Monday, December 29, 2008

Educating the Collaborative Piano Major

Those teaching, studying, or considering studying in a collaborative piano degree program are well advised to read Janice Wenger's Educating the Collaborative Major: When, Why & How, from the October/November 2008 edition of the American Music Teacher. This is a look at various collaborative piano degrees from the program creation point of view, with featuring commentary from the following major teachers in the field:
  • Carlyn Bridger, Florida State University
  • Anne Epperson, University of Texas at Austin
  • Dr. Jean Barr, Eastman School of Music
  • Paul Stewart, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Some of the issues covered in the article include curriculum, auditions, assistantships, collegiality, and communication. Here's a quote from Jean Barr that is especially applicable to anyone wishing to navigate the often challenging world of the collaborative pianist:
The ideals of flexibility, collegiality and communication skills, added to musicality, pretty much define what a collaborative pianist should be about. You communicate with your instrument; you communicate by asking things of your students, and you communicate with faculty colleagues when you want their support providing players/singers for your students' degree recitals.

Effective communication is an essential ability for anyone who aspires to make music with others. Collaborative musicians must be able to communicate both musically and verbally. They also should be open-minded, flexible in attitude and in action, willing to compromise when necessary and able to accommodate differing opinions. Above all, collegiality is an extremely important attribute--both for performing artists and for university faculty members.

Further reading:

Degree Programs in Collaborative Piano
Degree Programs in Piano Pedagogy
Career Options in Collaborative Piano
Required and Preferred Skills for the Collaborative Pianist

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