January 2012
Teachers' Guide

Annual Composition Contest -

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Ideas to use with the January Issue

Posture Games
These are great for beginners, but intermediate students can always use a reminder. They work in a group class, grabbing the interest of the entire class, or in private lessons, where teachers can give more individual attention to student's posture.

1. Fix the Problem
The teacher (or one of the students in a group class) sits at the piano with bad posture. Students come up individually to fix one element at a time, talking about what and why they are fixing.

2. Posture Patrol
One student performs as the rest of students in the class (or private teacher, perhaps together with the parent) watch his posture the whole time for any change. If anything in the posture goes wrong, the performance is stopped and may be resumed only after the problem has been fixed. This can be turned into a contest - which student plays through his entire piece without being stopped.

I Spy
Show students pictures of improper posture. Ask students to find errors in pictures. In group class situations the student who finds the most errors may get a reward, such as a special advantage in other games.

Recommended Recordings
Liszt Wild and Crazy (Deutsche Grammophon, 2011) - performances by Richter, Argerich, Pletnev, Lang, Horowitz, Ashkenazy, and other pianists
Liszt Now - Lang Lang (Sony, 2011)
The Best of Liszt - Misha Dichter (Philips, 1996)
Piano Concertos 1 and 2, Totentanz - Krystian Zimerman, Seiji Ozawa, (Deutsche Grammophon, 1990)

Lang Lang
Live in Vienna - Blu-ray, DVD, or CD (Sony, 2010)
Live At Carnegie Hall (Deutsche Grammophon, 2008)
Dragon Songs (Deutsche Grammophon, 2007))

Encourage your students to participate in the annual Composition Contest. This year we ask them to explore themes related to ocean life. Students should pick an ocean creature or plant and write a piece about it. We ask for a short paragraph, which explains how the music portrays the chosen subject. Artwork is also encouraged. Entries have to be faxed or postmarked by March 15. For a complete set of rules go here or to page 12 of the January issue. Look for special Composers' Corner articles in upcoming issues which will explore various composing techniques to help students come up with ideas, develop them, and write a structured, well thought-out piece.

Answers to January Puzzles
Word Scramble (page 5): presto, largo, allegro, moderato, adagio
Quiz (page 15): 1. d 2. a 3.


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