Category Archives: Shirley Smith Kirsten

Piano Technique: Studying/Mapping out the F# minor scale and arpeggio (Video)

Exploring the two octave model is a good start with a separate hand approach to clarify fingering. I prefer making an adjustment for the opening F#, G#, A in the Right Hand (2, 3, 1) instead of 3, 4, 1 … Continue reading

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Sequences and Phrase contouring in J. S. Bach’s French Suite No. 5, BWV 816

An adult student and I explored sequences in the Allemande opener of Bach’s French Suite in G as we parceled out the treble and bass lines. (Still another voice that danced from the alto to tenor range, was separately identified … Continue reading

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From Chemo to Carnegie Hall, a Local Pianist makes her New York Debut

This is a heart-wrenching story that reads like a movie script. A gifted musician in the throes of her teaching career is stricken with cancer, endures bouts of energy-draining chemotherapy, but clings to the piano as her lifeline. In the … Continue reading

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Going into the Finals at the Alaska International Piano-E-Competition, and thoughts about COMPETING

Neither memory lapses nor occasional note slip-ups impeded any of the five selected Piano Finalists from forging ahead to the Chamber Music and Concerto Rounds of the Alaska-based E-Competition. My two particular favorites, Marianna Prjevalskaya and Alexey Chernov honored Schubert … Continue reading

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Seymour Bernstein: From Maine with Love

When Seymour packs his bags for the summer, escaping Manhattan’s stifling heat, he takes along his soulful music and fistfuls of almonds. The maestro, known for his beloved book, With Your Own Two Hands retreats to an awesome, cabin-like sanctuary … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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Piano Technique: A styled staccato with a dipping wrist

I find that adding supple wrist dips to staccato within any dynamic range helps to style and shape lines, phrases, etc. Here’s it’s first executed within a scale framework. A cat cameo appearance is the opener. Now a sample of … Continue reading

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