Piano teachers know that "Fear Factor" is more than just a television show. It can also describe the paralysis that so often impedes our students' innate creative process. Counterintuitive as it may seem, nothing is more daunting than total freedom an infinite canvas of white space can leave us as frozen as the proverbial deer in the headlights. Therein lies the root of blocked creativity: fear of the vast unknown, and a nagging suspicion that only "special" people can create. Hats off to Jeffrey Agrell and Aura Strohschein for dispelling those notions in Creative Pedagogy for Piano Teachers. The book is a smorgasbord of imaginative games -rhythmic, melodic, harmonic, aural, depictive, stylistic, technical, etc. -that provide musical parameters for activities that serve as catalysts for creativity. Any artistic soul can tell you that getting started is the hardest part. Agrell & Strohschein provide numerous clever ways to get past this psychological hurdle. Some students will require assistance from a teacher to maximize the effectiveness of the musical games. More advanced students, however, will benefit from the games with or without assistance. The sprinklings of wit and humor help convey that playing piano (or any instrument, really) is -or should be -a joy, not a chore. - Dr. Arthur Houle, Professor of Piano, Colorado Mesa University, Director of the Festival for Creative Pianists
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