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Several years ago, it gave me great pleasure to recommend a series of DVDs on basic to advanced pianism entitled The 3-D Piano Method. Created and presented by American-based pianist-teacher Fred Karpoff, a former student of Yoheved Kaplinsky and Leon Fleisher, it provided sensible advice that could be applied to playing at any level. Whereas many courses in piano technique fail because of poor presentation and/or overly simplistic and repetitive content, Karpoff stressed the importance of liberating the entire body and producing healthy playing that utilises the whole body.

Karpoff has now moved on from 3D piano to produce this new online piano course, which is an extremely glamorous, sophisticated and ambitiously comprehensive resource for teachers, students, accompanists, amateurs – indeed, anyone who is involved in piano playing!

So what do you get? For the basic monthly subscription of $9 there is a library of resources with excellent nugget-sized topics suitable for beginners upwards. Avoiding stiffness is clearly of paramount importance, and it is wonderful that Karpoff’s approach never overwhelms by offering too much information at one time. In the library, there is an overview page for each unit. There are clever resources whereby the score-text is also included, as well as the facility to invert a particular exercise automatically so that it can be used by the other hand. At the end of each section, the user is asked to review progress either by inputting ‘come back later’ or ‘completed’.

For $18 per month, users of Entrada gain access to all levels of videos. Also included is the masterclass library and access to the monthly webinars. Interaction with others is a fabulous way for students and teachers to feel less lonely and to immediately gain responses to issues that could otherwise have remained unresolved for long periods of time.

Clearly, the site is at an early stage: it was launched at the recent Music Teachers of North America (MTNA) conference on 22 March. But I feel that it has the potential to really make a positive difference in the lives of teachers in particular.

Rather than replacing the standard one-to-one lesson, Entrada could very easily be used in that context to enhance the messages given by teacher to student: if a teacher wants to make a big technical point in a lesson, they could firstly show the concept in the traditional way. Secondly, a viewing from Entrada could illustrate the point already made, followed by an attempt from the student to play, possibly doing a new movement on a work surface rather than at the piano. This could be followed up by the student practising at home, and then returning to the next lesson for progress to be monitored after regular checks online via Entrada to review the video initially shown in the piano lesson.

Karpoff has already been awarded the Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award for The 3-D Piano Method, and there seems every likelihood that his latest online venture will lead to further success and recognition.

MURRAY M LACHLAN Read the full review on Agora Classica

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