Dr Kathryn Ang
Extraordinary Researcher, North-West University, South Africa

Dr. Kathryn Ang has vast experience as a music educator, adjudicator, pianist, and researcher. Holding a doctorate in music from the North-West University, ...

Read more

Dr Khoo Hui Ling
Lecturer, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Singapore

A pianist, music educator, researcher and entrepreneur, Dr. Khoo Hui Ling seeks and maintains diverse interests in life which nourish her artistic soul. Hui Ling is currently Lecturer at ...

Read more

Helping Students Overcome Musical Inhibition: Perspectives of Instrumental Teachers in Malaysia and Singapore

Dr Kathryn Ang & Dr Khoo Hui Ling

Although the inhibition of musicality is well-known in music education, it has not been studied extensively. This may result in misdiagnosis of student experience. In this paper, we consider how teachers have described how they help students overcome the inhibition of musicality. Using a basic qualitative research design, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 studio piano teachers from Singapore and Malaysia. The themes that emerged from the data showed that in order to help students overcome musical inhibition, teachers foster personal relationships within the students’ learning environment, increase student ownership in their learning, and develop students’ confidence in their musical abilities. This shows that teachers intuitively grasped the basic needs for motivation in inhibited students and attempted to address this through their previous teaching experiences. The results suggest that understanding the relationship between motivation and inhibition will support music teachers in helping students who display symptoms of musical inhibition.

Doreen Chai
Piano Instructor, WonderKeys Music Studio, Sarawak, Malaysia

Doreen Chai, MPA (Music Edu.), BSc (Hon.), is a piano instructor and visionary founder of WonderKeys Music Studio, Kuching, Sarawak. ...

Read more

Enhancing Rhythmic Accuracy and Playing Fluency in Novice Piano Students through Sequenced Accompaniments: A Quasi-Experimental Study

Over the past two decades, the landscape of music education has undergone significant transformations due to the advent of digital technologies. These innovations in the field of music technology have emerged as a promising tool to elevate the quality of music education by assisting learners in overcoming technical challenges associated with instrument performance. Consequently, the focus of this research is to investigate the impact of sequenced accompaniments on the rhythmic accuracy and playing fluency of beginner piano students. A quasi-experimental design was employed, and a total of 60 novice piano students ages six to eight were randomly assigned to either a treatment group or a control group.

The subjects were tested on piano pieces of two different styles, namely March and Swing, where selected rhythmic components were incorporated. The results revealed that the use of sequenced accompaniments significantly improved the rhythmic accuracy and playing fluency of novice piano students, demonstrating a clear distinction between the two groups. Remarkably, the sequenced accompaniment teaching approach proved to be universally effective across students between ages of six to eight, while the conventional rhythm counting method appeared more suitable for older students.

The findings showed that the sequenced accompaniments approach aligns with the cognitive processes of music learning in young children, transcending mere entertainment value. This experimental research sheds new light on rhythm training for music educators and addresses crucial gaps in music technology education research. Additionally, it has implications for piano and digital keyboard manufacturing industries, encouraging the development of new products to foster musical growth.

Ruiyang Chen
PhD student, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia

Ruiyang Chen is currently a doctoral student pursuing a PhD in Music Performance under the guidance of Dr. Tham at the Faculty of Music and Performing Arts, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia....

Read more

Interpreting and Performing Musical Gestures in Selected Impromptus by Franz Schubert and Frédéric Chopin

Musical gesture is a widely recognized concept in various disciplines, including musical performance. While Hatten (2004) provides a foundational definition of musical gesture as any energetic shaping through time that carries interpretive significance, the focus is mostly on the classical era. This study aims to extend Hatten's theory into the Romantic period, in particular the selected impromptus by Schubert and Chopin by providing a performance guideline for interpreting these works. Through analysis and comparison of their characteristics, this study aims to explore individual expression and spontaneity in the same genre (Impromptus). A combination of practice-led and practice-based research methods will be employed. The expected outcomes will demonstrate that Schubert's impromptus show more thematic and spiritual elements, while Chopin's impromptus convey a subtly spontaneous quality and evoke a sense of improvisation, despite both being lyrical in nature.

Hildy Essex
Head of Keyboard, Presbyterian Ladies College, Melbourne, Australia

Hildy Essex has worked in the field of music education for over 20 years, as a piano specialist and a technology specialist. She has a keen interest in ...

Read more

How to do Live Looping: A Workshop on Incorporating Technology into Piano Performance

Would you like to know how to use live looping for the piano? Or how to incorporate technology into your or your students' acoustic piano performances? With music styles and students’ interests constantly evolving, it is essential to stay up to date with technologies that can help engage piano students and provide them with an alternative performance style to traditional notated piano performances. In this workshop, Hildy Essex will draw upon her years of teaching and experience mentoring IB students to perform electro-acoustic pieces. She will demonstrate how performers can use live looping in piano performance. She will also demonstrate ways to incorporate technology, such as midi keyboards and audio unit effects, into performance to complement the acoustic piano. Alongside her performance of pieces demonstrating these things, she will provide commentary on how best to choose songs for this type of performance, what the challenges of arranging songs for this type of performance are, and highlight some key considerations and tips when approaching this style of performance preparation. Attendees will come away with a comprehensive overview of how to approach choosing, arranging and performing an electro-acoustic piece with live looping.

Federico Favali
Professor, Conservatorio di Alessandria, Hamburg University, Italy

The music of the Italian composer Federico Favali has received international acclaim, being performed worldwide by many remarkable ensemble such as ...

Read more

Illusions and Perspectives from a Keyboard to the Infinite. "L’escalier du diable" by Ligeti as a Case Study

Analyses on the music of György Ligeti have been made for several years from many points of view. The aim of this paper is to give a contribution in this sense adding a new perspective. The focus will be on the piano etude "L’escalier du diable" ("The Devil’s Staircase" the 13th etude from the second book). It will be analyzed from a mathematical point of view.

In the first part of the paper, the Shepard scale will be taken into consideration. It is well known that this tool is an example of an eternally ascending canon. Taking this as a starting point, the motion and the directions of the scales of the piece will be expressed in mathematical terms and formulas. Doing so, it will be possible to analyze the study as a sequence of formulas that later will be related to the types of chords and texture. This fact will make clear how mathematical terms can give a substantial contribution to understand and analyze musical phenomenon.

The second part of the paper will take into consideration the rhythmic aspect of the piece. In particular, it will analyze this etude in terms of Fourier transform. This function describes the variety of the rhythmic events in a piece. In this case, a graph will be shown highlighting this evolution.

Thus, it will be clear how mathematical tools can help to better analyze a composition.

Evelyn Theodora Khalim
Undergraduate student, UCSI University Institute of Music, Malaysia

Hailed from Bandung–Indonesia, Evelyn Theodora Khalim has achieved accolades in different areas of music. Evelyn was awarded the first place in ...

Read more

The Bridge Between East and West: Exploring Ananda Sukarlan's Rapsodia Nusantara

Since the mid-20th century, folk songs, patriotic songs, and traditional music in Indonesia were emerged as a powerful tool to ignite national pride and inspire unity. As one of the prominent composer in the 21st century’s Indonesian piano literature, Sukarlan shows the stylistic versatility by incorporating both Western art music influence such as Baroque contrapuntal writing, neo-classicism, and jazz improvisation with Indonesian musical elements (e.g: pentatonic scale, kulintangan rhythm, and transmission of traditional local instruments’ sounds). Sukarlan’s Rapsodia Nusantara (Rhapsody of The Archipelago) for solo piano is one of his significant compositions, which highlights the fusion between East and West. Derived from Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies, Rapsodia Nusantara is a free compositional form that captures "Lisztian" pianistic virtuosity, while adapting various folk tunes from Nusantara islands. As the word Nusantara itself is derived from two old Javanese words, Nusa (islands) and Antara (in between), these rhapsodies are intended to show the diversity of Indonesian culture – beyond the popularity of gamelan music. This paper presentation aims to explore Sukarlan’s compositional trademarks and how he transcends the cultural barrier between East and West elements in Rapsodia Nusantara.

Dr Koo Siaw Sing
Senior Lecturer, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Singapore

Siaw Sing teaches Social History of the Piano and various Keyboard Studies modules at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. He has taught piano, piano pedagogy, ...

Read more

Muzio Clementi: The Master of Piano Pedagogue

Almost every piano student knows Muzio Clementi for his celebrated and "must-learn" piano sonatinas. But once a student starts to learn his first Mozart piano sonata, Clementi is too soon forgotten. However, Clementi’s contribution towards the piano industry extends beyond his sonatinas. He is, in fact, being named the Father of the Pianoforte. A great piano virtuoso and a master teacher, his piano pedagogical concepts are invaluable.

This lecture-demonstration intends to bring forth the old master's obscure yet important teaching insights. His piano teaching materials, written for both the beginners and the virtuosos, are less well-known yet deserved much higher recognition in the realm of piano study. His Introduction to the Art of Playing on the Pianoforte, a book written for the elementary piano students, provides not only rudimentary knowledge of music, also incorporates vital piano pedagogical principles in preparation for excellence in piano playing. The appendix to the book furnishes plenty of technical exercises on playing scales for a more serious piano student. His three volumes of Gradus ad Parnassum includes advanced technical exercises and stylistically diverse pieces for mastery in piano performance at the highest level. There are plenty of essential piano teaching fundamentals and thoughts to be learned from this old piano pedagogue, whose piano teaching implication and effect towards modern piano instruction should be carefully examined and studied.

Supphanat Lamache
Piano Instructor, Amstutz Music School, Thailand

Rooting in Bangkok, Supphanat Lamache started to play piano at the age of six. At the age of 15, he attended the College of Music, Mahidol University (Young Artists Music Program) ...

Read more

Preschool Piano Teaching: What is the Difference?

Piano teaching especially in pre-schooler level has gained significant attention in these recent years. It is because as parents would like their young one starts lessons earlier as they understand that it provides a foundation for their kids’ a solid musical development and enhances their cognitive, motor, and emotional skills. This workshop will illustrate an overview of piano teaching techniques especially designed for pre-schooler. Presenter will focus on effective approaches that are suitable to the needs and capability of the very young learners.

The workshop begins with the human development, highlighting the importance of early childhood music education in the holistic development of pre-schoolers. It emphasizes the benefits of taking piano lessons at very young age. This workshop will include the tips for the fine motor skills development and coordination as well as how to work on child’s memory, concentration, and creativity. The significance of incorporating movement and rhythm in pre-schooler piano lessons will also be introduced. There will be an exploration in the use of body movements and rhythmic games. As these is not only develop a sense of rhythm, but also help improve physical coordination and embodiment of music expression.

In conclusion, this workshop will also address an importance of a supportive and nurtured learning environment for pre-schoolers piano teaching. The role of the instructor as a facilitator will be accentuated in order to help creating a positive and encouraging atmosphere that fosters creativity, exploration, and self-discovery. Furthermore, parental involvements such as parental support, practice routines, and participation in their child’s musical journey will be highlighted as a crucial factor for the successful pre-schoolers piano education.

Catherine Lim
Piano Instructor, WonderKeys Music Studio, Malaysia

Catherine Lim is a piano instructor at WonderKeys Music Studio, Kuching, Sarawak. She graduated with an Honour's Degree in Resource Biotechnology (2022), ...

Read more

Overcoming the Pandemic: A Preliminary Case Study on a Successful Hybrid Approach with Technological Integration in Music Education

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged music centers to confront the disruption of traditional teaching methods and derive innovative solutions. This abstract draws a preliminary case study on the journey of WonderKeys Music Studio (WMS), a prominent piano learning center, from an immediate switch to remote teaching during the pandemic to a well-balanced hybrid learning approach aided by strategic integration of cutting-edge technologies.

In this case study, significant adjustments made by WMS to ensure uninterrupted lessons, concerts, and examinations were observed. They invested in state-of-the-art audio and video equipment, innovative digital tools, and interactive platforms, enhancing student engagement and real-time collaboration across geographical boundaries. A comprehensive digital library was established, enriching remote teaching and hybrid model approach by providing easy access to various educational materials and resources for WMS instructors.

Preliminary results indicated resilience and adaptability of WMS by transitioning from remote teaching during the pandemic to a successful hybrid learning approach, integrating modern technologies. Students reported increased motivation and enthusiasm in their personalized learning journey. The studio's resources were optimized, improving efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

This case study demonstrates the importance of preserving student motivation and engagement in a virtual setting as well as the contribution of synchronous and asynchronous learning aspects to the effectiveness of this strategy. It offers Kuching's music educators a motivating example of how technology may radically alter the landscape of inclusive, high-quality music education. To evaluate the viability and efficacy of this model, however, more research and analysis are needed.

Sherra Ng
Undergraduate student, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore

Sherra Ng was a very inquisitive child, always in a corner quietly watching her brother, who was 13 years older practice the piano. Being exposed to ...

Read more

Fingering Choices and Their Effects

This lecture recital will discuss the rules in instructional materials on fingerings and their limitations and explore the application of such rules. The two materials presented are the Türk School of Clavier Playing (1789) and Knott Pianoforte fingerings (1928).

Every finger on the hand is different in terms of strength and length. Moreover, our hands are all made differently – some have bigger hands, and some have longer fingers. Hence, good fingering choices require an economical movement of hands that provides the most comfort, on top of staying true to the intended effect of the music. For a developing pianist, these decisions are vital to the execution and learning progress of a piece of music.

In Türk’s treatise, the first and tenth rules will be discussed, which are avoiding the shorter fingers on the raised keys and finger substitution. Situations where these rules can be broken will be evaluated and justified.

In Knott’s treatise, the rules on sequences and repetitions will be discussed. Rules can sometimes contradict one another, but if it can be justified by one it can be used if it is most comfortable and achieves the intended musical effect.

Dr Caryn Ong Wen Bin
Senior Lecturer, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia

A native of Malaysia, Dr. Caryn Ong Wen Bin is an active piano pedagogue, music educator, and pianist. She graduated with a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Pedagogy from ...

Read more

Enriching Students’ Repertoire: Piano Concertos for Elementary and Intermediate Levels

A piano concerto is defined as a virtuosic piece composed for a solo piano accompanied by an orchestra. Most of the standard piano concerto literature is composed for advanced pianists with mature technical and musical abilities and is inaccessible to developing students.

Therefore, with the aim to provide repertoire selections for piano educators, this lecture recital presents and explores piano concerti for elementary and intermediate level students. Most of the selected concerti are original works by pedagogical and living composers. Among them are Dennis Alexander, Martha Mier, Lynn Freeman Olson, Eugenie Rocherolle, etc. The selected piano concerti feature different genres and style such as classical and blues to cater to more variety. The stylistic, technical, and musical elements of each concerto will be discussed followed by a performance of selected movements due to the time constraint. For the convenience of the presentation format, two-piano adaptations will be utilized.

Learning a piano concerto can be very beneficial to budding pianists as it nurtures technical, musical, performance, ensemble, and interpretive skills. It is hoped that this lecture recital contributes to expanding and enriching the repertoire library of students and teachers.

Samuel Pang En
Undergraduate student, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore

Samuel Pang En is a final-year piano pedagogy student completing his Bachelor of Education at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts–Royal College of Music on ...

Read more

Playing the Classical Period Repertoires: How Historical Context and Musical Contents Informs the Applications of Technique and Touch

When students learn piano pieces from the past, an awareness of nationalistic and composer-specific preferences can significantly enhance their understanding of the music. This lecture-recital focuses on the application of technique and touch, employing a teaching approach that values the consideration of historical context and musical content. The lecture-recital features an overview of the differing distinctions of the fortepianos' anatomy, techniques, and how contextual awareness contributes to a basic understanding of the Classical style. Examples of keyboard works by Clementi and Mozart will be elaborated upon to emphasise important concepts including technique and touch on the modern piano and to demonstrate the feasibility of the teaching approach. The immediate result of this is an enriched learning experience for the piano student; over the long term, it fosters students into thinking pianists, empowering them to make well-informed musical decisions. To conclude, a short performance of keyboard works will be presented.

Siew Wan Qing
Undergraduate student, Institute of Music, UCSI University, Malaysia

Siew Wan Qing completed her BMus in Classical Music at UCSI University, majoring in piano and minoring in cello. Wan Qing was supervised by ...

Read more

Franz Liszt as a Pedagogue Through an Analysis of His Piano Master Classes in Weimar

This article delves into the pedagogical approach of Franz Liszt (1811-1886), a distinguished 19th-century virtuoso pianist and composer, with a primary focus on his transformative master classes conducted in Weimar during 1884-1885. Liszt's teaching style was marked by its improvisational and intuitive nature, which didn't always adhere to a structured or consistent format. Liszt held a dissenting view towards the conventional structured pedagogy of conservatory education, which involved repetitive technical exercises, strict adherence to uniformity, and regimented drills, which Liszt did not advocate for. The main objective of this article is to undertake an in-depth analysis of Liszt's teaching approaches in musical interpretation and technical execution (dynamics, articulation, fingering, tempo) through analogy in master classes. Through this, it will offer a comprehensive understanding of Liszt's pedagogical philosophy.

Dr Bernard Tan
Senior Lecturer, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia

Bernard Tan holds Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in collaborative piano from University of Michigan, USA, being the only Malaysian ...

Read more

Approaching Orchestral Reductions: A Demonstration through Operatic Excerpts

A conventional piano education trains a student to play with integrity and accuracy, through playing according to the score, observing performance directions and markings, and performing with a stylistic awareness of the piece. However, a genre of music that virtually all pianist will eventually play, because of one reason or another, is one that is not originally composed for the piano. This can include accompanying a piano concerto or instrumental concerto, opera arias for singers, playing cantatas in rehearsals, and even playing in a ballet examination. Orchestral music that is transcribed or reduced to be played on the piano is usually a genre that is less understood by pianists, where some principles learnt from a conventional piano education will need to be adjusted or even ignored. This lecture-recital aims to provide a perspective on the methods of approaching orchestral music as a pianist, using excerpts from various operatic repertoire. Various situations that require textural considerations, notation modification and timbre imitation will be presented. The approach of playing orchestral reductions will be discussed, along with the performance of excerpts from operas, demonstrating the application of the principles presented. This aims to create more awareness and understanding on approaching playing orchestral reductions as a pianist, and provides a guideline for piano teachers in teaching a student to play this type of music.

Dr Nana Wang
Lecturer, Sichuan Conservatory of Music, China

Nana Wang is currently a lecturer at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music in China. Her research interest is ...

Read more

‘The More Faithful, The More Divergent’: A Study of Piano Arrangements Based on Meyerbeer’s Robert, toi que j’aime

Perhaps no genre in music history has received as much criticism as piano arrangements in the nineteenth century, which have been regarded as ‘second-hand works, bastard genre, and even as the worst crimes ever committed in music history’ (Watson, 1989). Nevertheless, the value of this genre in nineteenth-century European musical life cannot be denied. It was this genre that reached a wider public than the actual orchestral or operatic works did, further increasing the public’s appreciation and comprehension of the original works, which they normally had limited chances to hear or watch in live performances. Particularly with regard to piano pedagogy, the craze for this genre went ‘a little mad’ from the 1820s, and around 1830, teachers and students seemed to ‘want to play nothing but arrangements’, thus resulting in a large number of publications of this repertoire for pedagogical purposes (AmZ, 1830). Although piano arrangements served as an active bridge between the source text and amateur pianists in the nineteenth century, it is still worth reconsidering the extent to which this genre truly brought students close to the original work in a pedagogical context.

As a case study, three piano arrangements based entirely on the cavatina Robert, toi que j'aime will be considered. As a highlight in Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable, it is one of the most frequently transcribed extracts from the original opera. Sung by a desperate and pitiable heroine Isabelle, this cavatina represents her repeated pleading to the enchanted Robert for his mercy, which is also a dramatic turning point presenting Isabelle’s role in Robert’s redemption in the opera. The three chosen piano arrangements were composed by currently lesser-known composers: Henri Cramer, W. Cramer and Ferdinand Dulcken. Although based on the same cavatina, the composers restated the tune by employing different strategies, ranging from note-for-note transcription to elaborate treatment of the cavatina. By analysing and comparing the three arrangements with the source text in terms of musical materials, dramaturgy and performance, the following research questions will be addressed: Does this genre bring about a misinterpretation of the source text? If so, does this mean that learning to play piano arrangements was actually ‘repeating’ or ‘reinforcing’ the misinterpretations of the original works, thus having deleterious effects on piano pedagogy?

Wong Siao Ern
Lecturer, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia

Wong Siao Ern, M.Sc. (Music), B.Mus. (Performance) has performed as vocalist and pianist with jazz fusion ensemble DUST across Malaysia, including ...

Read more

‘Recreating the Sound’: Piano Majors’ Experience of Making Sense of Technical Skills in Learning Jazz Improvisation

In recent years, the number of tertiary-level students pursuing jazz as a major study has been increasing in Malaysia. Other than the learning of the course content itself, doing well in the study also necessitates understanding jazz as a music culture. Indeed, jazz is not currently a music that is prominent in the local musical landscape, and many embark upon a major study in jazz with little exposure to the music. This paper seeks to understand the experiences of jazz piano majors in learning jazz improvisation. Specifically, I investigate how participants learned and made sense of the technical aspects of jazz improvisation. Participants were interviewed, and the text interpreted and analysed in accordance with Smith, Flowers & Larkin’s (2009) Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) method. Participant accounts reveal that the learning and practicing of technical skills are a complex undertaking that comes together with embodying grooving, learning theoretical knowledge, developing aural skills, cultivating aesthetic judgement and even learning how to think about and make decisions regarding the music. Technical, theoretical and cultural aspects were inextricably linked together in learning; participants were tremendously challenged in formulating practice strategies and integrating skills holistically in performance. Understanding the situation on the ground is pertinent in advocating for learners needs in an increasingly globalized and connected world. Pre-university education opportunities are much needed in increasing exposure and closing the "gap" of skills. Mediation and translation may be necessary between delivery and receiving of instructions in learning.

Dr Ji Yang
Assistant Professor, Chinju National University of Education, South Korea

Ji Yang graduated Korea National University of Arts in Piano. She received her M.M. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from University of Oklahoma and ...

Read more

Inspiration and Imagination: Star Light, Star Bright by Alexina Louie

This lecture recital is to introduce one of the great pedagogical piano literature, Star Light, Star Bright (1995) composed by Alexina Louie (1949~), who is a Chinese-Canadian composer. Louie’s music presents her inspiration from the Eastern factors of Chinese philosophy and music for the Chinese ancient string instrument. Her Star Light, Star Bright series include beautiful nine pieces that are projected Oriental elements; Distant Star, Blue Sky I, Star-Gazing, Rings of Saturn, Moonlight Toccata, O Moon, Shooting Stars, Blue Sky II, and Into Forever. These valuable pieces that were dedicated to two of her daughters help for intermediate and advanced students to develop their musical expression and creativity in the Contemporary musical style. Several of the unique musical characteristics that are showed in these pieces consist of senza misura, oversized natural and flat signs, expanded staves, grace notes and grouping with slash, chord clusters with open palms, etc. In particular, the pianists to play for some of these pieces are required to express their musical ideas with freedom and to explore colorful sounds and their imagination fully.