Category Archives: Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California

Two side-by-side approaches to Schubert and ONE wins a prize

The BACKDROP Over in Fairbanks, Alaska the awards ceremony that capped a prolonged Internet channeled e-competition was dragged out mercilessly. Every sponsor under the sun had to be acknowledged, including Yamaha International that put its Disklavier center stage, UP-staging the … Continue reading

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Piano Technique: Contrary motion scales without side-to-side head tracking

Most piano students insist on playing contrary motion scales like they’re watching a tennis match: heads rolling to either side of the net with well orchestrated rows of synched sports aficionados. When applied to the piano, however, this capo paced … Continue reading

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A Day in the Life of a Traveling Piano Teacher (Videos)

I take a once a week journey to Rockridge where I teach a private piano student. The 51B bus that I catch in Downtown Berkeley following my gym workout, travels along College Avenue, crossing into Oakland, California. Destination: a lovely … Continue reading

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Piano Study: Voice parceled learning takes patience but it’s worth the effort

I always tell my adult students to spot practice where they have troublesome measures, and to take the time to voice pieces in detail. In Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata middle movement, Allegretto, the composer has created a chamber music effect—not an … Continue reading

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This Week’s Favorite You Tubes!

My first selection is a Juilliard graduation commencement address that’s both grounded and inspiring. Joyce Di Donato, mezzo soprano, having received her honorary Doctorate resonates at the podium with wisdom and a touch humor–definitely worth sharing with a universe of … Continue reading

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Chopin and his love of opera

Don’t be deceived by the title of a you tube produced documentary that was perhaps devised to draw a wider audience of viewers. Chopin and the Women Behind his Music explores in depth, the composer’s tie to the opera, and … Continue reading

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The SINGING ingredient of phrasing

When I studied piano in New York City with Lillian Lefkofsky Freundlich, she always sang over my playing as well as her own. Her habitual voice-overs that lingered for years and seeped into the depths of my musical consciousness, gave … Continue reading

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A Peak teaching and learning experience!

Piano teachers may complain about students who hardly practice, or come to lessons with a truckload of excuses, but the times we savor are when everything seems to click. Tonight, I had a lesson with an adult student who announced … Continue reading

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Celebrating Mozart’s Birthday with his music

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Piano Technique: Arpeggios!

I love these romps through broken chords (around the CIRCLE of FIFTHS) and my adult students “work out” weekly. (The challenge is to have smooth shifts between octaves, a seamless playing in legato minus thumb CLUNKS, and in staccato to … Continue reading

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