Ivory Pulse: Piano Blogs Digest – Aug 22, 2023

Hello and welcome to a new edition of Ivory Pulse!

Every week, we dive into a sea of articles, blog posts, and updates to gather the most interesting and inspiring pieces from the world of piano music. From the latest news on piano technology and trends, to insightful interviews with accomplished pianists, to tips and tricks that will help you become a better player, we’ve got it all!

What Happens When You Practise Slowly for Too Long

By: Emmanuelle Fonsny, www.pianosightreading.com.au

In this blog post, the author shares a funny anecdote about practicing a piece at a slow speed for too long. They realized they had been playing at half the intended tempo and felt like they were back to square one. The author advises alternating between slow and faster practice to avoid surprises and to remind oneself of the intended tempo. They also emphasize the importance of technique, as movements at slower speeds are different from those at faster speeds. The faster the piece, the more difficult everything becomes. Check out the blog post for more insights! Read more

3,000 Piano Repertoire Videos

By: natalie, musicmattersblog.com

Discover a treasure trove of 3,000 piano repertoire videos from the University of Iowa Piano Pedagogy Project. Although they didn’t reach their goal of 9,000 videos, these top-notch performances of beginner to intermediate level piano pieces are a must-see for piano students and teachers. Find specific pieces and add them to your repertoire list. Don’t miss out on this incredible resource! Read more

Forget Practice Makes Perfect, Think Practice Makes Progress

By: Jen Crabb, pianoforretirees.com

In this blog post, the author challenges the idea that practice makes perfect and instead suggests that practice makes progress. They argue that striving for perfection can lead to anxiety and self-doubt, ultimately hindering one’s progress in learning to play the piano. The author emphasizes the importance of recognizing and celebrating small improvements that occur with each practice session. They also share personal experiences as a piano teacher, highlighting the positive impact of consistent practice. Overall, the blog post encourages readers to shift their mindset from perfectionism to a focus on continuous progress in their piano playing journey. Read more

Adult Piano Returners – A Group Celebration

By: Melanie Spanswick, melaniespanswick.com

Join the Adult Piano Returners Facebook Group for a celebration of reaching 20,000 members. As a special treat, Schott Music and Melanie Spanswick are offering free sheet music downloads from the Women Composers – A Graded Piano Anthology series. The first piece, ‘The Boat’ by Felicitas Kukuck, is an elementary level piece, while the second piece, ‘Prelude’ by Luise Adolpha Le Beau, is an intermediate level piece. Click the links to download the scores and listen to the performances. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to connect with fellow adult pianists and explore new repertoire! Read more

Music in the NICU

By: Lois Svard, www.themusiciansbrain.com

Research studies have shown that music, both singing and instrumental, helps the underdeveloped neural networks of preterm infants mature more quickly than those who do not listen to music. Live music and specially composed music have been found to slow heartbeats, calm breathing, improve sleep, and decrease stress in premature babies. The music also helps with neural development and the functioning of the salience network in the brain. Listening to music in the NICU can have significant benefits for the health and development of preterm infants. Read more

Creating Ourselves: Social Emotional Learning in the Music Classroom

By: Sheet Music Plus, blog.sheetmusicplus.com

Dr. Philip Silvey, Associate Professor of Music at the Eastman School of Music, discusses the alignment between social emotional learning (SEL) competencies and the skills developed through studying the arts. He highlights the importance of agency, empathy, interpretation, respect, and connection in arts education. Silvey also mentions his contribution to the Voices in Harmony choral series, which aims to help students develop SEL competencies. He shares an excerpt from one of the learning experiences he wrote for students to try as they learn to perform his composition, emphasizing the importance of self-awareness and self-management in completing artistic works. Read more

In the Key of F-sharp Major

By: The Cross-Eyed Pianist, crosseyedpianist.com

Discover the captivating and challenging world of piano music in the key of F-sharp Major. With its daunting six sharps and luminous, colorful compositions, this key offers a range of sonic and expressive possibilities. From Schumann’s romantic and affectionate Romance Op 28, No. 2 to Messiaen’s transcendent Regard du Pere, explore the beauty and richness of F-sharp Major. Other notable compositions include Liszt’s Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude, Ibert’s Le Petit ane blanc, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No 24, and Debussy’s Poissons d’Or. Dive into this captivating key and experience the joy of navigating its technical challenges. Read more

Chord Voicings for Beginners

By: Charmaine Li, www.pianote.com

Discover the magic of chord voicings and how they can transform the sound of a chord. This blog post introduces beginners to closed voicings, open voicings, shell voicings, rootless voicings, drop-2 voicings, drop-2 and drop-4 voicings, and voice leading. Learn how to create fuller, more complex sounds and explore different ways to arrange chords. Read more

How To Play Physical Music Games In Online Lessons

By: Georgina Wilson, topmusic.co

Learn how to incorporate music games into online piano lessons without fancy tech. Use screen share, magnets, and physical roles to engage students and make learning fun. Get tips on using a magnetic whiteboard, small magnets, and magnetic counters as playing pieces. Explore different ways to present question cards and give students a physical role in the game. Reinforce understanding of the piano keyboard and encourage letter answers by having students move their playing piece on the piano based on a die or spinner. Make online lessons interactive and enjoyable for students. Read more

An Inspiring Story is Unfolding! Church Pianist with One Hand

By: Jenifer Cook, thechurchpianist.com

Read about an inspiring story of a church pianist with one hand and how arrangements are being written for her. Watch the video for more details. Read more

How To Teach Handel Gavotte in G Major

By: Janna Williamson, www.jannawilliamson.com

Learn how to teach Handel’s Gavotte in G Major with Janna Williamson. This blog post provides insights into the piece’s key signature, scale patterns, rhythms, independent lines, and more. Recommended editions are also mentioned. Stay up to date with Janna’s piano pedagogy content by subscribing to her newsletter. Read more

The Piano Player: Uplifting Classics

By: Andrew Eales, pianodao.com

Faber Music has released the latest addition to their Piano Player series: Uplifting Classics. This anthology features 20 famous classical pieces arranged for intermediate piano solo. The collection includes well-known compositions such as Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’, Bach’s ‘Sheep May Safely Graze’, and Mozart’s ‘Rondo Alla Turca’. The arrangements maintain the essence of the original works while presenting them appropriately for the piano. The book is suitable for intermediate to advanced level players and offers a joyful diversion from more serious study. The beautiful cover artwork adds to the appeal of this publication. Read more


That brings us to the end of this edition of Ivory Pulse. Don’t forget to join us again next week for another compilation of compelling piano-focused content. Until then, keep playing and enjoying the wonderful world of piano music.

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