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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.

Catherine Kautsky presents “Music in Context”

February 7th, 2020

The Forum was fortunate to have another outstanding and lively presentation by Catherine Kautsky from Lawrence University at our February meeting.

Catherine describes this topic the following way:

“Placing music into it’s historical and artistic context can make it come alive in new ways and help it to reach students who may respond more easily to visual images or the written word than to the composer they’re encountering for the first time at the piano. Any music can be placed into context, but some pieces lend themselves more easily than others.” As she discussed, two very literary composers were Schumann and Debussy.

All Star and Baroque Festival November 2019

The Forum and our students have completed another challenging and impressive Festival day. This year was a test on a joint All Star and Baroque event, both held on November 16th. The results and feedback will be discussed by the Festival Committee and the other Forum members before deciding if this will be our new format. There were 13 teachers participating, with 65 students in Baroque, and 60 in All Star.

Thank you students, for your hard work and dedication!