The right chemistry between piano teacher and student

If ever I’ve seen and heard a full-blown affinity between a mentor and pupil, it’s conspicuously revealed in these two performances that are a harmonious blend of beautiful phrasing and fluid motions. And as the saying goes, “The fruit doesn’t fall far from the (learning) tree.”

The student, Daniel Mori, has been studying with Irina Morozova at the Special Music School/Kaufman Center in Manhattan since Kindergarten and now in fifth grade, he continues to grow and musically blossom.

To add to his accomplishments, he’s collected an assortment of competition honors that make his teacher and parents especially proud.

Such a well-matched mentor/student pairing is without doubt, a large part of Daniel’s growth.

But for a deeper understanding of Morozova’s approach to his studies, I’ve extracted a portion of my interview with her that took place in the Spring, 2012.

Q: One of your very young pupils displays unusual talent and musicianship. 
Can you share how you approached his studies from the very beginning of 
lessons with regard to technique and repertoire? And how has he 
advanced along? 

“Daniel Mori, a 9-year-old student of mine, is just one of several excellent and promising students I teach. Although he is small and immature (even for his age), he nonetheless demonstrates a rare musical talent, a remarkable devotion to his piano studies, and incredible patience.

“I approached teaching Daniel about the same way I would approach teaching any other student.

“In the early stages I usually pursue three areas simultaneously: developing musical expression and imagination, reading notes, and laying the technical foundation. (We call it “building the house from bricks,” where the bricks are various technical formulas).

“We played very simple pieces, many of them duets (kids enjoy them as they sound like “real” music with a few notes in the student’s part). Daniel sailed through many of these easier pieces and I never wanted to skip important stages. Studying works of diverse musical styles, learning musical “vocabulary” of different composers and times has been an important goal from the very beginning. 
While not giving him “mechanical” technical exercises, I’ve introduced different types of technique, carefully choosing pieces and etudes.

“He started playing as a K-student and is currently in the 4th grade. His repertoire progressed from Mozart’s Variations on the “Magic Flute” and “In the Fields” by Gliere, to a Sonata by Cimarosa and the A Minor Invention by Bach, to Debussy’s “Le Petit Negro” and Chopin’s G Minor Polonaise, to the first movements of the F Minor Concerto by Bach and Mozart’s Sonata, K.545, to his current program, which includes two movements from Partita #1 by Bach, the first movement of Haydn’s Sonata XVI:45, and Chopin’s Nocturne in C# Minor. This list does not include many other pieces and etudes by Czerny, Berens, Loeschhorn, and Bertini that he studied.”

(*UPDATE: Currently a fifth-grader, Daniel is expanding his repertoire and accruing awards.)

Here’s an offering in the contemporary genre:


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Birthday Blogomania! Three pianists + 1 adult student intersect on April 19th

To my amazement, I celebrated these three musician luminaries in separate blogs over a period of years. So honoring them once again on their common birthday is a joyful undertaking.

Adding a fourth celebrant to the mix, I’ve given a glowing spotlight to Marie, my adult student of longstanding.


Favorite you tube posting for performance and teaching value


YEVGENI SUDBIN (who studied with Murray Perahia)

Favorite You Tube:

Domenico Scarlatti Sonata in F minor



Favorite You Tube



Marie and Aiden

Favorite You Tube
(Collaborative student/teacher phrasing and breathing)


Shrinking Degrees of Separation in the Music World

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Art, Photography, and Music in perfect harmony

Julie Orchard, an intensely dedicated piano student, presented a glass multimedia mosaic at the Subterranean Arthouse last night that blended well with Domenico Scarlatti’s music.

In the same spirit, the composer’s Sonata in D minor complemented the splendor of Berkeley’s springtime foliage.


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An Adult Piano Student and Stained Glass Artist has a dual passion

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It’s a small world in many ways. Julie Orchard became a piano student of mine through my next door neighbor, Art, who happens to own the Bottle Shop across the street. But degrees of separation melted further when I discovered that Julie’s mother studied piano in Fresno with my former teacher, Ena Bronstein. In fact, I received a lengthy e-mail from mom letting me know that she had been following my blog, not realizing that Julie was taking lessons from me. Naturally, a journey down memory lane followed and we were both hoping to meet each other in person to continue the conversation.

Well, the opportunity will arise on Friday, April 18th in Berkeley, California when daughter, Julie will present a “Glass Multimedia Mosaic” at the Subterranean Art House, 2179 Bancroft Way (between Shattuck and Oxford) from 7 to 9 p.m.

She’ll be showcasing her stained glass art, partnering with colleague, Christine Morlock.

Julie has a dual love for piano and her medium, glass.

As a music student, whose first exposure to the keyboard was via her mom, Julie practices assiduously, and has taken on some of the most challenging works in the literature. Right now she’s studying Schubert’s Impromptu in Eb, Op. 90, and the Chopin Nocturne in C# minor, No. 20, Op. Posthumous.,

Her studiousness is all-embracing. During our interview, she directed me to her phonograph player and a disk of a much younger Paul Badura-Skoda rendering the Eb Schubert Impromptu with impeccable phrasing and fluidity. Immediately, she inquired when she would play the opening section as fast as the maestro and if I had any suggestions for her.

It’s that drive to achieve and grow that makes Julie a special joy to work with. And the same applies to her art.

She manages a Stained Glass shop on upscale 4th Street in Berkeley, teaches classes, and plies her trade, preparing for exhibits.

In this short, but inspiring interview, Julie shares her passion and excitement about the special upcoming event, and sandwiches in a bit of piano playing to my perfect delight.


At the event on April 18th

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From Perugia with love: Pianist, Ilana Vered hosts an enticing summer music fest

Perugia Music Fest

I stumbled upon Ilana Vered’s dazzlingly performance of two Moskowzski Etudes in a televised Steinway anniversary tribute hosted by Van Cliburn. It was during this celebration that Murray Perahia, my Performing Arts High classmate, rendered Chopin from the basement of Steinway Hall on W. 57th. As it played out that afternoon and evening, great artistry rose above a particular instrument or its location and soared to divine heights.

Here’s a preview of Ilana’s bio that’s greatly expanded at her website:

“Ms. Vered began playing the piano at the age of three, and later attended the Paris Conservatory where she studied with the eminent pianist Vlado Perlemuter. Born in Israel, She graduated from the Paris Conservatory at fifteen, and completed her studies at the Juilliard School in New York City under the tutorship of Rosina Lhevinne, Nadia Reisenberg, and Aube Tzerko. She made her debut as one of the first winners of the Young Concert Artists International Competition….”

Vered’s musical triumphs are well-known, and her appearances with great orchestras all over the world are a testimony to her well-celebrated artistry.


Israel born, Ilana Vered is unique and multi-talented. She paints as passionately as she plays. A vivid sampling of her artwork accompanied by her music says more than a thousand words could express.

One phrase melts into another with a singing tone that lingers through a sequence of portraits to final cadence.

But there’s more than meets the eye and ear…

Ilana Vered is an inspiring teacher and founder of a highly praised music festival based in Perugia, Italy.

As artistic director and international mentor she excels.

A snatch from her series of TIPS about piano practicing bundled in musical expression is awe-inspiring.

And the tour de force Perugia Music Fest resonates with Vered’s love for nurturing young musicians; bringing master teachers to mentor them, and providing programs that audiences relish summer after summer. (There are opportunities to audit classes with a full range of participation)

It’s a serving of love on a cultural platter that’s in the heart of a European paradise, offering music, dance and theater as enticement.


For details pertaining to the Festival and Ilana’s illustrious musical career, visit her official website:

And don’t miss the one set aside for Vered, The Painter

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4-hand piano prep and the joy of making music for two

I remember an astonishing concert that I attended at Carnegie Hall where two distinguished pianists sang like nightingales at one 9 foot grand piano. It was back in the 1970′s that I heard Paul Badura-Skoda and Jorge Demus perform the Schubert Fantasie in F minor as opener to a program featuring mostly Mozart works.

The duo recital was mesmerizing though years later I recall stumbling upon Murray Perahia and Rada Lupu playing the hauntingly beautiful Fantasie that left me spellbound with its slower opening tempo.

Recently, a music teacher colleague accepted my invitation to collaborate with her on this masterwork, though I initially shrank from the awesome task of playing the PRIMO part (The Treble–divided between the hands)

Once I became deeply entrenched in my practicing the Secondo, however, I couldn’t resist delving deeply into the Primo. And to satisfy my dual appetite to hear BOTH parts simultaneously, I recorded the first 58 measures (Secondo) on my iMac iMovie, and then clicked the PLAY button, while I recorded the Primo over the Secondo via my Sony Camcorder.

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As my journey continues, I will parcel out Primo and Secondo to final cadence.

Once fully prepped, I’ll arrange a rehearsal with my duo partner.


Murray Perahia and Rada Lupu

Second favorite Badura-Skoda and Demus (though I prefer a slower opening tempo)

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Dalcroze Eurhythmics on Display at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Dalcroze Eurhythmics was in full bloom in a lively space at the San Francisco Conservatory last Saturday. It was a refreshing morning of music and movement in perfect synthesis. Jessica Schaeffer, Alice Mosley, and Yoriko Richman led a group of educators, pianists, and other instrumentalists through imaginative rhythmic offerings that kept all participants on their toes and LISTENING attentively

According to presenters, “The Dalcroze approach to music education guides us to a deeper understanding of music – its fundamental concepts, its expressive meanings, and its deep connections to other arts and human activities – through imaginative techniques incorporating rhythmic movement, aural training, and physical, vocal and instrumental improvisation.”

More from WIKI:

“Dalcroze Eurhythmics, also known as the Dalcroze Method or simply Eurhythmics, is one of several developmental approaches including the Kodaly Method, Orff Schulwerk and Suzuki Method used to teach music education to students. Eurhythmics was developed in the early 20th century by Swiss musician and educator Émile Jaques-Dalcroze. Dalcroze Eurhythmics teaches concepts of rhythm, structure, and musical expression using movement, and is the concept for which Dalcroze is best known. It focuses on allowing the student to gain physical awareness and experience of music through training that takes place through all of the senses, particularly kinesthetic.

“Eurhythmics is one of several approaches to music education, developed by Swiss musician and educator Émile Jaques-Dalcroze in the early 20th century. The approach involves teaching concepts of rhythm, structure, and musical expression through movement. Eurhythmics often introduces a musical concept through movement before the students learn about its visual representation. This sequence translates to heightened body awareness and an association of rhythm with a physical experience for the student, reinforcing concepts kinesthetically. Eurhythmics has wide-ranging applications and benefits and can be taught to a variety of age groups. Eurhythmics classes for all ages share a common goal – to provide the music student with a solid rhythmic foundation through movement in order to enhance musical expression and understanding.”

A class with Yoriko Richman, Pre-college and Collegiate faculty (S.F. Conservatory)

My Interview with Yoriko

Collegiate Faculty, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Early Childhood Education


Yoriko Richman earned a B.A. in piano performance from the Musashino Academia in Tokyo, Japan, and studied jazz drums at the Yamaha Drum School. Upon her arrival in the United States, she received a professional performance degree in jazz piano and arranging from the Berklee College of Music. Richman’s Dalcroze Method experience is extensive: she graduated from the Dalcroze School of Music in New York, receiving a Dalcroze International License, and attended the postgraduate program at Institut Jaques-Dalcroze in Geneva, Switzerland. Her extensive teaching experience includes teacher training programs at the Dalcroze School of Music, the Maister Music School, the Microcosms Music School and The Dalcroze School in Japan. In addition, she has taught the Dalcroze method to children at Showa Academia Musicae in Japan. A former preparatory faculty member at Mannes College, Richman also teaches in the Preparatory Division at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Yoriko Richman can be contacted at 415.503.6200 x6614.

Louise Milota, pianist/teacher and former President MTAC, Alameda branch, spoke about her experiences with Dalcroze Eurhythmics

A Dalcroze class in New York City with Anne Farber


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