Piano Inspires Kids: An Interview with Co-Editors-in-Chief Andrea McAlister and Sara Ernst

The Co-Editors-in-Chief of Piano Inspires Kids, Andrea McAlister and Sara Ernst, recently answered some questions about the new magazine for young pianists ages 8-14. Find out more about the magazine below and go to kids.pianoinspires.com to join our community of inspired music makers!

Why did you start a kids magazine?

Piano Inspires Kids is a print publication designed for today’s students. There are young pianists all around the world, and we want to help them discover the amazing community of musicians that share a love of the piano. Readers will find unique, engaging materials, musical ideas from other students, and opportunities to submit their own content. It’s important for students to see themselves and their peers represented in this magazine, as we build a global community of young music makers. 

What is in each issue of Piano Inspires Kids?

Through each quarterly issue, readers explore piano playing, composers, music from around the world, and music theory. The format is engaging and varied with listening guides, interviews, student submissions, music in the news, and games. The magazine includes an array of musical styles and genres, both from the past and present day. In addition, creative skills like improvisation, playing by ear, and composition are explored in step-by-step processes. Young pianists are directed to curated online content to deepen their engagement with the piano community. Each issue contains QR codes for videos of the music explored in each issue performed by top pianists. Students are given multiple ways to directly engage with Piano Inspires Kids, by submitting their own ideas at kids.pianoinspires.com by answering the poll, sharing their achievements, creating their own music video to share, and more.

Who is the best person to purchase Piano Inspires Kids for a young pianist? Their teacher? Their parents?


Teachers will find content and curricular ideas to enrich their teaching and engage students through the many listening activities, games, theory pages, and practice ideas for both private and group study. Discounts are available for purchases of five or more copies to allow students to participate fully in the writing activities and to have their own personal copy to explore at home. 

As parents ourselves, we know how valuable it is to engage children with creative, well-researched print materials. So much of their schooling is computer-based, and we appreciate when our children have access to high-quality, engaging print publications. It’s the perfect gift to give to your children – or your grandchildren! 

Learn more at kids.pianoinspires.com/subscribe.

Issue 1, Autumn 2023

What’s the best way for teachers to use Piano Inspires Kids?

Each page of Piano Inspires Kids offers curricular ideas that teachers can immediately apply to their lessons. The “How-To” page will give ideas that are readily applicable to studios, listening guides and QR codes can be used in private or group lessons to dig more deeply into music, and quizzes are fun ways to challenge your students’ reading and listening skills. From the historical background to the exploration of music theory, each issue contains myriad ways to engage students. 

The whole studio can participate in the student submissions! Our students have been excited to submit their ideas on our website, kids.pianoinspires.com. They can’t wait for the next issue to come out to read about what other students are playing, their thoughts on music, and how they are engaging with music in their studios and communities. Your student may end up on a page of Piano Inspires Kids!

What kinds of opportunities are available to young pianists who read Piano Inspires Kids?

Piano Inspires Kids has a number of opportunities for students to submit their ideas, videos, compositions, artwork, poems, and more. Regular features in the magazine include the Reader Poll, Piano Inspires You, Student Spotlight, and Questions and Answers. We also have a Piano Inspires Artistry video series that will showcase the favorite pieces of students from around the world! Have your students share with young pianists around the world. Go to kids.pianoinspires.com/submit/ for more information.

What would you say to a teacher who feels like they already have too much to fit in lessons? Why should they add Piano Inspires Kids to their teaching toolbox?

We know how difficult it is to incorporate everything into a weekly lesson! Piano Inspires Kids is the perfect home assignment to learn more about composers, genres, and styles that you don’t have time to discuss in the lesson. It can also be a ready-made curriculum for partner lessons, theory classes, and group experiences. For each issue, teachers are also provided further resources to deepen their own learning and to assist in lesson planning. Explore these at kids.pianoinspires.com/for-teachers

Is Piano Inspires Kids connected in any way to Piano Explorer?

Piano Inspires Kids is a brand new publication of the Frances Clark Center! The former children’s piano magazine Piano Explorer was published by The Instrumentalist and was known and loved by students and teachers. We know that many teachers and students were disappointed when they stopped publishing the magazine, and we hope that Piano Inspires Kids will bring discovery, exploration, and joy to your music making!

Join us on October 11, 2023 at 11:00 AM EDT for a webinar dedicated to Piano Inspires Kids, to learn more about this exciting new publication. https://pianoinspires.com/webinar/10-11-23-webinar/.

piano inspires logo, black with colored stripes in the tail of the piano