September 2020 MTNA e-Journal

Conventional Piano Keyboard vs. Alternatively-Sized Piano Keyboards: A Case Study of Hand Span and Advanced Repertoire
By Kyu Butlerk, NCTM

Because of the “one-size-fits-all” nature of piano keyboards, pianists with smaller hand spans that do not comfortably fit a piece’s requirements have few options aside from not playing those pieces or omit-ting notes. Also, practicing octaves and chords can cause significant overuse and repetitive strain injury, especially when the student pianist has a small hand span. Measuring students’ hands or body to fit their instrument is popular with string players, but it is rare for pianists. Studies have demonstrated that a large percentage of pianist’s injures are the result of practicing large chords and octave passages, caused by the hyperabduction of both the thumb and the 5th finger. The selection of a proper repertoire to fit for small-handed pianists and understanding of alternatively sized piano keyboards have the potential to reduce risk of injuries. The author provides charts of the largest interval distances in selected advanced-level piano repertoire and the hand span requirements. A case study comparing students’ abilities to play those intervals on a standard keyboard, a DS 6.0 and DS 5.5 is discussed. [Read More]

Navigating Tenure as a 21st-Century Musician: How Do Pianists Attain a Successful Outcome?
By Margaret Young, NCTM, and Johan Botes, NCTM

Given the competitive job market for tenure-track positions for pianists in higher education, the aim of this project is to discover current professional’s paths to a successful tenure outcome. Piano faculty at NASM-accredited institutions were invited to complete an online questionnaire regarding their training and current position. Partici-pants (n =71) indicated that their tenure process included various teaching, research/creative and service responsibilities. Their teaching was largely based in applied piano study or piano courses, and their graduate training reflected that focus. Most participants played recitals and served on committees to fulfill the other required areas of their tenure procedure. Participants indicated the need for breadth in addition to developing a specialization. Interpersonal relationships, under-standing of institutional politics, and developing entrepreneurial skills were also important aspects of sustaining their position. [Read More]

Poster Sessions

By Hannah Fisher [View]

Preventing Fatigue in the Practice Room
By Mimi Zhang [View]