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Michael Rivers on “Historically Informed Teaching”

Michael Rivers gave a delightful presentation on “Historically Informed Teaching” at our April meeting. His question was – how do we as teachers make the music more interesting for our students? Perhaps we can tell our students that Mozart put the stems going down on what we would consider to be the “wrong” side in his music? Or that Clementi made his own piano? That Bach did not memorize? For our students with the somewhat unreadable pages in their theory books, perhaps they would be encouraged to know that Beethoven’s handwriting was so difficult to read that the publisher would often make mistakes in printing it, which of course made him furious! A fact for our students who don’t want to practice could be that Brahms was just like them; his sister Clara would sit beside him to make him practice. These and so many more anecdotes and historical contexts made for an hour and a half that flew by. We thank Michael for sharing!

Michael Rivers has been a member of the faculty at Lawrence Community Music School since 1999. A native of Geneva, Illinois, he received his Bachelor of Music in piano performance from DePaul University and his Masters in Music in piano performance and pedagogy from Northwestern University. He is an accompanist for the studio of Joanne Bozeman at Lawrence Conservatory of Music and is a member of WMTA. He lives in Appleton with his wife and three cats.