Category Archives: classical music

Celebrating Beethoven’s Birthday!

Albeit a day later, the composer’s music is worth our adulation. Since words cannot amply express the beauty of Beethoven’s outpourings, I’ve selected a favorite movement that speaks volumes about his genius:

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Ear Training and Transposing are intrinsic to piano lessons (examples from an Adult lesson in progress)

It’s not easy to plan a one hour piano lesson to include ear training, solfege and transposing. (They belong together, bundled with Theory, and enrich the learning environment) At the Oberlin Conservatory, Theory, Keyboard Harmony, and Eurhythmics were taught separately. … Continue reading

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One of the most beautiful slow movements ever composed for piano? (and a journey down memory lane)

I’m going to vote for the Adagio Cantabile from Beethoven’s Sonata “Pathetique” in C minor, Op. 13. It’s grown on me ever since I was seduced by the opener to Karl Haas’s weekly broadcasts on F.M. radio. (“Adventures in Good … Continue reading

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Heart Attacks and Haydn!

I couldn’t help but chuckle at a stream of advertising overlapping my Haydn D Major, Hoboken XVI 37 Sonata: “FOUR SIGNS OF A HEART ATTACK” The Google ad, as it ran, uncannily tracked KILLER passages in this composition that would … Continue reading

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The pianist as conductor, choreographer, and singer (Mozart Andante, Sonata in C Major, K. 545)

How to integrate the physical, emotional and singable when learning Mozart’s Sonata in C Major, K. 545, Andante. Continue reading

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Quality spot-practicing by an adult student: Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” (Video)

Marie, a motivated adult student, revisited piano studies after a decades-long hiatus. When she resumed lessons about 6 years ago, she made “Fur Elise” her goal-setting piece. Following long-term scale and arpeggio exposure accompanied by a detailed focus on minuets, … Continue reading

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Piano Instruction: Part FIVE, Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata, Op. 31 no. 2 Measures 93 to 158 (Development, Recitative, submerged pedal)

This is a hauntingly beautiful section of the first movement. After the composer has devoted so many preceding measures to the key of A minor, he decides to travel at quick intervals through a series of different keys. Such fast-paced … Continue reading

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Piano Instruction: Part TWO, Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata, Op. 31, No. 2, Hand Cross-over, with tremolo in the middle voice

A tricky chromatic scale with a turn-around at its end ushers in a stormy, impassioned section with cross-over hands. Some players observe the notation to a tee, and avoid these hand-over-hand maneuvers, but I, like many other pianists do the … Continue reading

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Practicing tips for Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata, Op. 31 No. 2, Part ONE: (Video)

Because I found myself rambling on and on about the first page, I decided to compartmentalize the instruction to make it easier to absorb. And since I played the “Tempest” years ago, the surest route to my restoring the piece … Continue reading

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Piano Instruction: How to practice Variation 2, Mozart Sonata No. 11 in A, K. 331 (Videos)

The biggest challenge in this particular variation is the fast-paced tempo and ornament execution–not to mention the fleeting 4 against 3 relationship of treble 32nds above 16ths in the bass. But the latter, should not be a big concern considering … Continue reading

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