How You Can Help On The Piano Education Page

 

by John M. Zeigler, Ph.D.
Rio Rancho, NM USA

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he Piano Education Page has operated as a "piano community-supported" site since its inception in 1995. What this means is that, for the overwhelming majority of that time, we have not run ads on the site, promoted products, accepted donations, or required membership to support the site financially. Server space was donated for almost 15 years by public-spirited visitors over the years. Although I have written, edited and maintained the site since 1995 as an unpaid public service (see my article, The Piano Education Page - Ten Years On, for a retrospective on the site's origins and philosophy), The Piano Education Page would not be the same without the contributions of articles, interviews and other forms of assistance by many piano educators and visitors.

The sheer size of PEP (over 1000 pages currently) means that writing, running and upgrading it regularly has become an almost overwhelming task for one person, so help is both needed and greatly appreciated. Many teachers and pianists have things to say that that others in the piano and piano education communities will find valuable. Read on to find out how you can offer your insights and knowledge to PEP's over 2 million yearly visitors. You'll reach a large, worldwide audience of people who share your interest in piano and piano teaching.

 

keyinfo.gif (1045 bytes)Like to help? Write us with your ideas and we'll talk!

 

Can I Write for PEP?

Because of its over 50 awards and honors and large readership within the piano education community, many people think that their ideas and writings might not be "good enough" for PEP. Nothing could be further from the truth. While we try not to duplicate existing articles on the site, just about any subject related to piano and/or music education is suitable, in principle, for publication on PEP. Since all content on PEP is edited prior to its appearance on the site, you don't need to be able to write deathless prose to contribute your thoughts to PEP. If you can put down your ideas in an organized fashion, that's really all that's required.

I ask that all authors for PEP contact me prior to writing for the site, so that we can avoid duplication of topics and produce the best quality articles. In your e-mail, just give me a general description of your idea for an article or for how you might want to help. We'll discuss it by e-mail and decide how to proceed from there. To learn more about how we write and handle articles for PEP, please see my article, Information for Piano Education Page Authors. Our Site Policies document provides more information for authors about matters such as copyright transfer and other site policies relevant to authoring.

How Can I Help?

PEP is such a large and varied site that almost any piano or music education-related topic can find a home on the site. Following is a list of just some of the ways in which you could help. This list certainly isn't all-inclusive, but may help give a sense of just how many ways there are to make a difference on PEP.

  • Reviews - PEP's reviews of piano and music software, teaching and method materials and music are among the most widely read and appreciated parts of the site. Our reviews must be written to specific criteria and require significant time and work to do, but are highly respected and widely read. So long as the reviewer hasn't formed a preconception of the product (including current ownership of the product) and doesn't have a bias or appearance thereof with respect to it, almost any learning material can be a subject for a review. Reviewing can be fun and satisfying and the reviewer, typically a piano teacher in a teaching studio, gets to keep the reviewed materials after the review is completed, a significant benefit. We can normally get free copies of the material for review purposes, so the reviewer need not spend money on the materials in most cases. Since the reviewer can perform most of the review in the course of teaching, the time burden is nimimal.
  • Tips for Students and Parents - We carry lots of tips on learning and performing on the piano, but our collection is, by no means, complete. These appear on two different places on the site - one set intended primarily for older kids and adults, and another on our Just for Kids page, written in a special "kid-friendly" idiom.
  • Meet the Composer - If you have an interest in composer biographies and would like to share that interest with both kids and teachers of piano, our Meet the Composer interviews are a great way to do it. The interviews are structured as time and space travel experiences, in which a group of kids get to go back in time and meet a famous composer in person. These interviews require knowledge of the composer's life and the ability to place yourself in the composer's milieu, so that you can ask questions of the composer that you can then answer in the voice of the composer - all in a fun and kid-oriented format. These interviews are a favorite of both kids and teachers, alike.
  • Teaching Studio - Although we have numerous articles for teachers in our Teaching Studio section, we would like to expand it further. If you have experiences or tips you would like to share with other teachers, this is a great place to do it. Such articles can involve tips on running a teaching studio business, help with specific teaching problems, matters of technique, or just about any other topic of interest to piano teachers.
  • Technique Matters - This mini-series of articles on PEP deals with specific aspects of teaching and learning piano technique for teachers and intermediate to advanced students. If you're a university piano professor or active performer on the piano, this series presents a wonderful opportunity to address the mechanics of playing piano with a large worldwide audience.
  • Listening Focus - With each upgrade, we choose a set of four works from our over 600 MIDI files in The Audition Room to play as background music on four pages on the site. This group of music is chosen to illustrate a musical form (fantasia, etude, etc.), highlight a particular composer's works (e.g. Chopin nocturnes), illuminate how a given form has changed over time or in the hands of various composers, show how various composers handle a given theme (e.g. falling rain), or compare how various performers interpret a famous work (e.g. Debussy's prelude, The Engulfed Cathedral). Ideally, with the right kind of musical and musicological knowledge applied to it, Listening Focus could carry useful interpretive and historical information. This is an opportunity for someone with the requisite musicological knowledge and creativity to bring their own touch to an established part of the site.
  • MIDI and MP3 files - The Audition Room, where we offer free MIDI files for listening, is one of the most visited parts of the site. We are constantly looking for MIDI and MP3 files of standard solo piano repertoire to offer free to the over 2 million people who visit the site every year. Where known, performers of MIDI sequences and MP3 files are always acknowledged on the pages. If you have such performances that you have recorded and would like to have heard by a large audience, let us know! All we need is your permission to use and offer them.
  • Reference - We have a number of reference pages, which include a musical dictionary, index of musical forms, and piano resources or various sorts. This area could benefit from expansion in a number of areas.
  • Teaching Aids - Have you devised some teaching aids that you print from your computer to use with your students? Do you have an educational presentation that you've done in a presentation graphics program that you would like to share? If so, consider donating the computer files to PEP for download by other teachers. Your work will get a large audience that can give you feedback on its utility.
  • Artist/Educator Interviews - Perhaps, you know a piano educator who has especially interesting experiences and valuable educational ideas. Perhaps, you're one yourself! We are always looking for piano educators willing to share their experiences with PEP's audience of students and teachers. You can suggest a possible interviewee to us, or even write the interview questions yourself, if you know the interviewee well. Please contact us prior to initiating the interview.
  • Translation - The Piano Education Page en Español offers parts of the English language PEP translated into idiomatic Spanish. It is widely read around the world by speakers of Spanish. PEP has become so large that we have fallen behind in keeping PEP-Español current with the English language site. If you're someone who can speak and write idiomatic Spanish well, translation for PEP-Español is a real need. We could also use help in answering e-mail from these sites.
  • Music and the Home Computer - This series of articles within PEP attempts to give the students and teachers an understanding of the ways in which one's computer can be used to enhance or provide entirely new capabilities for music learning. Computers have become so powerful and software so prevalent that there is hardly any aspect of piano or piano education that hasn't been impacted by the computer. Some topic possibilities might include composing at home, supplementing piano lessons with the computer, using the computer to help keep kids interested in lessons, etc.
  • What we've missed - Although PEP is quite comprehensive, I don't pretend that we have covered every possible topic that we could, or should, have written on. If you've read the site and identified an area that you think we should add, let us know. If you can write part of that yourself, so much the better!

Why Should I Help?

The Piano Education Page is unique on the web in many ways. Its content is original and more comprehensive than any other non-profit piano education site. It is one of a very few large educational sites on the web of any sort that doesn't use a paid staff to write, maintain and run the site. Because it is run as a public service for the piano education community, its continued survival and growth depends on the support of that community.

Articles on PEP reach a large group of like-minded people all over the globe. You won't get paid to write for PEP, any more than any of the rest of us who work on PEP do, but you'll get the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped a lot of other people all around the world. Because PEP is well-known in the piano education community and article authorship is acknowledged on the site, writing for PEP is a good way to gain some recognition within the wider piano community. If you're a pianist, student or piano educator, PEP is your site. Be a part of it!

 
 
 
 
Page created: 11/29/05
Last updated: 01/30/15
 
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Reprinting from the Piano Education Page The Piano Education Page, Op. 10, No. 1, http://pianoeducation.org
© Copyright 1995-2016 John M. Zeigler. All rights reserved.