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November 20, 2020: Bonnie Kellert

“Challenges in Young Pianists (including pedal!)”

Challenges For Young Pianists includes developing and achieving technical ability as well as understanding and acquiring musicianship.  Each student requires special attention to individual needs and challenges.   Encourage cultivation of students’ strengths by promoting proper practice habits, laying a strong foundation in all aspects of music and keeping special needs in mind when selecting repertoire.  Demonstrate for your students and share listening time with them; Focus on musicianship, including interpretation, phrasing, listening skills, pedaling, tone control, stylistic differences;  Guide students to build a solid technical foundation geared toward proper posture, strong fingers, appropriate hand and finger position (including a reliable bridge), flexible wrists and relaxed arms.  Help students develop a wide dynamic palette, facility, ease of playing and so forth.  Demonstrate basic technique such as sound production, articulation, evenly played scales & accuracy.  Examine, distinguish and determine each technical challenge before approaching and discovering solutions. Set effective goals and clear solutions to motivate students.   Demonstrate HOW and WHAT to practice.  Select appropriate repertoire for each student so that established objectives can be accomplished without frustration or tears.   Encourage analysis and memorizing, performing for others, sight reading and duet playing.   Introduce pedaling to expand expression and color.  The pedal is the “soul of the piano.”  Have students write essays about the composer, the type of piece they’re learning, comparing “periods” of composition, styles, etc. so they continue to develop their listening skills.  Above all, students should have fun exploring repertoire, composers and music history,  and teachers should have fun sharing all aspects of music with their students!

 

Bonnie Kellert is in constant demand as a performer, teacher, lecturer and Master Class presenter.  Her numerous D.C. solo recitals include the National Gallery of Art, Phillips Collection, Cosmos Club, Textile Museum, Lyceum, and abroad in Sweden and Thailand.  Kellert’s performances have elicited these comments: “All her playing is imbued with unpretentious, unspoiled musicality”… ”a musician who has command of the keyboard, a brilliant mentality and a dramatic flair balanced by sensitive insight…”  

 Kellert has given Master Classes at the Shanghai Conservatory in Mainland, China, McDaniel College, Levine School of Music, and for various music teacher organizations.  Her lecture recital series have taken her to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, North Carolina, Tennessee, and throughout Maryland and Virginia.  She has given presentations for MSMTA and VMTA Conventions and the Piano Pedagogy Conference.

Awarded a full scholarship at Peabody Conservatory of Music, Kellert studied with internationally acclaimed pianist, Leon Fleisher earning her BM and MM Degrees in Performance and was presented the Alexander Sklarevksi Award at graduation ceremonies.  She is the recipient of many 1st prize awards, including the Washington International Competition for Pianists and the Jordan Piano Award.

 Kellert is a past-president of the Washington Music Teachers Association and Montgomery County MTA.  Her articles have been published in Keyboard Companion and the Pedagogy Forum.  She served on the faculty of Levine School of Music for 22 years and presently mentors teachers and maintains a private studio in her home for serious students.  She was Steinway’s “Teacher of the year” in 2016.   Bonnie’s website is bonniekellert.com.