Monthly Archives: August 2011

Stimulating the imagination: choosing piano repertoire that embraces childhood themes (Video)

I was awakened this morning to an inspired Facebook post that featured a six-year old captivated by a delightful piece that amounted to a “playground” of light-hearted chords with engaging harmonies. The piano teacher, Irina Gorin played snippets of Samuel … Continue reading

Posted in "In the Garden" by Samuel Maykapar, Bartok, Bartok pieces for Children, Burgmuller, Children's pieces, Irina Gorin, Kabalevsky, Kabalevsky Op. 39 Children's pieces, Kinderszenen, MTAC, music and heart, music teachers association of california, musical inspiration, phrasing at the piano, pianist, piano instruction, piano instructor, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano practicing, piano practicing motivators, piano repertoire, piano teacher, piano teaching, piano teaching repertoire, piano technique, Piano World, pianoaddict.com, Pianostreet.com, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, playing piano, Prokofiev, Robert Schumann, Samuel Maykapar, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, studying piano, Tchaikovsky, Teach Street, teaching piano, teaching piano to children, Tschaikovsky, Tschaikovsky Album for the Young, William Gillock, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rolling arm movements and videotaped slow motion replay of Chopin’s Waltz in C# minor, piu mosso section

I demonstrate a swing or roll of the arms to realize the circular flow of the piu mosso section of Chopin’s Waltz in C# minor, Op. 64, no 2. At the end, I add slow motion frames. Needless to say … Continue reading

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At the piano: Exploring the Chopin Waltz in C# minor, Op. 64 No. 2 (Video)

I finally sat down at “Haddy” (my Haddorff piano that sings like a nightingale) and spun out a few ideas about the Waltz in C# minor. A slow motion journey through the composition underscored the suspensions and harmonic rhythm on … Continue reading

Posted in blog, blogger, blogging, Chopin, Chopin Waltz, Chopin Waltz in c# minor Op. 64 no.2, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, whole body listening, whole body music listening, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Piano Lessons: After a long summer break, where to begin? (Videos)

The first lesson with a student who took the whole summer off for one reason or another is a challenge. I repeatedly ask myself should we pick up where we left off and drag out the last sonatina that became … Continue reading

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Thoughts about teaching a 4-year old with an innovative approach (Tales of a Musical Journey)

I would never have entertained the idea of teaching a 4-year old child. Over the years I had adhered to a rigid age boundary when accepting new piano students. Seven was the magic number. When an opportunity arose to sample … Continue reading

Posted in "Tales of a Musical Journey", "Tales of a Musical Journey" by Irina Gorin, blog, blogger, blogging, Children's pieces, classissima, classissima.com, creative learning environment, ear training, piano lesson, piano lessons, Piano Street, piano student, piano teacher, piano teaching, piano teaching repertoire, pianoaddict.com, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, playing piano, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, slow mindful practicing, slow piano practicing, talkclassical.com, Teach Street, teaching piano, teaching piano to children, word press, wordpress.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Piano Lesson: Shaping scales and arpeggios with syllables and tempo prompts (Video)

In this video segment, a 10-year old student warmed up with 3 forms of the D minor scale played in contrary motion in 16ths followed by 32nds. Syllable prompts helped shape these and kept them rhythmically framed. (Tempo variations were … Continue reading

Posted in arpeggios, d minor scale, Piano Street, piano student, piano teacher, piano teaching, piano teaching repertoire, piano technique, pianoaddict.com, playing piano, scales, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Metronome, a blessing or curse?

My original opinion on this topic was unequivocal. I would never use a metronome under any circumstances in my teaching except to consult for overall tempo. The expression, to be “ticked off” summed up my attitude toward the robotic beat … Continue reading

Posted in metronome, mind body connection, mindful piano practicing, music and heart, musical phrasing, phrasing at the piano, piano instruction, piano instructor, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano playing and relaxation, piano student, piano teacher, piano teaching, piano teaching repertoire, piano warm-ups, pianoaddict.com, Pianostreet.com, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, playing piano, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, studying piano, teaching piano to children, word press, wordpress.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Highlights of Rina’s fourth piano lesson, 8/25/11: Learning about Rhythm and tapping C’s and Ds to Marches (Videos in three parts)

Rina reached a learning landmark last week when she located “little houses” with two black key roofs across the keyboard. Irina Gorin, in her book, “Tales of a Musical Journey” cleverly marks out seven “neighborhoods” (aka “octaves”) that encompass small, … Continue reading

Posted in "Tales of a Musical Journey" by Irina Gorin, Irina Gorin, piano instruction, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano playing and relaxation, piano teaching, Piano World, pianoaddict.com, playing piano, Prokofief "March", Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Tchaikovsky, teaching piano to children, whole body listening, whole body music listening, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The nitty gritty reasons why piano students drop out: Two staunchly different opinions

The current rage on the Internet surrounds a Facebook posting that claims a 95% dropout rate among piano students. The nitty gritty reasons cited by the poster are contained in what I view as a tirade against what he terms … Continue reading

Posted in Facebook, philosophy of eduction, pianist, piano, piano drop-outs, piano instructor, piano lesson, piano lesson dropouts, piano lessons, piano lessons and parental support, piano pedagogy, piano practicing, piano scales, piano student, piano students who drop out, piano teacher, piano teaching, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, summer piano lessons, summer piano study, talkclassical.com, teaching piano, teaching piano scales, teaching piano to children, teaching piano to teenagers, word press, wordpress.com | 7 Comments

A Toy Piano? Who would have thought….. (Video)

A toy piano played to perfection? Who would have dreamed that a full grown woman sitting cross-legged on a soft cushion in front of a TOY grand would give a virtuoso performance? Perhaps a three-year old tinkering with its tiny … Continue reading

Posted in classissima.com, John Cage, Phyllis Chen, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Teach Street, toy pianos, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment