Teachers use Piano Explorer with their students in many different ways. Several subscribers were kind enough to share their ideas. If you would like to let other teachers know how you use the magazine to supplement your teaching, please email us.

   Each month we include a teacher's guide with additional suggestions and material to assist you in using the magazines with your students. Please click on the link below to view a current or past teacher's guide.

Teacher's Guides

 
Interesting Links
 

Members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra make a surprise appearance at a local mall.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrc2uXT9suc


Peter Schikele Tribute:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qskPkyxO3AA

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion.html
http://vimeo.com/5732745
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18367-songs-in-the-key-of-life-what-makes-music-emotional.html

 

 
Ginger Storts
Adagio Piano Studio
Seattle, Washington

   I love teaching piano and have always said I plan to retire when I die, and I can add to that that I hope your magazine will still be around then!! I enjoy your magazine as much or more than my students do and make use of it in every way I possibly can.

   At every lesson I give my students an assignment to read and expect them to be able to discuss it with me at their next lesson.  I ask them to underline two or three sentences on each page that they thought were important or interesting.  My students earn Music Money (Kjos music) for being well prepared for their lessons, including these assignments. Music Money can be redeemed twice a year for prizes that I get at the dollar store.

   Throughout the year, my students learn original pieces and arrangements by the composers featured each month in Piano Explorer. When I can't find something on the correct level for my students, I make an arrangement myself, frequently for two or more students (or for student and teacher). They perform these at quarterly recitals for students only. These pieces are also featured at our year end recital for family and friends. 

   We also did huge unit on Carnival of the Animals this year.  My students watched the video narrated by Gary Burghoff during their computer time and did movement activities at a group class.  It was performed at this June's recital, as well as pieces by all the composers featured in Piano Explorer for 2008-2009.  I decorated the hall where we served refreshments with pictures of the animals featured. As part of the awards I gave each student a recording of Carnival of the Animals.
Here is a copy of our program with the students names deleted:

Theme from Piano Concerto no. 2 .  .  .  .  .  .  Rachmaninoff
The Little Reapers .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Robert Schumann
Promenade  ~  duet  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   Mussorgsky
Unfinished Symphony Theme ~ duet .  .  .  .  .  .  . Schubert
Wild Horsman ~ duet.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . Robert Schumann
Etude .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . Chopin
Stars and Stripes Forever .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . Sousa
Malaguena .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .Sarasate
March  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Shostakovich
Romance Varie Op.3 ~ duet.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .Clara  Schumann
Andante .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .Johann Christian Bach
Peter and the Wolf Theme.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . Prokofiev

The Carnival of the Animals
By Charles Camille Saint-Saens
Poems by Ogden Nash

Introduction  
Royal March of the Lion
Cocks and Hens
The Wild Donkey
The Tortoise ~ duet
The Elephant ~ duet
Kangaroos ~ duet
The Aquarium ~ duet
Personages with Long Ears
The Cuckoo Deep in the Wood  ~ two pianos eight hands
The Aviary
Fossils
The Swan
Finale ~ duet

   My students participate in the MTNA Music Achievement each year.  Several of the activities I suggest that they can do involve the composers from the current year's Piano Explorer.  This year they included watching a video on a composer, listening to pieces by different composers featured in Piano Explorer, and making a time line showing the times that the Piano Explorer composers lived. 
    
   Each week my students spend 15 minutes on my computer doing lesson related activities. These frequently include activities that relate to what they have learned in Piano Explorer.

 
Celendra Grant
Grant Enterprises
California

  
 I like to pass Piano Explorer out at the beginning of the month and assign the students to read and do all the activities they can and to especially take the quiz. At the end of the month they return them to me for correction. They get points  recorded for every correct answer. There are usually about 4 students who have accumulated points above and beyond the rest of the students by the annual awards recital in June, so I recognize them with a music appreciation award and give them what I call Piano Explorer Hats (a baseball cap with a music logo on it). On a monthly basis, anyone who achieves 100% on the quiz and does a fair amount of the other activities gets to choose a prize from the treasure chest, which is full of useful practical items like pencils etc. The prizes are changed and themed each month.
 
 
Janna Williamson
Illinois

    I have used Piano Explorer since I began teaching.  I charge students for it. 
 
    I find that the featured composer is the best part of the magazine.  I require listening assignments from my students of one or two pieces for the composer of each month. I have found this to be very effective in my teaching; so few students actually listen to classical music at home!  I feel that these assignments are preparing young people to be the future audiences at orchestra halls.
 
    I create very easy worksheets that span late elementary - high school level students.  I usually give a brief background about the piece, and then ask 3 - 4 questions.  Some typical questions might be:
 
What instruments do you hear? (for orchestral pieces)
Define the term concerto (or toccata, or rondo, or whatever the type of piece it is)
Describe the things you hear the pianist doing, such as chords, arpeggios, scales, etc.
Imagine a story to go with this music.  Write your story here.
If you were my piano teacher and assigned this piece to me, how would you tell me to practice?
 
    Occasionally I'll put in a more difficult theoretical question and tell the younger/less advanced students to skip it.
 
    The last question on the sheet is always, "Did you like this piece?  Why or why not?"  I have found that the answer is almost always "yes" to this question.  Students who are given background and a bit of a guide to listening to the classical selection almost always enjoy it.