A quick tip: UIPianoPed

Happy Monday, everyone!

Today I’m going to share with you a resource that I’ve been using for a long time, but I’ve never thought to share until now.  I was prompted to share when I found myself recommending it once again to a student of mine — I realized that maybe it’s worth mentioning because maybe it’s not totally well-known.  (Or maybe it is and then, no harm, right?)

And the resource is this: the UIPianoPed youtube channel from the University of Iowa Piano Pedagogy Project.  This channel has something like 3,000 videos of well-executed performances of beginner to intermediate (intermediate/advanced) piano pieces.  I noticed that the last upload occurred about 1 year ago, so I don’t know if new videos will be added, but this channel is a great resource for examples of pieces that are played and uploaded by many, but aren’t always played well or recorded well, etc.  So often, a student plays an intermediate piece – Ivan Sings by Khachaturian, for example, and all that can be found recording-wise on the internet are some home videos of various intermediate students playing, when what I really want to show my student is a professional level performance.  This is where UIPianoPed is so handy.

If you have a student learning the old standby of Sea Mist by James Bastien, for example, and you go to YouTube and search for performances, you get the following results:

 

Fortunately, in this instance, the UIPianoPed video is the third result.   However it’s often the case that you have to wade through scores of videos (if you don’t give up) before you find something suitable to show your student.  And that just won’t do.  And having students finding videos on their own, to me, seems like a recipe for disaster – what if they choose to imitate bad or incorrect playing or technique?  I’d much rather show them a good performance then have them find a bad one on their own.

Just today, it was a handy resource for one of my adult students who is playing a piece from Music for Millions: Vol. 27.  The piece in the book itself is unhelpfully identified merely as “Sarabande” by GF Handel, but without much more information, search results return other sarabandes in that key, none of which are of the actual music from the book.  When my student texted me saying he could not find a recording, I decided to check UIPianoPed.  Sure enough, the entire volume of the book was performed and recorded and I was able to quickly find a good example to send my student.  It is unfortunate that I only have one performance to share with him to prevent him from any tendency to merely “ape” that performance, but we can’t always get everything we want 🙂

Another way this YouTube channel has been of use to my piano studio is as a resource for discovering unfamiliar  beginner/intermediate works as a teacher OR as a way to allow your students to go “piece shopping.”  I frequently recommend to my older students that they spend time listening to the videos from this channel because they might find something they want to play that I’ve never heard of (because I don’t have the book or because it was composed recently, etc) and that can be of pedagogical and artistic value and might be something outside of the usual festival fare.  It also makes it a lot easier to offer choices to your students without owning every copy of every intermediate collection in existence.  I discovered a set of pieces that I love teaching through this channnel, Shostakovich’s Children’s six movement Children’s Album, that I would likely never have found out about because it appears in none of the more common collections that I own or have had students purchase. Listen to how delightful this piece is:

 

Or how lovely this simple waltz is:

 

When I went to purchase the sheet music for this particular music, I could only find it in a stand alone edition by Kalmus, which I would probably have never purchased without having first heard the music through UIPianoPed.  (Music linked with image if you are interested).

Anyway, I hope you gained something from this post and have a great week!

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