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Molly Stier > Study With

Every student who studies with me at the Cherry Valley Music Studio receives a well-rounded musical training, including these core elements: technical exercises, etudes, musicianship, music theory, sight reading and repertoire.


Technical Exercises

These are exercises designed to form the ideal hand position and develop the muscles necessary for playing the piano efficiently and effectively. Many of the exercises are based upon the teachings of the famous Viennese pedagogue, Theodore Leschetitzky. They may require what might seem like unusual arm motions and repetitive patterns or key playing. Aside from Leschetitzky, you may hear these composers, among others: Schmitt, Hanon, Dohnanyi, Brahms, Philipp, Pace, Burnam.



Etudes are studies designed to reinforce technical challenges in a musical way; by presenting a piece of music with obstacles to overcome. Berens, Bertini, Burgmuller, and Czerny are good examples of composers of etudes. (Chopin, Liszt and Debussy etudes are for the much more advanced student.)



The practice of scales and chords is like gaining a workable vocabulary. First you learn the alphabet, then you put the letters together to form words, then phrases, then sentences, then paragraphs, chapters and complete books. Communication is the goal. A student who is knowledgeable of musical keys (major and minor, etc.); and proficient in the playing of the scales, chords, inversions, cadences and arpeggios will find learning music much easier and fulfilling than a student who has little or no knowledge or proficiency.



This is what all the hard work is about! The core concepts described above all support the learning and performing of music. With the proper musical basis we can play classical, rag time, jazz, show tunes, popular selections, songs, chamber music, even concertos.


Sight Reading

Being a good sight reader means being able to grasp the general idea of a piece of music immediately, or in a very short time. Most of the notes played are correct, rhythms are good, beat is steady. It is a skill many are gifted with, but also a skill that can be learned and strengthened.


Music Theory

The study of music theory involves learning how music works through written exercises which also support concepts learned at the instrument. It is an essential reinforcing tool.


Music History

The music and lives of the great composers are woven into the weekly lesson. Special units are also designed for more advanced students.