the next two years. Our continuing members are Jane Masur, First Vice President; Janice Sheng, Second Vice President; Marceline Lee, Recording Secretary; and Nancy Woo, Treasurer. Joining the Board are Carol Townsend, Membership Secretary; Mindy Cabral, First Director; Grace Macatangay Edwards, Second Director; and Debbie Siemer, Third Director. The focus of the State Board and State Office Staff will be on strategic and effective ways to move the organization forward. With our eye on the future, we will expand our member support and put many new resources at your fingertips. We want you happy! Our “homework” for the next two years is to implement the new Strategic Plan for 2017-2019, with particular emphasis on programs. The new online system will integrate all of our state programs, making them easier to use and offering greater access for parents. The Strategic Plan is directed towards creating more value for you—our most valuable asset. State Programs sponsored by the Association are: Adult Performance, Certificate of Merit, Composers Today, Improvisation, Piano Concerto/ Solo Competition, and VOCE. With the start of a new year, I am self-reflecting on ways to improve what and how I teach. How can I enhance my teaching to reach the inner recesses of a student’s mind and soul? How can I help my students experience more joy and satisfaction in their playing? For both you and me, The California Music Teacherr is a great resource to enhance our skills. Through this publication we can find new ideas and methods that will spark change and renew us in our daily teaching. There are nuggets of insight for us to discover in this issue. The articles cover a wide range of topics: the importance of collaborative artists, teaching students with special needs, and making the shift from CDs to streaming. Look carefully—there will also be articles for violinists and flutists. I am confident that we will all find new ideas to brighten our musical experience. I wish you happy teaching moments and fulfilling experiences with all of your students this year.

Gwen Churchill MTAC State President, 2017-2019

6 | California Music Teacher

No t



e all know what makes a joke finished. In fact, many managers would drop funny: the fact that there is truth artists from their rosters if they went down this to it. Two years ago I saw a brilliant path. One could not break the aura of being a six-minute mock interview with soloist. When established artists like Arthur Nick Canellakis and Emanuel Ax, who showed a Rubinstein were asked to perform with superstars wonderful sense of humor. In this short video, like Jascha Heifetz, they often demanded to Mr. Ax, in spite of his prolific present a solo recital in that city and varied career as a soloist and first to reinforce their identity recording artist, is introduced as as a soloist. How labels The great collaborative pianist nothing more than “the accomGerald Moore wrote, “To some panist for Yo-Yo Ma.” and semantics “Do you ever play the accomconcert promoters in those days, affect our paniment parts alone?” asks the accompanist was hardly considered a supporting artist: he Nick. “No,” replies Emanuel understanding with a beautiful comeback, “you was a cipher of little importance, and performance need those five or six notes from contributing no more to the success of the concert than the cloakthe cello.”1 of music room attendant at the other end There are many brilliant undercurrents running through this of the hall.”2 short interview, but I think the most important Why is that? Because for many years, there takeaway is the feigned annoyance that Nick shows was a stigma around accompanying—a term over realizing that Emanuel’s identity doesn’t fit still widely used to encompass any kind of colthe mold that he conveniently made for him. It laborative music making—that one pursues a should give us pause and question our perceptions career in accompanying if he isn’t good enough of the pianist’s role in chamber music. to be a soloist. Obviously such an assertion is Historically, concert pianists were severely antiquated and preposterous. warned by their managers that once they agreed In recent years, this categorizing and labeling to play chamber music, that they would be have started to wane. With long-established soforevermore branded as accompanists or chamber loists like Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, musicians, and their solo careers would be and András Schiff agreeing to share the stage with continued Fall 2017 | 7

So, what should the pianist do in a collaborative environment? iHave conviction about the music and the way it should be performed, and don’t be afraid to share your ideas. The collaboration should be about serving the music, so if you have ideas for facilitating and improving the experience, speak up. Everyone is responsible for the outcome of the performance. iBecause

you play from a full score, you have a broader picture of the music, and often your partner will lean on you for your thoughts and ideas. Present them kindly, and most of the time your partner will be happy to oblige. iAsk your partner if there is any place where he needs more time to breathe in a phrase. Ask him if there are any places in the music where he could use more room dynamically.

Have conviction about controlling your instrument the way you were trained for so many years. Educate


the other musicians and their teachers on what a raised piano lid does for the sound. Do not let them dictate how you should play your instrument. If your partner gets nervous about a raised lid, as many do, ask if you could rehearse once with it open. 99.9% of the time, someone in the audience will confirm that the balance is perfect, and this will give your partner reassurance. i Respect yourself. Don’t accept an engagement that puts you in a compromised position professionally. If the violinist remembers only a week before the concert that there’s a piano part in the piece, walk away. This isn’t somebody you want to work with, as they are obviously self-consumed and not collaborative by nature. iUnderstand and remember that most teachers only pass on what they were taught themselves, so don’t give up the fight regarding your convictions about the music or your role in it. Teachers need to continue learning too. iDemand

equal billing in promotion and advertising, and ask for a fee that makes you feel respected for your efforts. iDon’t wait for acknowledgment from your partner onstage. Stand up and bow with her. iBe an active and enthusiastic participant in any pre-concert lecture. Audiences love learning more about the music, getting to know the performers a bit, and they will enjoy your performance much, much more. 8 | California Music Teacher

NOT AN ACCOMPANIST other musicians, perceptions of these pianists’ roles have evolved. In the world of art song, starting with Schubert, the pianist became an equal partner in the musical expression of the poetry to which the music was set. The pianist is no more an accompanist than the singer is; they accompany each other. Schumann further expanded the role of the piano in depicting the poetry, and he is well known for writing extended piano postludes to some of his songs, as in his famous song cycles Frauenliebe und Leben and Dichterliebe. In a brief article on the Steinway website, Brian Wise referenced pianist and author Susan Tomes, “The downgrading of pianists to accompanists would shock the composers. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, composers were pianists themselves and conceived art songs as duos.”3 The pianist Iain Burnside, writes, “I always think of what my mentor, Eric Sams, said – that the whole song repertoire is a piano art form rather than a singer’s. After all, the great Lied and song composers were pianists [not singers]. Once you’ve got that idea in your brain, it’s hard to be comfortable with the idea that what you’re doing is merely ‘accompanying’. And in Lieder, of course, it’s the pianist who leads.”4 I have pondered for many years just what it is that bothers me so much about the title “accompanist,” and I finally arrived at an answer. Simply put, an accompanist is someone who plays for someone else, perhaps in a lesson, audition, or rehearsal. And many pianists are most comfortable in such an environment, but typically pianists prefer not to play for, but with others. Still, many collaborative pianists are conditioned to believe that they are accompanying the “soloist.” However, by definition, the word “soloist” suggests one who performs alone, and therefore, the title does not apply to chamber music. Many conservatory teachers fulfill an

unwritten mandate to foster soloists and superstars, and perhaps this explains why many singers and instrumentalists don’t know how to shift their thinking when they are in a collaborative environment. I once saw on social media a violinist proudly announcing his upcoming “solo recital,” and then he lists the sonatas he is going to perform with a pianist. “Semantics,” one might argue, but these subtle checks on misused terms can mean the difference of a polite pianist doing his job unobtrusively—but feeling forgotten in the process—versus an energized, committed pianist feeling acknowledged for the responsibility she has towards the success of the performance, and wanting to make a memorable musical statement. If the pianist is an equal partner in art song, in the chamber sonata, the pianist is often the primary voice. While the Franck Violin Sonata or the Rachmaninoff Cello Sonata are two obvious examples, one can look at any chamber sonata of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms— or anyy Romantic composer—and see a pattern. Most of our celebrated composers were accomplished pianists themselves, and so it is natural that their writing for the piano became the foundation of the musical material. The original title on Beethoven’s

manuscript for his beloved Kreutzer need to approach and perform this repSonata was Sonata for the Pianoforte ertoire with a commitment and convicwith violin obbligato. Beethoven might tion that they bring to their solo repertoire. have learned this from the example of Why are the chamber sonatas and Mozart, and it was the standard title art song so misunderstood by audiences? for the sonatas of Brahms and Part of it is psychological. As soon as one Schumann, and others that followed. musician stands in front of the piano, it However, the reality is that musicians is natural for the eye to go to the person and aficionados often refer to them as standing in front. “Tomes attributes the the Mozart Violin Sonatas modern hierarchy [of muor Brahms Cello Sonatas sicians] to the rise of cebecause it is less cumberlebrity soloists such as The pianist is some to identify them in Paganini, who stood out no more an this manner. Unfortufront and moved about nately, by using this con- accompanist than theatrically while the piavenient shorthand nist sat in profile to the the singer is; nomenclature, the impliaudience.”5 But as soon as cations take root and add one more musithey accompany you gradually affect percepcian to the stage to make tion. But not for Joa trio, everyone is seated each other. hannes Brahms! There is making the “playing field” a beloved story among pianists that equal, and suddenly the pianist is perafter premiering his own E Minor Cell ceived as an equal. I always admired lo Sonata, an audience member ap- Yo-Yo Ma in recital because he positions proached the composer and said, “Mr. his seat next to the pianist’s piano bench. Brahms, I had difficulty hearing the (A quick Google Image search “Yo Yo cello at times,” to which Brahms re- Ma in Recital” will illustrate this.) This marked, “what cello?” stage positioning immediately encourSo, what is all the fuss about titles and ages the audience to perceive the two names? Why do they matter? And if a musicians as partners. pianist enjoys being called an accompaIn the beautiful A-Major Violin Sonist, why should it affect me? The answer nata by Fauré, the pianist, without is simple: if pianists believe their primary introduction, dives right into the first function is only to support theme of the exposition, and only then the other performer and does the violinist enter, commenting make him sound good— on the theme. Many who came to hear but stay out of their way in the “featured” violinist might perceive the process—they are fall- this opening as nothing more than a ing short in their responsi- gratuitous piano introduction, in which bilities to the music itself. case they have just missed the opening And by not serving the theme of the piece. Indeed, an audience’s misperception music, they are doing a disservice to their audienc- may not be due to the performers at all, es, their partners onstage, but rather the presenters. Was this proand the composer. Pianists continued

Fall 2017 | 9

What should our string, vocal, and woodwind collaborators do? i Come to the first rehearsal fully prepared. Know the piano part as well as your own, and understand how your melodic lines fit into the overall texture. Know when to make room for the pianist when they have the melodic line. i Ask the pianist “What do you need from me?” This will be an unexpected, but welcome gesture. It immediately shows respect for and interest in the pianist’s burden. You will be colleagues for a very long time. i Be

prepared that a pianist will often seek a slower tempo than you had conceived. Many factors come into play in choosing a good tempo, and one consideration are all the voices the pianist must negotiate. If backing off the tempo a little allows the inner voices to be heard clearly, then “less is more” (i.e. slightly slower tempo provides a better musical result.) i Make

sure that all performers’ bios and photos are present in all publicity, and that they are treated with the same respect and professionalism. i If

the pianist is shy and is conditioned to play with the lid at half-stick (or worse), ask him if he would mind raising the lid completely. A raised lid significantly increases the clarity of tone, not the volume, and this will improve your performance. i Always refer to the pianist as a pianist, and encourage others to do the same. Instead of saying “my pianist,” say “my partner.” i After the piece is over, give the pianist a handshake or hug onstage acknowledging the great experience of the musical journey you took together, and then bow together.

NOT AN ACCOMPANIST moted as a “violin recital”? Did the poster include both performers’ names in equal font with both of their photos? These subtleties in the publicity can aff fect one’s perception of the experience they are going to have. What would happen, for example, if the pianist’s name were listed first in the program or in the publicity? It would defy tradition, but does that make it wrong? Too frequently the pianist’s name is not even mentioned in the publicity. When the honorarium is already low, as is the reality for many concert-presenting organizations, sometimes the only thing one can hope for is a sign of acknowledgment and respect. Noted collaborative pianist Warren Jones believes that “a rewarding career comes down to mutually respecting the ego and self-respect and self-worth of our partners.”6 Before we can expect our audiences to understand the dynamics of a chamber music performance, the performers must understand their roles, and then perpetuate a sense of partnership and equality onstage and off. Students might question the traditions that their teachers were taught and learn by example by attending live performances. In conclusion, why do we have collaborative pianists, but not collaborative violinists? Are pianists the only musicians who collaborate? Warren Jones prefers the title “pianist” and humor-

ously points out, “We don’t think about, for example, whether someone is an opera soprano or recital baritone.”7 One who sings is a singer; one who plays the violin is a violinist. Can we agree then that one who plays the piano is simply…a pianist? To effect change in the way audiences and musicians perceive the musical experience might take generations to accomplish. When I take my bows after playing a huge sonata program with a violinist or cellist, and I see that most of the audience members’ eyes are on my partner, I can get disheartened and even feel invisible. And yet I keep pursuing these performances because this repertoire is among the most sublime in all the literature, and with the right partner, there are few musical experiences more gratifying. Q 1




5 6 7

Nick Cannelakis, “Conversations with Nick Cannelakis: Emanuel Ax,” https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=QKCpCzntriE (accessed June 9, 2017). Gerald Moore, Am I Too Loud?: Memoirs of an Accompanist. (New York, NY: The Macmillan Company, 1962). Brian Wise, “Revemge of the Collaborative Pianist,” https://www.steinway.com/news/ features/revenge-of-the-collaborative-pianists (accessed June 10, 2017). Tom Service, “Accompanists: the Unsung Heroes of Music,” https://www.theguardian.com/music/ tomserviceblog/2012/mar/04/accompanists-unsung-heroes-music (accessed June 9, 2017). Brian Wise, 2017. Ibid. Ibid.

Robert Thies enjoys a diverse career as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and recording artist. Winner of the Gold Medal at the Second International Prokofiev Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia, he has already performed 40 different concerti with orchestras all over the world, including the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia, Mexico City Philharmonic, as well as the Fort Worth and Louisville Orchestras. www.robertthies.org

As CDs Become Obsolete, Will You Shift to

Streaming? by Leila Viss


ompact disks, or CDs, take up plenty of space on my shelves but are rarely used. It’s a shame as I have hundreds that feature favorite and standard repertoire interpreted by renowned recording artists. They’ve been spun for decades to inspire students and build discerning ears. Lately, the disks have been silenced because the devices on which to play them are nonexistent in my home, with the exception of one desktop computer and a vehicle with a CD player. Sadly, my carefully organized CD library is collecting dust. Is yours? Perhaps not. Perhaps you can’t imagine parting with that five-disk Sony player connected to large, high-definition speakers and all those CDs! When that day comes and the CD player finally dies, what will you do? Will you shift to a streaming service? A more accurate question is when will you make the switch to streaming and join the emerging trend for accessing music? Circumstances will determine your answer soon enough. To clarify, streaming is the process of listening to music over the internet, through Wi-Fi or cellular data. This is a step beyond Apple’s iTunes where a tune is purchased, downloaded, and stored permanently on a device. When

12 1 2 | Caallif iifor for orni orni nia Mu ussiic Te Teac ache her

music is streamed live or on demand, the tracks are sent directly to a device via the internet and files are not saved, only “borrowed.” When it’s time to make the shift to streaming music, you’ll want to know what service is right for you as a listener and a music teacher. To do this, it’s best to learn how your students are currently accessing their music. Although I did my share of research on this topic, it wasn’t hard to find the answer in my own home. My three college-aged sons have carried smartphones with them for years. iTunes was the designated way to buy music, but now Spotify is their preferred method. It’s not hard to see why when you take a look at Spotify’s features and price tag. Spotify is a web-based service, which means that once an account is set up, it can be accessed on various devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets. Listeners can browse and search for songs and artists. Playlists of favorites can be created and easily shared. With a paid account, the 30,000,000-plus songs, videos, and podcasts can be downloaded to personal devices. Spotify was the first of its kind to offer streaming. It dominates the market and is extremely attractive as the free account still gives access to most of the Spotify library with a few restrictions

and ads every 30 minutes. The service hooked the younger crowd early on with a $5 monthly premium subscription for students. With a paid account, music can be downloaded and accessed offline. In essence, Spotify provides a massive library of music, and the tunes can be played and saved on a device. If the service is canceled, any downloaded music will not be available. Artists’ royalties from such a service is a controversial and worthy topic, but one best saved for another article. It’s relatively easy to curate repertoire into playlists and share them with fellow Spotify users, making the app ideal for teachers. Even performances of wellknown artists in the world of piano teaching, like Diane Hidy, can be found in the library. There are numerous options for sharing a specific recording or playlist with a student. They can be emailed, shared on Facebook, sent via Messenger to any Facebook friends, sent as a text message, or included in a document with a shareable link. Apple Music imitated the model of Spotify with one main difference: any tune that is purchased from the iTunes store or that is already in a library will never be removed from an account. Both Spotify and Apple Music offer a 24/7 radio station with channels featuring various styles, just like the free service Pandora. Pandora allows users to create their own radio station based on their favorite artists and songs and suggests similar music based on the listener’s taste.

Pandora has now branched into a premium service and, like Spotify, allows users to download songs. Other similar streaming services that are gaining popularity include Google Play and Amazon Music Unlimited. An alternative to streaming services is YouTube. Although it’s loaded with ads, YouTubee is perhaps the easiest resource for finding and sharing a video performance of just about any piece. If you don’t like advertisements, check out YouTube Red. Since anyone can post a performance on YouTube, there is little quality control, which can make it difficult to find a satisfactory one that meets most standards. To remedy this situation, Dr. Alan Huckleberry and Dr. Jason Sifford from the University of Iowa started a project that provides a growing video database with high-quality performances of piano repertoire at a central location. Their YouTube channel contains professionallevel video recordings of repertoire that can be used as a standard, or baseline, for students as they search and encounter numerous videos of the same piece. Allowing students to hear both a high-quality performance from the University of Iowa’s library and another that is not of the same quality can be a learning opportunity and a chance to build discerning ears. Streaming music will inevitably take the place of CDs, but the services listed above may not offer all the repertoire that piano teachers need. In this case,

it’s best to download favorite CD tracks and store the MP3 files in an iTunes library or in Dropbox or Google Drive. Properly discarding unwanted CDs is important as they contain plastics and chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Both the disks and their cases are recyclable and should be submitted to free recycling services such as the CD Recycling Center of America. Whether you like it or not, CDs will become obsolete. At this point, choosing which streaming service to use is the pressing question as you move beyond a disk player. Ask your students and discover which app they prefer. Enjoy becoming the student and let them teach you how to shift from CDs to streaming! Q Amazon Music Unlimited https://www.amazon.com/gp/dmusic/promotions/ AmazonMusicUnlimited Apple Music https://www.apple.com/apple-music/membership/ CD Recycling Program of America http://cdrecyclingcenter.org/ Dropbox https://www.dropbox.com/plans?trigger=sem Google Drive https://www.google.com/drive/ Google Play https://play.google.com/store?hl=en Pandora https://www.pandora.com/ Spotify http://www.spotify.com/ The University of Iowa Piano Pedagogy Video Recording Project http://www.alanhuckleberry.com/the-university-of-iowa-piano-pedagogy-video-recording-project.html UIPianoPed YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed YouTube Red https://www.youtube.com/red

Leila Viss uses a creative-based, tech-savvy approach to develop lifetime pianists at her independent piano studio in Centennial, Colorado. She holds a church organist position, blogs at 88pianokeys.me, writes a regular column for Clavier Companion called “Teaching With Apps” and authored “The iPad Piano Studio,” now distributed by Alfred Music. With Bradley Sowash, she is co-founder of 88 Creative Keys, a teacher workshop promoting creativity at the keys. She has helped with planning the 2013, 2014 MTNA Jazz/Pop Tracks and served as chair of the 2015 Creative Pianist Track for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. Fall 2017 | 13


Clara Schumann AND THE OPUS 15 QUATRE PIECES FUGITIVES by Justin Philip Nash


any of us were energized by the 2017 Convention, Breaking Barriers. One woman who broke many barriers was Clara Schumann (18191896). This article is Part I of an analysis of Clara’s riveting piano piece, the Op. 15 Quatre Pieces Fugitives, and is based on the author’s Masters of Fine Arts thesis, Clara Schumann’s Extemporaneous Compositional Process, completed at Mills College in 2014.1 Look for Part II in the Spring 2018 issue of the CMT. Clara Schumann’s Op. 15 was published in 1845, about ten years after Robert Schumann’s Davidsbundlerr appeared in the Neue Zeitschrift, and approximately eight years after Robert’s

A Gateway to the Romantic Period


14 | California Music Teacher

Op. 12 Fantasiestücke, a piece that Oxford Music Onlinee says “inaugurates a shift in emphasis from larger to smaller forms.”2 Famously attributed to Brahms (who was barely twelve years old at this time), Clara Schumann’s character pieces feature small motives, masterfully engineered into larger, cohesive sections. ™ One important motive in Clara Schumann’s Op. 15 is labelled as Motive A, plainly stated in the first movement, Larghetto. This motive is defined rhythmically: three eighth notes begin on an upbeat and culminate in a two note slur. Meanwhile, Motive A segments in the left hand, softly arpeggiating upward, set the stage for lyrical melodies.

† While the first beat throughout the Larghetto is emphasized in the right hand, the second beat is prolonged, and the third beat is held over. The hold on beat three is purposeful: beat three heralds a change in sections throughout the piece (see below). The result is a calm yet subtly pensive serenade. †

Notice how measures 16 and 17, and measures 18 and 19, create two separate melodic units that now culminate on the third beat. Not only is Schumann altering the work harmonically, but she is also displacing Motive A; the third beat (previously hidden) is now highlighted. The use of triplets also foreshadows the second movement, a Scherzo in 9/8 time. ‡ Robert Schumann’s Davidsbundler sought to develop new musical structures beyond sonata-allegro form. Clara Schumann’s Larghetto follows suit. While it contains eight-bar phrases typical of the Classical era, the B section (mm. 16-28) features harmonic modulations previously reserved for the development sections of larger sonatas. ‡

Clara Schumann was perhaps more famous as a virtuoso, and she was highly sensitive to the tastes of her listeners. She often criticized Robert Schumann after playing his works, especially when they were ill-received by the public. There is no doubt she had a major impact on his compositional style, as we see in this famous passage from their letters: Listen Robert, won’t you for once compose something brilliant, easily understandable, and something without titles, something that is a complete, coherent piece, not too long and not too short? I would so love to have something of yours to play in concerts, something written for an audience. Admittedly, that is degrading for a genius, but politics demands it now; once one has given the public something that it understands, then one can also put something a bit more difficult before it—but the audience must first be won over.3 ˆ Ironically, Mme. Schumann’s letter reveals an important precept of her own compositional process: win the audience over with what they know, before presenting them with something new.4 While the B section of the Larghetto presents variation, Clara Schumann’s phrases are grounded by a smooth, chromatic bass line. This is the first time in the Larghetto that the left hand has punctuated a succession of beats, on the beat, and it is a stirring effect. ˆ

Schumann’s retransition is both innovative and respectful of established patterns. After an A Major chord in measure 24, acting as the temporary tonic, aਡII appears. Directly modulating between A Major and A Minor at measure 26, (with A Minor being the relative minor of the Dominant of F Major), Clara finds a way back to the original key. Notice that this flighty, windswept use of fragmented Motive A in a “three over two” meter is more than showmanship; Schumann covertly realigns Motive A with its original place in the measure. The slur is moved slightly into the measure via eighth note rests; however at measure 29, the two note slur finally reappears on the beat, signaling a return of Motive A. By measure 31, the home key of F Major is tonicontinued Fall 2017 | 15



cized. Rhythmic schemes, as Clara demonstrates, take formal precedence over harmony.5 ‰ Teachers often need pieces to serve as a “gateway” into the advanced repertoire. The second movement, marked Un poco agitato, serves this purpose well. Repeated chords and staccato notes require stamina, a supple wrist and firm finger tips. The student is also challenged to solve problems such as linking scales between two hands. One instance of this occurs at measures six through eight and is shown above. Notice the unorthodox fingering—the deliberate use of a repeated thumb at the omitted octave prepares the wrist for the change in technique required. By introducing the hand to Clara Schumann’s virtuosic material in a sequential way, the student will learn valuable practice skills such as outlining. Clara Schumann’s Un poco agitato appears in A B A’ form. When analyzing phrase structure, consider the first measure as an extended pick up. After doing this, the A section appears to include three distinct phrases, followed by a Codetta at measure 21. The Codetta shifts emphasis to beat two, anticipating the scherzo-like qualities of the B section. Clara Schumann wrote the Op. 15 shortly after marrying Robert. Her lifestyle changed from that of a touring virtuoso to that of a 19th Century housewife. Reich writes that she “accompanied groups her husband conducted [and] she played and sang in performances of his works.”6 Her concert programs show heavy use of chamber music and songs, and less in the way of solo showpieces. Perhaps for these reasons, Clara Schumann intentionally incorporates music from her Op. 13 song setting of Heine’s Loreliee (1843), and the Op. 17 Piano Trio in G Minorr (1846) into the Un poco agitato. The falling, repeated chordal figures appear to dominate all three pieces. This was not an act of laziness or deliberate “self plagiarism.” On the contrary, Clara Schumann was designing music to suit the needs of her concert programs according to the customs of her day. Talk about going above and beyond!

Goertzen writes that “by the later 1830s, Clara’s programs usually included a group of three or four short pieces, which constituted one number on the printed program and was performed as a continuous unit, with transitions connecting one piece with the next.”7 Transitions, therefore would have been short improvisational interludes, designed to remember the music played before them while simultaneously preparing listeners for what was ahead. A performer was responsible not only for recreating composed music, but composing music “on the spot.” Clara Schumann’s Op. 15 survives as a gateway into the performance practices that dominated the Romantic period as a whole. Though students now often specialize either in performing or in composition, Clara Schumann challenges us to study both simultaneously as a means toward a higher level of mastery in our art. The extent to which a student pursues either one can vary, depending on their aspirations...but we should encourage a basic understanding of both. This concludes our discussion for now. In Part II we will examine Op. 15 Quatre Pieces Fugitives, movements three and four. Q 1




5 6


Nash, Justin Philip. Clara Schumann’s Extemporaneous Compositional Process. MFA thesis, Mills College. Ann Arbor: ProQuest/UMI, 2014. (1562063). John Daverio and Eric Sams. “Schumann, Robert.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed June 7, 2017, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/40704pg6. Clara and Robert Schumann, The Complete Correspondence of Clara and Robert Schumann, Vol. 2, ed. Eva Weissweiler, trans. Hildegard Fritsch and Ronald L. Crawford (New York: Peter Lang, 1996): 138. Nash. Clara Schumann’s Extemporaneous Compositional Process. MFA thesis, Mills College. Ann Arbor: ProQuest/UMI, 2014. (1562063): 18-19. Ibid., 25. Nancy B. Reich, Clara Schumann: The Artist and the Woman, rev. ed. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001): 215. Valerie Woodring Goertzen, “Setting the Stage. Clara Schumann’s Preludes,” In the Course of Performance. Studies in the World of Musical Improvisation, edited by Bruno Nettl (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998): 241.

Justin Philip Nash (b. 1981) is director of Liturgical Music at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church in San Francisco. He also teaches piano and ukulele at Saint Cecilia Catholic School in Parkside, S.F. Justin holds a BA in Music from Humboldt State University (2008), and a MFA in Music Performance from Mills College (2014). Justin currently studies piano with Dr. Lynne Garrett of Santa Maria, and is a member of the MTAC Alameda-South branch.

16 | California Music Teacher

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hen I was a student at the Man- be. I also realized that they would occasionally hattan School of Music, the need a second opinion from someone who was world-famous pedagogue, Josef primarily a performer, or they might need a Gingold, gave a Master Class. master teacher’s help to discover what would I couldn’t sleep the entire week after learning work for them. My goal was to be a great teachthat I would play the Brahms Concerto in the er who could observe what each particular student class. It was nerve-wracking to think of my peers needed to flourish, whether from my own teachsitting in the audience, with envy, asking why I ing or from a Master Class. had the opportunity of a lifetime to play in front Throughout the past thirty-three years of my of Mr. Gingold. teaching career I have taught master classes, When I started to play, I was nervous and both locally and abroad, and arranged many made so many mistakes that I wanted to hide. classes with master teachers. All of the master However, the minute Mr. teachers were my colleagues Gingold spoke, it was as if I and friends who have successful careers in performance went into a relaxing meditaA great teacher... tion. With his gentle grandpaworldwide, or teach high levhelps you realize, on el students in conservatories. like voice, he asked what was Most of the time they hapthe most difficult passage for your own, what your me. I realized that a great pened to be “passing by” Los teacher does not tell you what Angeles, which can be beneproblems are to do. He helps you realize, ficial financially. If someone on your own, what your problems are. A student is coming to be a soloist with my youth orchescan then listen to suggestions, fix the mistakes, tra, I always ask them to tag on a master class. and immediately improve the playing of a pas- I am a strong believer in free and open classes sage. Mr. Gingold was never harsh. Every com- for both the performers and audience. We are ment was politely suggestive, and I felt at ease in the business of teaching, and promoting in learning new ideas and tackling my problems. classical music, so imagine the knowledge and When I became a teacher myself, this became encouragements the students receive from these master classes. Priceless! the model for the way I wanted to teach. After graduation, life took me through the The length of a master class is two and onechallenging world of teaching and freelancing. half hours with a maximum of six students, As I taught, I realized that my students would preferably five. Each student has enough time only be as good as my teaching helped them to for the master teacher to personally work with

18 | California Music Teacher

them. There are different levels of master classes and there are specific teachers who are good at different aspects and stages of technical and musical development. Matching up the level of a class with the appropriate master teacher is of utmost importance. Master teachers who are full time performers are very effective with higher level players in bringing out their musicality and communication with the audience. I find that full-time teachers work extremely well with intermediate level players, especially in talking about technical set up, thus enabling the student to move on to the next step with ease. I have also observed a downside to master classes. There is often a negative effect for students who are easily affected by criticism. Teachers enroll students to test their abilities, and some teachers even use the classes as an opportunity to cut down the arrogance of certain students who refuse to listen to suggestions. While students can be at different stages of readiness, some teachers are quite reluctant to send their students to play for master classes. I trust that the teachers are making the correct choices for their students. When students can listen to each other performing in a master class, there is no limit to what they can learn and achieve. The following are responses to a questionnaire I sent to some of my colleagues on what they expect of a student in a master class.

Ray Chen International Violin Soloist, 2008 First Place Winner, Menuhin Competition; 2009 First Place Winner,Queen Elizabeth Competition The first impression that’s given by a musician typically starts before the bow is even set to the string. It’s in their demeanor; how they walk on stage, how they introduce themselves. Being confident offstage will usually translate to confidence on stage. Don’t worry about what I’m going to think, the more you have fun up there, the more we will all enjoy your performance.

Brett Deubner International Viola Soloist, Professor of Viola, Queens College, New York For me, the most important thing is the ability to communicate. The student is telling a story and I am always most interested in the student’s ability to create an idea and convey that to the listener. What goes into the process is of course careful attention to detail, intonation, bow control…But it all comes back to the ability to sing through the instrument and tell that story.

Hal Grossman Professor of Violin, University of Oklahoma Here are a few thoughts: I don’t “expect” to hear anything from students when I give a class. I do look at the student’s playing posture: is it working for or against them, is there excessive tension in the hands, neck, back, arms, is the stance supporting the work in the upper body. If that all seems to be working for the student, I next listen for the musical sensibility of the performer. As an older musician, I hope to bring some experienced ears and musical knowledge to assist in the student’s musical journey with their piece. I also look at the student’s performance demeanor (are they comfortable on stage, do they seem to enjoy performing, are they communicating their musical intentions to the audience with the movement of their body as well as with their instrument). Every student is different and so my approach needs to reflect the individual strengths and weaknesses of each student in front of me at the time. continued

Fall 2017 | 19

HELPFUL INSIGHTS Nai-Yuan Hu International Violin Soloist, 1985 First Place Winner, Queen Elizabeth Competition Master class, different from a private lesson, is really a training class for students learning to perform in front of people. I will observe all aspects of their performance, including how they stand in front of the audience; how they tune their instruments (hopefully not too noisily); how they collaborate with their pianists (students often are more concerned with themselves instead of making music with the pianists); and most importantly, whether they are able to express themselves through their interpretation. The most crucial question is: did the performance touch the audience? It is difficult to fix any personal bad habits, such as bow grip or vibrato, in a master class situation, but I will at least point out any problem I may find.

Dr. Ernest Salem Professor of Violin, Cal State Fullerton Here is a summary of what I focus on in a master class: iFundamental aspects of musicianship including pitch, rhythm, tempo, sound quality, dynamics, etc. iViolin basics (posture, hand positions and violinistic technical aspects). iHow these will help or hinder the student’s musical and stylistic performance of whatever work is performed.

Jay Zhong Associate Concertmaster, Santa Rosa Symphony; Violin Instructor, Sonoma State University

and weakness, so I can decide what is appropriate for the short segments of instructions following. Generally, masterclass is not the same as lessons, and is somewhat limited to bigger and general problem-solving, or simply providing a good direction for the learner. On the plus side, it is more entertaining than a regular lesson, and is a good introductory session for the student, teacher, as well as the audience. However, it cannot replace lesson and lesson is far more valuable to the student. These master class teachers have different approaches and ideas, but they have something in common. While some may take a technical approach, and others may take a musical approach, every one of them considers how a student gets the music across to the audience as the most important factor. This is the training we like to give our students, in hopes that they will be able to present themselves, and hold their own in front of an audience. Music at all levels can be beautiful. Q

I usually like to hear a well-prepared performance from the student. This offers me an opportunity to see a complete picture of their strength

My most sincere gratitude goes to all my colleagues for providing me with such wonderful insights to their teaching. Fung Ho is on the violin and orchestra faculty at Cal State University, Los Angeles as well as the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Currently he is the Music Director and Conductor of the Olympia Youth Orchestra in the Greater Los Angeles area. Fung received his Master in Music degree in Violin Performance from the Manhattan School of Music studying under the late Carroll Glenn. Later, in Los Angeles, he did research on pedagogy and repertoire with the late Noumi Fischer.

20 | California Music Teacher

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Bach Sinfonias A REMINDER by Dean Curtis


s a CM evaluator, I would love to hear these sublime pieces more often. I often hear the Little Preludes, the Inventions and the Well-Tempered Clavier, but a Sinfonia performance is rare. I am moved to remind everyone, including myself, that these works are essential to the study of Bach’s keyboard music and that each is a small miracle of beauty and expressiveness. The Sinfoniass have been described as the perfect bridge from the Inventions because they offer just the right level of development in both technique and musicianship to carry the student successfully into Bach’s more advanced music. I note that the CM Syllabus does not list the Sinfoniass until Level 9. It’s true that these works are technically and musically demanding, but there are Level 8 students capable of playing them well, and it’s acceptable (and can be beneficial) to play pieces abovee one’s level. If you are one of the teachers who are closely familiar with these pieces, playing them routinely as part of your

technique maintenance, you already know what I have to say, and I can only hope you will read with pleasure saying “Yes! yes!” as you go along. But I am primarily addressing those readers who have not spent much time with the pieces recently, to offer a reorientation

that I hope will stimulate new interest. I offer a capsule description of each piece, offering scores and more detail about two of my favorites, the C Major and the F minor. You will probably wish to have your own score handy for reference as well. Please don’t be put off by my occasional theory-teacher language. Just take it one phrase at a time and all will be clear! Tempo. There is, as always with Bach, a relatively wide range of acceptable tempos for each piece, and choosing one is the most crucial factor of interpretation. I will offer opinions from my experience, but your decision is as good as mine. There is also the question of how fast a given student will be able to play a piece well, and these pieces lend themselves to different interpretations to agree with different tempos. A piece played relatively slowly, but with high energy and nuance, always will make a better impression than one played too fast to be controlled. continued

Fall 2017 | 23


Sinfonia No. 1 in C Major

I like it played slowly enough that the scales sound melodic rather than figural. The suspensions and other resolving dissonances can be savored, around quarter note at sixty-four. It is often played faster, which of course makes it more brilliant and less subtle. Not easy, despite its friendly key signature, it is distinguished by a jubilant quality resulting mostly from the pervasive use of full-octave scales that buoy the counterpoint. The early emphasis on the dominant key (measure two) also brightens the effect. While the contrast between parallel motion and contrary motion is ubiquitous in Bach, it has a particularly ornamental effect here because the alternations are frequent and the long scalar lines create striking parabolas. The piece is only twenty-one bars long, but it’s a lot of music! Every bar gives us sixteen sixteenth-notes. Like its keymate in the two-part Inventions, this Sinfonia keeps its primary idea—the subject (either the original or its inversion)—in action virtually throughout. All the Sinfoniass (and the Inventions) are pithy demonstrations of harmonic architecture. In this first Sinfonia the structure can be seen clearly by any student (with guidance): • modulation to V, bars 7-8, with the subject transposed to G in the bass • modulation to D minor (ii) / F Major, bars 11-13, leading back via a caressing plagal relation to One-FiveOne in the original key (bars 15-16). There is a glorious climax at bars 16-17, when high C is reached via wonderfully spacious quarter notes (soprano) against an inverted tonic scale (bass) and the subject in the alto, 24 | California Music Teacher

leading into the structural subdominant harmony at bar 18 to set up the final cadence. Other notable moments: • the alto suspensions at bar 3 • the inverted subject woven into the authentic cadence at bars 6-7 • the deceptive cadence at bar 10 • the dramatic contrary motion (alto-bass) ending in “clausula vera” (sixth to octave), bars 12-13 • the intensifying dialogue in groups of four 16th notes in anacrustic rhythm at bars 17-18 • the three consecutive inverted scale motives in the bass at bars 17-18

Serene in its generous flow and ideal proportion, the C Majorr is a good choice for any capable student.

No. 2 in C Minor

At a moderately slow tempo the mood is pensive, with gorgeous sonorities abounding. Faster, the music becomes light and dance-like. After an almost stern beginning, a rising-and-falling sixteenth note figure bubbles into the texture with driving energy. Like the other Sinfoniass in minor keys, the piece is rich in harmonic nuance. The theme’s prominent diminished-seventh leap adds drama throughout.

No. 3 in D Major

I like it leisurely, around quarter note at 66. Most performances I have heard are closer to 76. Expansive and light-hearted, it begins with a melody created by unfolding descending parallel sixths, each prepared with a quick rising figure ((Anstiegg). (Isn’t German wonderful? Somehow the expression “climbing-up figure” just doesn’t have the ring of Anstieg.) g The theme makes an immediate appeal, and the piece continues with great swaths of euphony (parallel thirds and sixths arising naturally from the nature of the melodic material). Cascading figures throughout, often in dialogue, add to the lush effect, including the mini-cascade in dialogue in the last bar.

No. 4 in D Minor

I’ve heard this played very slowly (eighth note around 52); the effect is grave and plangent. It can alternatively be interpreted as gentle and reflective, at a tempo around eighth note 96. The theme’s beginning, with leaps to long syncopated tones, engages us immediately; then the soprano-alto dialogue beat by beat at bar three makes a striking contrast. In the minor mode, Bach has a fine time generating constant chromaticism throughout and throws in a complete chromatic octave for the final cadence.

1RLQ(āDW0DMRU Elegiac and delicate, it rewards a slow tempo. Both the rhythm and the form are characteristic of the saraband, which Grove’s (1954 edition) defines as “a dance of remarkable fascination and sensuous grace”—a perfect description of this piece, isn’t it? Incidentally, it is very unusual to find Bach ending a piece with a falling fourth to the mediant. In every recording I’ve heard, the performer uses an appoggiatura, in conformance with the style. In fact, performers generally ornament the entire piece lavishly, using the appoggiatura to complete every skip and leap in the early bars and continuing with mordents and trills far beyond the markings.

No. 6 in E Major

I like a moderately fast tempo for this elegant and graceful piece. With the special lilt unique to nine-eight meter, it uses pervasive scale patterns to make sweeps ending with curlicues, the texture rendered more spacious by the strategic use of long notes in alternating voices. Very dance-y! This has some character kinship with its key-mate in WTC I, though their meters are different.

No. 7 in E Minor

with the weight of the falling eighths seeming to generate the falling sixteenths. Less chromatic than the D Minor, it still offers a wealth of dynamic minor-mode harmonic events.

No. 8 in F Major

This casual and breezy piece could be a good choice for a student who finds Bach intimidating. Not to suggest that it is easy to play! A two eighth note figure is pulled out of the subject and tossed back and forth among alto and soprano, adding to the playful mood. There is a delightful upward drive at bars 14-17, preparing the structural subdominant at 17-19. The final cadence, like so many Bach cadences, strikes wonder at how many fine ways Bach can say V-I.

No. 9 in F Minor

This double fugue with countersubject is an excellent assignment for a serious-minded and sensitive student, bringing a revelatory experience of what music can be. Part II in the Spring 2018 issue of CMT will bring more exploration of this remarkable piece as well as remarks on the remaining six Sinfonias. Q

I’ve heard this played slowly, sounding ponderous. I like it a little faster so that the falling figures are more cascade-like,

Dean Curtis teaches piano to adults and children in her private studio in Oakland. She has taught at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Tulane University, Loyola University of New Orleans, The University of Texas at Austin, and other institutions. She served as pre-concert lecturer for the New Orleans Friends of Music, which presented world-class groups such as the Emerson Quartet and the Beaux-Arts Trio. Her compositions include chamber music, works for choreographers, songs, and multimedia works.

Fall 2017 | 25



n the past three decades, the percentage of K-12 students with special needs in the United States has consistently risen.1 This trend is largely attributed to earlier and more accurate diagnosis of disabilities. In California approximately 11% of students have special needs.2 Often, the term “special needs” intimidates and discourages music educators from teaching students with disabilities. For many, students with special needs seem to be set apart, restricted to the care of licensed professionals. However, the key to successfully teaching students with special needs does not lie in one’s qualifications, but rather in one’s mental

26 | California Music Teacher

approach. With proper understanding of a student’s disability and knowledge of pedagogical intervention, every instructor can teach his or her student to learn, play, and love music. It is critical that teachers get to know each student with special needs individually and develop a clear assessment of how a diagnosis affects him or her. “Special needs” is an umbrella term covering a wide variety of diagnoses and disabilities. As such, a student’s special needs are often categorized by the type of disability and how it manifests in an individual. Three of the most common categories of special needs are developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, and physical disabilities.3

Developmental Disabilities Developmental disabilities can result from many factors, including genetic abnormalities, prenatal exposure to harmful substances, and trauma post birth.4 Developmental disability can lead to mental debilitation, physical limitations, or a mix of both. Autism spectrum disorder is a prevalent developmental disability. Students with autism are placed in low or high functioning groups on the spectrum. The symptoms of autism can be identified in the areas of socialization, communication, and behavioral pattern.5 Students may struggle with sensory integration and exhibit repetitive movements including hand-flapping, rocking, or jumping. Thus, students with autism need to be contained within a low-stimulus environment. Some students with autism also suffer from hyperacusis, meaning that their ears are hypersensitive to low and high pitches. Music students with hyperacusis may require noise-controlling headphones to limit their exposure to auditory stimulation. Despite these limitations, students with autism often have a good ear and easily pick up on rhythmic cues. Another common developmental disability is Down syndrome, which may cause mild to moderate intellectual impairment. Students with Down syndrome reach developmental milestones and attain academic skills, but progress at their own pace. The main goal when teaching students with Down syndrome

is fostering independence and self-reliance by encouraging students to practice independently, and preparing them to learn music on their own. The following principles are designed to guide the creation of teaching materials effective at addressing the issues of students with developmental disabilities. They aim to foster an achievable learning environment that encourage the students’ love for learning music.

Rote Learning: In layman’s terms, rote learning means “follow-the-leader”. The methodology behind rote learning focuses on teaching repetitive rhythmic and melodic patterns. Often rote learning is taught simultaneously with note learning. The student will likely start to read music before learning pertinent music theory.6

Rhythm & Exploration of the Instrument: Rhythm is one of the most important concepts in music teaching.8 Luckily, it is also one of the easiest for students to comprehend. Even if a student with a developmental disability is having difficulty playing an instrument, he or she should be able to tap out rhythmic exercises successfully. Children are naturally gifted at visual cues. Method books that use graph notation, which relies on spatial recognition, are great for a student to learn to explore the instrument topography. Some students with developmental disabilities like Down syndrome are synesthetic, meaning they associate sound with color. Each individual with synesthesia may see a different color for any given note. If a student is synesthetic, a fun exercise is figuring out the exact association between note and color. It is helpful to make a reference sheet as a reminder. For piano teachers, taping color-coded stickers on the keyboard serves as a visual guide for the students with synesthesia. As a further reinforcing visual aid, the student can highlight their music according to their color/note associations.

Learning Disabilities Visual Learning: Students who typically have a hard time concentrating can be engaged by focusing less on verbal instructions and more on visual aids. The goal is to infuse music lessons with visual activities to reinforce the student’s learning.7

Students with learning disabilities have difficulty with academic learning. At a glance, they may seem to be typically developing students, but they noticeably struggle as soon as they are in a learning context. Learning disabilcontinued

Fall 2017 | 27


ities are broadly related to a student’s inability to absorb and process new information.9 Students may have a short attention span, poor memory when recalling concepts, or they may demonstrate perceptual deficits. A student’s cognitive inability to organize and put together certain pieces of information results in the individual’s receiving an incomplete picture of what needs to be learned. Since students cannot outgrow their learning disability, they must learn to cope with the condition on a daily basis. Understanding a student’s particular learning disability and its limitations helps teachers give students the confidence needed to achieve skills and goals. Although not officially categorized as a learning disability, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent disorder that impedes a student’s ability to maintain focus and learn new material.10 Students with ADHD have trouble paying attention and staying on task. They tend to feel under-stimulated, and constantly search for additional stimuli such as sounds and visuals to avoid boredom. Students with ADHD may appear to act impulsively during lessons by playing notes or rhythms not written in the music. Since students with ADHD are highly creative, they often hear and play different harmonies or beats to go along with a musical piece. One particular strength of these students is their fast reaction time and ability to grasp core concepts quickly. Curriculum should be designed for students to identify main concepts, work on fine details, and find 28 | California Music Teacher

spaces within the music for improvisation. Students with a learning disability will often encounter issues with organization, memory, and attention span. Therefore, it is up to their teachers to provide a good structtural perimeter that helps them thrive by implementing routine, structure, consistency, and a visual schedule into their music lessons.11 Routine: Just as many people use a morning routine to provide structure to their day, it is important to integrate a routine into the foundation of every lesson. For most teachers, a lesson’s routine includes technique, three to four pieces, and theory. This is an excellent standard progression for instrumental lessons; however, when working with students with a learning disability, it is important to be equipped for different scenarios depending on the needs of each student. Seasoned teachers often prefer to teach according to a prescribed path, leading their students through a “rite of passage” from one piece to the next. When working with a student with a learning disability, teachers may have to rearrange the learning progression. Meaningful lessons keep the student interested and provide a sense of accomplishment. Structure: The layout of the room for the instrumental lesson should be simple yet inviting. While decorations are visually stimulating, keep in mind that too many contrasting visuals can be distracting for students with a learning disability. To reinforce familiarity, work

with the parents to ensure that the music area at home is similar to the one in the music studio. Consistency: Students with learning disabilities thrive with consistency. Carefully managing time during lessons is crucial. Spending the same amount of time on each task week after week will give the student a better expectation of the lesson progression. After a few lessons, students will engrain the pace of the lesson in their minds. Students can sense if the time progression is off by several minutes, and it creates an anxious environment for them. Visual Schedule: Weekly practice logs or homework journals are examples of visual schedules. Many teachers enjoy giving stickers or stamps as a form of extrinsic reward in students’ journals. Some teachers allow students who collect a certain number of stickers to exchange them for a prize. Often the sticker system is broken down in a manner analogous to a letter-grade scale. For example, “A” = 5 stickers and “F” = 0 stickers. While this system is effective, it is also subjective. When teaching a student with special needs, it is better to be objective when giving them a visual schedule. One fun DIY project teachers can do is to write different tasks on a seven-day pill case. When the student accomplishes a task, he or she can retrieve a sticker out of the slot. That way, the student can gauge exactly what was done correctly and what still needs improvement.

Physical Disabilities Physical disabilities result from limitations of physical movement ranging from mild impairment to limb paralysis. Physically disabled students often feel left out, since physical limitations may prevent them from interacting with their peers. A key goal when working with these students is to find ways to make them feel included and accommodated in all activities. Muscular dystrophy is a prevalent type of physical disability resulting in the degeneration of muscles over time. Because muscular dystrophy cannot be cured, it is important to set realistic goals when working with students affected by this condition. Since it can be difficult for a student to mentally cope with their disability, encouragement and patience is crucial when helping these students. Playy ing music can be advantageous for a student with muscular dystrophy to maintain muscle strength and limb dexterity. Teaching a student with a physical disability requires the teacher to be creative and flexible with their teaching plan. It is paramount to consider emotional challenges and needs when teaching students, in addition to considering their physical challenges. The goal is to make the student feel that, despite their physical difficulties, they can still play and enjoy music.

Aural Training: Ear training is an important part of the lesson that will help increase the student’s musicianship. This training will pay off when students reach a stage with tiered training when they can play a piece on the instrument. Teachers can help ensure that every student they work with is touched by the power of music. Be patient, be alert, and actively assess the student’s progress and needs. Do not be afraid to experiment and explore a variety of approaches. Q 1








Tiered Learning: By slowly integrating more advanced movements, teachers can help students sharpen their fine motor skills. Before tackling the full instrument, having them tap on their legs or the table, or just play a single note can assist in developing good coordination and movement. Be creative and challenge them to reach the next level of their physical capabilities.




“Children with Special Health Care Needs.” Child Trends. April 2012. Accessed May 4, 2017. https:// www.childtrends.org/indicators/children-withspecial-health-care-needs/. “Children and Youth With Disabilities .” The Condition of Education - Participation in Education - Elementary/Secondary - Children and Youth With Disabilities - Indicator May (2016). May 2016. Accessed May 6, 2017. https://nces.ed.gov/ programs/coe/indicator_cgg.asp. Fellmeth, Robert C., Debra Back, S. Alecia. Sanchez, and Elisa Weichel. California childrens budget, 2004-05. San Diego, CA: Childrens Advocacy Institute, 2004. Bibace, R., and M. E. Walsh. “Development of children’s concept of illness.” Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry 20, no. 3, 91217. Accessed May 15, 2016. Greenspan, Stanley I., Serena Wieder, and Robin Simons. The child with special needs: encouraging intellectual and emotional growth. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1998. Jenkins, Brian. “Why You Should Be Teaching Your Piano Students By Rote.” YourMusicLessons. September 02, 2016. Accessed May 7, 2017. https://yourmusiclessons.com/blog/why-youshould-be-teaching-by-rote/. Harris, Alyson. “Visual Supports for Students with Autism.” Special Education Journal. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/Journals/specialedjournal/Harris. Amos, Pat. “Rhythm and timing in autism: learning to dance.” Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience (April 19, 2013). Accessed May 16, 2017. http:// journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/ fnint.2013.00027/full. Youngblut, Joanne M. “Integrative Review of Assessment Models for Examining Childrens and Families Responses to Acute Illness.” Children and Families in Health and Illness: 115-41. Accessed May 16, 2016. doi:10.4135/9781452243313.n6. Flavell, John H., Patricia H. Miller, and Scott A. Miller. Cognitive development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2002. Bibace, R., and M. E. Walsh. “Development of children’s concept of illness.” Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry 20, no. 3, 912-17. Accessed May 15, 2016. Jaksa, Peter. “This Sample Schedule May Just Save Your Sanity.” ADDitude. March 28, 2017. Accessed May 20, 2017. https://www.additudemag.com/sample-schedule-adhd-morning-after-school-bedtime/.

Annie Wangg received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of California, Irvine and her Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy from the University of Illinois, UrbanaChampaign. She has concertized in Asia, North America, and Europe, and has taught at University of Illinois U-C, Orange Coast College, and Illinois Summer Youth Music. At her piano studio in Irvine, she specializes in early-childhood music education and teaching children with special needs.

Maggie Wangg received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of California, Irvine and her Master of Arts in Music Therapy from New York University. She completed her music therapy internship at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York Presbyterian, specializing in medical pediatrics. She has worked with special needs children at HeartShare Human Services of New York. As a board-certified music therapist, she uses music to help her clients meet their developmental and socio-emotional goals. Fall 2017 | 29


The piano pieces are “songs without words”

30 | California Music Teacher


rnold Schoenberg (18741951) is one of the central figures in twentieth-century music. Open any book of music history and you will find many paragraphs, even entire chapters discussing his ideas. In addition, there are countless articles, books, dissertations, seminars and university courses about his theories. Practically no modern composer has been unaffected by Schoenberg’s ideas, whether to accept, reject or modify them, yet, paradoxically, his music is seldom played nowadays. As the late pianist Paul Jacobs observed, it seems that the discussion about Schoenberg has somehow bypassed the music. If we want to understand Schoenberg’s music, a good place to start is with his catalog. Most of his early works are groups of songs: songs for

soprano or baritone, with piano, with chamber ensemble, with orchestra. Later there are grand cantatas and an opera. The Second String Quartet even includes a movement with soprano and, of course, there is the notorious Pierrot Lunaire! This tells us that Schoenberg was naturally interested in melody, expression, text. It would be fair to say that the piano pieces in Opus 11, at least the first two, are “songs without words”. Melody is paramount; many phrases start with a rest, and appoggiaturas play an important role in the expression. This is very personal music and must be performed that way. Maurice Ravel, who was Schoenberg’s contemporary, said “Don’t interpret my music; just play it.” On the contrary I believe Schoenberg would have said “Interpret my music; don’t just play it!”

Schoenberg would have said,

“Interpret my music, don’t just play it!” The Three Piano Piecess Opus 11 date from 1908, the year that saw the creation of several revolutionary works, including Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, Scriabin’s Fifth Piano Sonataa and the early sketches for Debussy’s Preludes Book 1. Like the late Brahms Intermezzi, the first two Schoenberg pieces are nostalgic and moody. Even more than Chopin’s nocturnes, these are “night pieces” that seem to emanate from dreams and unconscious fantasies. (Sigmund Freud’s revolutionary treatise The Interpretation of Dreamss had appeared a few years before.) Because these pieces are short and originate in the night, a perfect name for them would be Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, but that title was already taken! The first piece is especially economical, with melodies made from small intervals (seconds and thirds) offset with chromatic passages in octave displacement. Especially noteworthy are the traditional bass octave doublings and the quasi-cadential ending. A ghostly overtone chord near the begin-

ning creates a feeling of unreality. The second piece opens with a clock-like ostinato, then continues with an “aria” that grows more and more extravagant. There is a prevailing sense of yearning for something unattainable. (“The Poet Speaks” from

Schoenberg hurls thunderbolts all over the keyboard Schumann’s Kinderszenen and the famous “motif of longing” from Wagner’s Tristan und Isoldee come to mind.) Occasionally we find lighter moments and fleeting recollections of the first piece, but Schoenberg hurriedly wipes these away with a pedal blur as he returns to the desolate atmosphere. The defiant third piece sounds chaotic on first hearing: after all, this is music of protest! Schoenberg hurls thunderbolts all over the keyboard,

chords with as many as ten different tones. He unifies the music with rhythm alone, in fact with the most famous rhythmic device in history: three upbeats and one downbeat (Beethoven’s Fifth!). Once we are aware of this, we hear it everywhere and the music becomes quite comprehensible. Intense emotions and wild dynamic contradictions confront each other without transition. In the quieter places, the composer parodies musical gestures from popular Viennese operettas, especially The Merry Widow w by Franz Lehár. These sentimental entertainments were about love affairs amid the upper classes, people oblivious to the imminent collapse of the old social order. Schoenberg strips away the veneer and the denial, exposing the anxiety underneath. As a Romantic statement, the three piano pieces of Opus 11 could claim to be the “last” of their kind, but their daring semi-atonality also looks to the future. Not for the first time and certainly not for the last, Schoenberg’s courageous music proves to be prophetic. Q

Dr. Charles Fierro has made concert tours for the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. In 1976 he played the American Bicentennial Recital at the Palace of Fontainebleau in France on the invitation of the legendary musician, Nadia Boulanger. He has performed at the Ojai Festivals and the Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles. He holds a Doctorate of Music “with Distinction” from the University of Southern California and is Professor Emeritus of Piano at California State University Northridge where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Fall 2017 | 31


Perfect Flute! by Cynthia Kelley


Flute images courtesy of Miyazawa Flutes

32 | California Music Teacher

s young flute students develop into burgeoning musicians, it is essential for them to have an instrument that will grow with them and meet the demands of increased con ntrol along with a mature tonal color. The basic student flute is designed to encourage begginning students to easily produce a sound witthout much direction or experience. Butt once the basics of tone production, breathing, and fingering have been mostly mastered, students often hit a “wall” and requuire an instrument that will allow them a brooader dynamic range, much finer control, and d a more complex and vibrant sound. With so many options and a multitude of contradictory information available onlline, the search for a new flute can be intiimidating and confusing. But with some basic knowledge, the help of a teacher, and som me expert guidance from a flute expert, the process can be simplified and even fun! Once a student reaches a basic degree of abillity, most teachers recommend an upgrad de to at least an intermediate level flute thaat has open holes, a low B footjoint, and som metimes a sterling silver riser and/or lip platte if not a sterling silver headjoint and bod dy. The best method to find the perfect flutte “fit” is to test several different brands thatt fall within the purchasing budget. Thus,

a trip to your local flute specialty shop is well worth the effort. It is important to test each flute for quality of sound throughout the range of the flute, experimenting with both legato and articulated passages as well as soft and loud dynamics. It is an excellent idea to “push” the flute to see what it will do, so that the flutist can choose an instrument that will last several years as opposed to requiring another upgrade in a short period of time. It is also imperative to choose a flute that is comfortable in the player’s hands. Each brand has a slightly different design and feel. For the sake of resale value, it is also a good idea to choose a brand that is well known and respected, comes with a manufacturer’s warranty, and has a positive track record with your trusted flute repair technician. Flutes usually retain an excellent investment value and can almost always be traded in or sold in the future. Below is a quick guide that defines many of the available flute options for easy reference. It can be much more enjoyable to actually play the flute once some of these mysterious terms become clear! C# TRILL

A lever that activates a key over an extra C# tone hole. This makes trilling from B to C# much easier. It also facilitates fingerings for other trills and tremolos, including a reliable third octave G to A trill, high F# to G#, and high Ab to Bb. With a C# trill, tremolos are also easily executed between first octave G, Ab, D, Bb, B, and C to C#, and D to D#. In the second octave, tremolos of A, Bb, B or C to C# are made easier as well.

CROWN The dome-shaped part at the very end of the headjoint. It is attached to the headjoint cork assembly and can control the assembly’s position. The crown is integral to the projection and quality of the instrument’s sound. D# ROLLER A part of the D# key. It facilitates the sliding motion of the little finger between the D# key and the lower keys of the footjoint.  Some manufacturers also offer a C# roller on the low C# key in addition to the D# roller. FOOTJOINT  Low C Footjoint - reaches down to low C (which is middle C on the piano). It is frequently described as freeing up the low register and offering less resistance throughout the flute. The C footjoint is standard on most student model flutes. Low B footjoint - reaches down to a low B, one half-step lower than the C footjoint, by adding one more key and extending of the flute. The B footjoint also adds weight to the overall instrument, which increases resistance and produces an overall darker tone as opposed to the brighter tone of a C footjoint. The B footjoint is the standard flute choice for performing contemporary compositions. TONE HOLES (DRAWN vs. SOLDERED) Drawn tone holes are pulled (drawn) up from the main tube of the flute and then rolled over. Soldered tone holes of the flute are formed separately (like small chimneys) and then soldered onto the body of the flute. 

GIZMO A small raised lever mounted on the low B key arm to facilitate the individual closing of the low B key. Also known as a “high C facilitator,” this lever helps to produce a clearer 4th octave C. HIGH E FACILITATOR  A disc that is installed in the lower G key to reduce the venting of the G key to improve the high E response.  This is a simpler way to stabilize the high E than the Split E Mechanism.  It is sometimes referred to as a “donut” or “disc.” G DISC - see High E Facilitator INLINE G VS. OFFSET G

Inline G - the G keys on an inline G key flute are placed in a straight line with the rest of the keys on the flute. They are mounted on the same rod next to each other.

Offset G - the G keys on an offset G flute are offset slightly from the rest of the keys, and are mounted on separate posts. This creates a stronger key construction that eliminates some of the small mechanical issues that can potentially occur on an inline G mechanism. The offset G also allows a more relaxed and natural hand position. LIP PLATE The raised plate surrounding the embouchure hole (or riser) on which the player positions their lower lip. On metal flutes and piccolos, the lip plate is attached to the riser. continued Fall 2017 | 33

THE PERFECT FLUTE RISER The part (“chimney”) that connects the lip plate to the headjoint tube. Silver is the most common metal used for the riser, although many makers offer different karats of gold and platinum to enhance the sound of the instrument.

POINTED ARM VS. Y-ARMS POINTED ARM A key design that connects keys to the rod with a raised, pointed arm which extends to the center of the key. Also referred to as “styled keys” or “French pointed arms,” it is available on most intermediate model flutes.

PINLESS MECHANISM Traditional flutes use pinning needles inserted into the inner mechanism rods to secure certain keys to a fixed position. Pinless construction, on the other hand, uses bridge mechanisms and socket-head screws for the same purpose.

Y-ARM KEYS A key design that connects the back of the keys to the rod with a Y-shaped arm. This key design is standard on most student and many intermediate model flutes and is also found on many older Haynes and Powell Commercial Model flutes.


Allows venting of only one G key while fingering high E. This facilitates production of the high E and provides a more stable response. The split E mechanism is most commonly available on flutes with an offset G key, although some handmade flute makers will custom manufacture a flute with an inline G key and split E mechanism on request. Please read about the High E Facilitator above! Q

Cynthia Kelley is the founder and owner of Flutacious!, the West Coast Flute Specialty Shop based in Los Angeles. She completed her Bachelors and Master’s degrees in flute performance at the University of Southern California where she worked with Jim Walker, Anne Diener Zentnter, and Gary Woodward. She and her husband, Daniel have three children and love to bake!

BRAVURA innovations Virtuoso Solutions for the Performing Arts www.BRAVURAinnovations.com



by Elaine Dai, Esq. This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. Use of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Readers should contact an independent attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue. The views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Music Teachers’ Association of California.


ntitrust. It’s a big word, but how does it apply to small businesses like music teachers? Does it even matter? Turns out, it matters a lot. In this country, the fundamental economic structure is based on free competition. Antitrust laws were developed to preserve and support free competition among all businesses. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces antitrust laws and is active in its scrutiny of not just the Microsofts of the world but small businesses and professional associations, too. In 2013, the FTC went after the music teaching community – specifically, the Music Teachers’ National Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional associ-



ation of music teachers with 22,000 members, whose mission is to advance the value of music study and music making in society and to support the professionalism of music teachers. As noted in articles in the Wall Street Journal (“Piano Sonata in FTC Minor” by Kimberley A. Strassel) and Forbes (“FTC Goliath Beats Up a David Armed Only With a Treble Clef” by George Leef), it seemed odd that the FTC would spend time and resources worrying about music teachers. After all, music teachers, like their public school counterparts, aren’t often in the profession for the money or commercial greed in the same way as a multinational conglomerate. They teach because they love music, want to share music with others, and have the skill to develop musical appreciation and talent in students. Even so, the FTC investigated MTNA and charged the association for restraining competition among its member teachers in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The case hinged on one sentence contained in the association’s code of ethics: “The teacher shall respect the

integrity of other teachers’ studios and shall not actively recruit students from another studio.” On the face of it, this sentence seemed innocuous and was common in the codes of ethics for many types of professional associations – simply another way of codifying the “Golden Rule”: to treat others the way we would want to be treated. However, through the lens of antitrust, the FTC read this provision as limiting competition among members. Although MTNA leadership acted quickly to speak to federal regulators in Washington, offering to excise the problematic provision from their code of ethics and showing that the association’s code of ethics was aspirational, the provision had never been enforced, nor had any member ever been removed as a result of it, the FTC would not halt its investigation. MTNA did not have the resources to fight against the federal government which would have cost hundreds of thousands of membership dollars. Even though MTNA immediately removed continued

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In general, based on FTC cases, music teachers should be careful of the following: i DON’T discuss prices, fees, rates, or features that can impact prices, such as discounts i DON’T agree with competitors as to hourly rates or payment terms i DON’T exchange data concerning fees, prices, costs, vacation or missed lesson policies, or other business practices (e.g. conduct surveys) unless the exchange is made pursuant to a well-considered plan using historical data compiled by an independent party who is not a competitor in the market i DON’T agree with competitors to divide up students, markets, or territories i DON’T agree with competitors not to deal with certain competitors or suppliers i DON’T try to prevent a supplier from selling to your competitors i DO have written agendas prepared and circulated in advance for association meetings i DO make sure that if questions arise regarding the legal aspects of the association’s activities under antitrust laws, seek advice and counsel through the association’s attorney or designated official.

36 | California Music Teacher

DO’S AND DON’TS the provision from its code, MTNA staff still had to devote months compiling thousands of documents for the FTC. Mr. Gary Ingle, MTNA’s Executive Director, estimated that he spent hundreds of hours complying with the FTC investigation. The FTC and MTNA settled the case through a consent decree (a settlement agreement) – the association did not have to admit or deny guilt but it had to comply with the contents of the consent decree, which included reading an antitrust compliance statement out loud at every future MTNA event, sending the statement to all 22,000 members, posting it on its website, and contacting its 500 affiliates and having them sign a compliance statement. In addition, MTNA was compelled to develop an antitrust compliance program requiring annual training of its state presidents, submitting regular reports to the FTC, and appointing an antitrust compliance officer for the next 20 years. The FTC’s surprising action in this case reminds us all that prudent associations must review their policies and consider offering antitrust compliance training for its leadership, staff, and members. Associations must also develop strategies to monitor activity at association meetings so as to prevent them from turning into an inadvertent forum for anticompetitive conduct. The antitrust trouble-spots for asso-

ciations generally revolve around: price fixing; allocation of customers, markets or territories; and group boycotts. Price fixing is when competitors agree or collude to set prices. Allocating customers, markets or territories refers to competitors agreeing to specifically assign customers, markets, or territories among themselves in an intentional way to restrict consumer choice and interfere with competition. Group boycotts are when groups of competitors agree to block the use of a particular vendor, supplier, or other competitor. The FTC has deemed these actions to be so anticompetitive that no harm needs to be shown; the action itself is anticompetitive. Consequently, association members should avoid discussing these particular subjects when they are meeting together – both at formal Board of Directors, committee, member, and other meetings, and in any informal sessions with other music teachers or members. Participating in an association offers innumerable professional and personal benefits. However, members all need to be aware of the potential risks related to antitrust issues. Associations would do well to review their policies and implement antitrust programs, as ultimately, the cost of defending a federal investigation or lawsuit far exceeds the cost of developing and implementing appropriate policies. Q

Elaine Dai, Esq. is a tax-exempt organizations and business attorney with over sixteen years of legal experience advising music and arts organizations, education organizations, independent schools, and social-purpose technology businesses. Elaine has been serving as the MTAC State Attorney since 2008. She is also an active musician, and owned piano teaching studios in Vancouver and Los Angeles for over 20 years.

The Musician’s Success Journnal™ A SSIGN M EN T B O OK A N D PR AC TIC E L O G

Keeps teachers organized and students motivated To progress, to improve, you must rewire the braiin. Studies have shown that the physical act of writing helps to rewire the brain. As teachers write in assignments and students log in their practice, changee happens. Results are produced. Success follows. Heavy, high-quality paper for easy writing and reading. High quality binding for permanence. “This book is an essential organizational tool for both teacher and student. Its clean, logical layout makes it easy to outline expectations,s, and easy for students to track their progress and establish an effective practice routine. It is an excellent way to prepare students for recitals, competitions, and annual evaluations.” —Michelle Rumley, MTAC member and flute teacher

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June 29 - July 3, 2018


The Definitive Bartók Edition

Easy Contemporary Pieces for Solo Piano

Books 1 and 2 Compiled by Hywel Davies Published by Boosey & Hawkes

Chester Music distributed by Hal Leonard

These two books bring together, for the first time, fiff ty-eight pieces from Bartók’s seminal pedagogical works now that copyright restrictions have been relaxed. Book one includes pieces from For Children, Mikrokosmos, Ten Easy Pieces and Fourteen Bagatelles. In book one there are two Romanian Christmas carols which will add variety to many teachers’ winter repertoire. Book two includes more advanced works from the same collections with the addition of selections from Nine Litt tle Piano Pieces. Fingerings and pedal instructions are clearly marked and the notation is well spaced. As an added bonus, useful footnotes at the end of each piece often include the composer’s own comments. Each book includes a CD of all the pieces performed by Iain Farrington, whose attention to details in the score is both admirable and helpful to the student. Though aimed at the teacher rather than the student the page length biography of the composer relates his interest in collecting folk tunes which were often a catalyst for the pieces in this collection.

The publisher’s claim of “Specially selected for beginner to intermediate level pianists” may be a little misleading. Early intermediate to advanced might be more fitting, but what this twenty-nine piece collection does, is provide some of the easier works of composers such as Philip Glass, Ludovico Einaudi, Peter Maxwell Davies, Michael Nyman and Geoffrey Burgon. Several of the works were specially commissioned specifically with the aim of keeping the level intermediate or below, and appear here for the first time in print. Many of these composers are noted for their film scores: Michael Nyman’s The End of the Affair and The Piano, Geoffrey Burgon’s Monty Python’s Life of Brian n and Brideshead Revisitedd spring to mind. Terry Riley’s piece Simone’s Lullabyy is a gentle tender work with the final instruction to “repeat until sleeping.” Hauschka’s Fragmentss has the texture and rhythms of a Baroque two part invention but with a distinctively contemporary approach to harmony.

Core Music Theory for String Players By Celine Gietzen Endorsed by students of all ages and levels and by teachers around the country this comprehensive approach to all aspects of theory for violinists, violists and cellists

38 | California Music Teacher

is a useful resource for all string teachers, especially those entering students for the MTAC Certificate of Merit exams. Celine Gietzen holds degrees from The Cleveland Institute of Music and UCLA and has been teaching music theory to string players of all ages for many years. Designed in eleven levels closely following CM requirements the course guides students from elementary to college entrance level music theory. Each workbook contains a review of the previous level, practice tests which help to assess the student’s progress and retention, and ear training exercises. One particularly useful tool for both student and teacher is the inclusion of an index at the back of each book. Of her series Gietzen writes, “I wrote these books because I saw a need for a music theory method for string students that applies theory knowledge to the instrument. My goal has been to write an instrument-based method, to get the students to think like musicians.” The books are clearly laid out with an answer key for each instrument.

Easy Concert Pieces Published by Schott, distributed by Hal Leonard This is a series encompassing Easy Concert Pieces for piano, for violin and piano, for guitar and for violin and cello. Each instrumentation features up to three volumes of works containing works in progressive order. The books for piano come with a CD with pieces performed by Vera Sacharowa and Wilhelm Ohmen. Volume 1 of Easy Concert Pieces for Pianoo contains pieces in the five finger position whereas Volume 2 extends the range to two octaves with simple two part playing, often requiring pedaling and balance between melody and accompaniment. What I like about this collection is that, mixed with the old familiar pieces, are some lesser known works such as Jean-Francois Dandrieu’s Gavotte and Rondeau u and Daniel Steibelt’s Adagio in A minor. r However, it’s the contemporary works that drew my attention to this collection with pieces by Marko Tajcevic, Hermann Regner, George Nevada and Rainer Mohrs.

Everybody’s Favorite Easy Piano Pieces Published by Music Sales America, distributed by Hal Leonard This is a very useful book for students who crave to play piano versions of well-known compositions for all manner of pieces from opera La Donna è mobilee to Autumn from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, from Chopin’s Raindrop Preludee to Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. These miniatures span over 250 years of music from Handel to Rachmaninoff and, unlike many arrangements that claim to be “for easy piano,” these really are arranged for the elementary to early intermediate level players. Pieces such as Für Elise, Moonlight Sonata and Clair de Lunee are, of course featured, along with short, one page biographies of selected composers. Adult beginners especially, will be motivated to search through the 55 pieces to find their favorites, and the fingerings, phrasing, and well-spaced notation, make the pieces look approachable to all early level students.

Dog Bone Draw By Myra Brooks-Turner, FJH Performance Solo This title is on the 20172021 National Federation of Music Clubs list. Even though this piece is in the key of D minor, it’s happy and energetic with clever, unexpected harmonic twists. The Left Hand plays solid and broken fifths throughout, providing a steady beat to the right hand syncopation. This was the first time that some of my elementary school students had been faced with jazz-style grace notes: they thought it was “so cool.” The three page piece is not without its technical challenges since both hands play a contrary-motion chromatic scale in one section. Brooks-Turner’s collection of piano improvisations Musical Moodss has recently been released by Schaum Publications, Inc., and six other of her piano works are available from FJH Music Company, Inc. Q Fall 2017 | 39

MUSIC TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION OF CALIFORNIA® 833 Market Street, Suite 900 San Francisco, CA 94103

40 | California Music Teacher

Non-Profit Organization U.S. POSTAGE


San Francisco, CA Permit No. 6916

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MTAC CMT Fall 2017  

MTAC CMT Fall 2017  

Profile for ljcjenn