You are on page 1of 5

Piano pedagogy

Piano teacher redirects here. For other uses, see The bachelor, master, or doctoral degree at music colleges
Piano Teacher (disambiguation). or conservatories. The undergraduate level may require
This article is about the study of teaching music. For the many years of prior piano studies and previous teach-
Anna Goldsworthy memoir, see Piano Lessons (book). ing experience as prerequisites for application. At the
graduate level, many schools require applicants to have
Piano pedagogy is the study of the teaching of piano some teaching experience and at least a bachelor of mu-
or equivalent experience in piano performance and/or
playing. Whereas the professional eld of music educa- sic [2]
tion pertains to the teaching of music in school classrooms pedagogy.
or group settings, piano pedagogy focuses on the teach- Although virtually all piano pedagogy programs include a
ing of musical skills to individual piano students. This is signicant portion of performance requirement, the ped-
often done via private or semiprivate instructions, com- agogy major may be distinct from the performance major
monly referred to as piano lessons. The practitioners of at some schools. Some members of the latter group may
piano pedagogy are called piano pedagogues, or simply, have the option to take courses in the teaching of piano,
piano teachers. but not all do.[3]

1.3 Professional organizations in the

1 Professional training
United States
The range of professionalism among teachers of piano is Many piano teachers hold memberships in professional
undoubtedly wide. Competent instruction is not always organizations, to maintain their commitment to pedagogy
assured by the number of years one has taken lessons, and to network with peers and others in music. These or-
warned piano pedagogue and writer of numerous peda- ganizations often oer teachers workshops, conferences,
gogical books, James Bastien.[1] The factors which aect mentorship programs, publications on piano pedagogy,
the professional quality of a piano teacher include ones and opportunities for scholarships, competitions, and per-
competence in musical performance, knowledge of mu- formances for the students of members. Some prominent
sical genres, music history and theory, piano repertoire, organizations in the United States include:
experience in teaching, ability to adapt ones teaching
method to students of dierent personalities and learn-
ing styles, education level, and so on. American Council of Piano Performers - ACPP

Music Teachers National Association - MTNA

1.1 Musicians without degrees in piano National Federation of Music Clubs

National Guild of Piano Teachers
In the United States, piano lessons may be oered by Piano Teachers Congress of New York
teachers without higher education specically focused in
piano performance or piano pedagogy. Some teachers
may hold degrees in another discipline in music, such as 1.4 Professional Organizations in Canada
music education or another performance area (voice, or-
chestral instrument, etc.). Other teachers, without higher
The main organization that oers certicates and testing
education in music, may have studied piano playing inde-
curriculum in Canada is Royal Conservatory of Music.
pendently or have been self-taught. There are three levels in their certicate program; ele-
mentary, intermediate and advanced. Elementary ped-
agogy certicate enables teachers to teach beginners up
1.2 Undergraduate and graduate studies to grade two piano, while intermediate certicate allows
in piano pedagogy teachers to teach up to grade 6 piano. Advanced piano
pedagogy is known as ARCT (Associate of Royal Con-
The eld of piano pedagogy may be studied through servatory of Toronto), which enables teachers to teach
academic programs culminating in the attainment of a up to grade 10. There are also a number of theory


and history examinations that accompany each certi- 3.1 Ear training
cate program which must be completed. There is also
a Piano Teachers Federation based in Vancouver, British Main article: Ear training
Dr. Bryanskaya argues that the foremost task for piano
teachers at the beginning of a students study is the intro-
2 Notable piano pedagogues in his- duction of a habit of listening to quality performances of
descriptive and strikingly expressive music, as a means
tory for sensitizing [the student] to the meaning of music.[4]

Johann Nepomuk Hummel (Austria, 1778-1837)

3.2 Rhythm
Carl Czerny (Austria, 17911857)
Main article: Rhythm
Maria Szymanowska (Poland, 1789-1831)
Teaching rhythm is important for the student to be able to
Frdric Chopin (Poland, 1810-1849) learn a piece accurately, and also to condently perform a
practiced piece. Developing an internal metronome plays
Theodor Leschetizky (Poland, 18301915) a signicant role when teaching rhythm. Teachers may
encourage students to count out loud when practicing, or
Franz Liszt (Hungary, 1811-1886)
practice with a metronome to develop a steady internal
Tobias Matthay (England, 18581945)

Heinrich Neuhaus (Russia, 18881964) 3.3 Notation

Dimitri Bashkirov (Russia, 1931-)
Main article: List of musical symbols
Leila Fletcher (Canada, 1899-1988) Ontario, May-
fair Montgomery Publishing
3.4 Technique
Neil A. Kjos (US, 1931-2009) Illinois, known for
the James Bastien books Good piano playing technique involves the simultaneous
understanding in both the mind and the body of the re-
Abby Whiteside (US, 1881-1956) lationships between the elements of music theory, recog-
nition of musical patterns in notation and at the nger-
Isidor Philipp (France, 1863-1958)
tips, the physical landscape of the entire range of the
keyboard, nger dexterity and independence, and a wide
Harold Bradley (Canada 1906-1984)
range of touch and tone production for a variety of emo-
tional expressions. Skills in all of these areas are typically
Vicente Scaramuzza (Italy 1885 - Argentina 1968)
nurtured and developed for the sake of expressing oneself
Frances Clark (US, 1905-1998) more eectively and naturally through the sound of the
piano, so that the elements of technique will sound alive
Ilana Vered (Israel, 1943-) with musicality.[4]

3.5 Improvisation
3 Topics of study
Main article: Musical improvisation
Piano pedagogy involves the study and teaching of mo-
tor, intellectual, problem-solving, and artistic skills in- Modern piano lessons tend to emphasize learning nota-
volved in playing the piano eectively.[3] Citing the inu- tion, and may neglect developing the creative spirit and
ence of Zoltn Kodly, Carl Or, mile Jaques-Dalcroze, sensitive ears which lead to expressive music-making.
Russian-American piano pedagogue at Longy School Studies point to the need for using multiple approaches
of Music, Dr. Faina Bryanskaya, advocates a holistic in learning musical skills which engage both sides of the
approach which integrates as many aspects of music- brainthe analytical and the intuitivefor students to
making as possible at once would result in the most ef- master all aspects of playing.[5] Therefore, teaching im-
fective piano teaching.[4] provisation skills may help students take ownership of the

expressive quality of the music they make, and to keep Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach (1725) by fam-
music learning and practicing alive and interesting.[6] One ily and friends of J.S. Bach
way to do so is to make up stories full of dierent emo-
tions through improvising, in order to reinforce music Klavierbchlein fr Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Lit-
theory concepts already introduced and to develop a wide tle Preludes and Fugues, Inventions and Sinfonias, &
range of touch and tone production.[4] the Well-Tempered Clavier by J.S. Bach
Some mainstream piano methods, such as Faber Pi- Sonatinas by Muzio Clementi
ano Adventures, have started oering improvisation
options.[7] But in most methods, improvisation remains Album For the Young, Op. 68 (1848) by Robert
supplemental, with the core curriculum centering around Schumann
notation, theory, and technique.[8][9][10] There are excep-
tions, such as The Music Tree, where every unit in the Album For the Young, Op. 39 (1878) by Pyotr
core lesson book has an improvisation activity.[11] One Ilyich Tchaikovsky
playing-based piano method, Simply Music, includes im-
provisation beginning at the very rst lessons and contin- Music for Children, Op. 65 (1935) by Sergei
uing throughout the students learning experience.[12] Prokoev

Pieces by Igor Stravinsky, Dmitri Kabalevsky and

Aram Khatchaturian
3.6 Sight reading
Mikrokosmos, Sz. 107, BB 105 (192639) by Bla
Main article: Sight reading Bartk

Sight reading heavily depends on the students ability

to understand rhythm, and recognize musical patterns. 4 Venues oering instructions in
Teaching sight reading can include teaching students to
recognize intervals, scale passage patterns, note reading piano playing
and the ability to internalize rhythm. The ability to have
strong knowledge of dierent major and minor key sig- The teaching of piano playing most often take place in the
natures can also help students anticipate the accidentals form of weekly private lessons, in which a student and
they should expect when sight reading. a teacher have one-on-one meetings. Instructions may
sometimes be oered semi-privately (one teacher meet-
ing with a small group of two or more students) or in
3.7 Memorization classes of larger groups, in other intervals of time. Pi-
ano lessons are oered in a variety of dierent settings,
Main article: Memorization including the following:[3]

Memorization is useful to perform a piece condently. It Studios of independent piano teachers

gives the student ability and freedom to experience the
music for all of its intricacies as opposed to focusing on Piano and music stores
the technicalities of notes and rhythm. Memorization can
come easily to some students, and harder for others. The Community music schools
most common memorization technique is muscle mem-
Continuing education programs
ory. However reliance on muscle memory alone can hin-
der students if they have not made the cognitive connec- Preparatory division of music colleges or conserva-
tion between every note they play, and leaves room for tories
lots of memory slips. To have a strong foundation of
memorization, students should be able to visualize every- Music colleges or conservatories
thing that they play, and be able to start from any passage.
Eective memorization results from the combination of
visual, kinaesthetic, aural and analytical skills.[5] 5 See also
Five nger exercise
3.8 Repertoire
Well-known keyboard works written with special atten-
tion for pedagogical purposes in mind include:[4][13] Pianists

6 References 7.1 Business skills for piano teachers and

[1] Bastien, James (3rd Ed. 1988) How to Teach Piano Suc-
cessfully. Neil A. Kjos Music Co: San Diego, CA. ISBN Riley, Peter Jason (2002). The New Tax Guide for Artists
0-8497-6168-9 of Every Persuasion. Limelight Editions: New York.
ISBN 0-87910-966-1
[2] University of Michigan Piano Department: Degree pro-
Colombo, Sebastin (2013). Vicente Scaramuzza. La vi-
gencia de una escuela pianstica. Editorial Crculo Rojo.
[3] Ulszer, Marienne (1995). The Well-Tempered Keyboard ISBN 978-84-9050-015-6
Teacher. Schirmer Books. ISBN 0-02-871780-5

[4] Bryanskaya, Faina (2nd Ed. 2007). Teaching Funda- 8 External links
mentals of Music Making: A Holistic Integrated Approach,
A Handbook for Piano and Music Teachers. Brighton,
Music Teachers National Association - MTNA
MA (USA). LC 2003-552304. http://www.chipublib.
The Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy
[5] Chappell, Sally. Developing the complete pianist: a
study of the importance of a whole-brain approach to pi- National Guild of Piano Teachers
ano teaching. Piano Journal, Winter 2000.
Piano Teachers Congress of New York
[6] Kampmeier, Valerie. Intuitive Improvisation: A Guide
for Beginners. American Music Teacher. Dec/Jan 07-08. Robert Schumanns Rules for Young Musicians

[7] Discover Beginning Improvisation, piano book.

[8] Alfreds Basic Piano Course. Alfreds Basic Piano Li-

brary. Retrieved 2016-10-15.

[9] Neil A. Kjos Music Company. Re-

trieved 2016-10-15.

[10] Curriculum Overview. Retrieved


[11] Alfred Music | The Music Tree: Students Book, Part 1 |

Book. Retrieved 2016-10-15.

[12] How It Works | Simply Music Piano. Simply Music Pi-

ano. Retrieved 2016-10-15.

[13] Braudo, Isaiah. On the study of key board works by J. S.

Bach in music schools. Washington DC: H. A. Frager &
Co ISBN 0-929647-10-6

7 Further reading
Bryanskaya, Faina (1988). The Key to Music Making: Pi-
ano Method for Beginners, Parts I, II, & III. Providence,
RI: White Lilac Press. ISBN 0-929571-00-2, ISBN 0-
929571-01-0, ISBN 0-929571-02-9
Gerig, Reginald (2nd Ed. 2007). Famous Pianists and
their Technique. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-
Magrath, Jane (1995). Pianists Guide to Standard Teach-
ing and Performance Literature. Alfred Publishing Co.
ISBN 0-88284-655-8

9 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses

9.1 Text
Piano pedagogy Source: Contributors: Morn, Robbot, Blainster,
Michael Devore, Walter Grlitz, Mandarax, BD2412, Melodia, Rtkat3, SmackBot, Typhoonchaser, Tennekis, Voceditenore, JHunterJ,
Doc James, Oda Mari, Lcarus27, Instrumentalist08, XLinkBot, Addbot, MagnusA.Bot, MrOllie, Emilyhyl, LilHelpa, Reggina, Ubcule,
Barrrakuda, Beginnerspiano, Jkt46, Saturn-78, Npiano~enwiki, WorldofMusicRW, TuHan-Bot, DoctorTBone, J. Wibble, Jgcanada, Help-
ful Pixie Bot, Bluc99, ChrisGualtieri, AvocadosTheorem, Witoldzio, Tam14, Jinrui100, Agentzzx007, John Allen Winters, Noahzipper,
Michael Ehrmant, Rlgreene45, Alek.wasserman and Anonymous: 31

9.2 Images
File:Bechstein_Schriftzug.jpg Source: License: CC-
BY-SA-3.0 Contributors: Own work Original artist: KarlKunde

9.3 Content license

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0