Category Archives: arpeggios

Piano Technique: Scoop it up, loop around 4-note Arpeggios (in inversions)

These particular arpeggios in 4-note sequences are some of my favorite warm-up routines. Although most students find them tricky to navigate, certain “cues” planted in the psyche assist a smoother ride. The video demonstration below lays out preliminary blocking techniques … Continue reading

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Piano Technique: Playing beyond the fingers to sculpt beautiful phrases (Debussy Arabesque no. 1)

Many piano students who practice Debussy’s Arabesque no. 1 tend to grab and articulate notes, rather than let them flow from energy streaming down relaxed arms into supple wrists. Reliance on fingers-down playing becomes the panacea for accuracy, while it … Continue reading

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Tutorial: Shared ideas about practicing J.S. Bach Invention 13 in A minor (BWV 784) Videos

As I observed an 11-year old student work on this Invention at lessons, I came up with some ideas to improve the performance landscape. These included an awareness of the dualism of rolling arpeggiated 16ths and detached 8th notes in … Continue reading

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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

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The Complete Piano Work-out in 3 parts (Videos)

Most of my late intermediate and advanced students know the routine at lessons. The first twenty minutes are spent warming up in the Key they’ve been assigned the previous week. Once seated at the piano, they’re ready for a challenging … Continue reading

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Piano Technique: Rolling out a four-note E minor arpeggio in all inversions (using a supple wrist and relaxed arm)-Video

The key to achieving fluidity in playing these arpeggios, is having a relaxed arm and supple, “spongy” wrist. The wrist, I would add is a SPRING, or shock absorber. If you freeze your wrist, you might as well play the … Continue reading

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How long should a piano student stay with a piece?

As a teacher, I’ve often pondered this question, concluding that there are varying answers which depend on the advancement and motivation of individual students. Certainly no fixed formula addresses the length of time a pupil needs to fully realize his … Continue reading

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Piano Technique: Thumb Shifts in Playing Scales and Arpeggios (Video)

The great pianist, Josef Hofmann, imparted words of wisdom when he answered the following question posed by a student that related to the thumb and piano technique: “What is the matter with my scales? I cannot play them without a … Continue reading

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Teaching Chopin’s Gb Etude, Op. 25 no. 9: Think pogo sticks, “rollaleedles,” and elbow revolutions

Sometimes a piano teacher has no choice but to talk in silly made up syllables while drawing on playground analogies to get a particular piece off the ground. The Chopin Etude Op. 25 no. 9 in Gb was no exception. … Continue reading

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Piano Instruction: A Slow Practice Approach to the Schubert Impromptu Op. 90, no.2 in Eb Flat Major (Video)

In Tempo reading: Slow practice build-up approach: This Romantic era Impromptu will always benefit from the type of slow practicing that permits careful shaping of phrases, attention to dynamics and other nuances. In the video, I magnify the contours of … Continue reading

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