Tag Archives: Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to Calfornia

An adult beginning piano student helps to shape his musical journey

When a newbie knocks on my door, not knowing how to read music, but is starving for a connection to the great “Classical” piano masterworks, I have to figure out a way to engage his interest in the earliest phase … Continue reading

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Staccato scales: Staying on the PLANE without a bumpy ride

Most students become very disconnected when traveling through a staccato scale so their journey from lift-off to landing is often bumpy. In the E minor Natural form, for example, a redundant E, F# occurring in every octave will fool a … Continue reading

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Piano Technique: Spot checking for relaxed arms, wrists, and hands (Video)

I think of a whole arm/wrist/hand continuum when playing the piano, and I urge students to alleviate tension anywhere in the spectrum by lifting arms off the keys with a feeling of buoyancy. In this gesture a pupil can monitor … Continue reading

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Awe-inspiring playing at the Alaska International Piano-E-Competition

This is the first Internet channeled “e-competition” that features a crop of well-trained adult pianists. The preceding Yamaha Disklavier sponsored events were youth based and originated in the Midwest–(Minnesota to be exact) With current Disklavier technology flying high, the newest … 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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Piano Technique: Wrist flexibility and relaxed arms

Livia Rev, Hungarian born pianist, who’s 98, demonstrates in her playing how flexible wrists and relaxed arms spin beautiful phrases in legato and staccato. In a romp through Czerny studies, we observe her conspicuous, elastic wrist motions. In a separate … Continue reading

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Adult Piano Instruction: Sight-reading, Solfeggio, and Transposition

I reserve the last 10-15 minutes of my lessons with a few adult students for sight-reading, sight-singing with solfeggio, and transposition activity. While I begin with short pieces in five-finger positions, the requirement to transpose these in a Circle of … Continue reading

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Exploring a Chopin Nocturne with a theoretical awareness

This week I mass-emailed a note to my brood about the need to take a reputable theory course side-by-side with private piano lessons. Because the teaching hour is packed with technique, new repertoire, review, memorization, a need to deepen knowledge … Continue reading

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Playing the piano like a singer

The J.C. Bach Prelude in A minor begs for a fluid “singing” tone through its progression of rolled out broken chords that have a melodic thread fleshed out by finger 5. Rounding out these uppermost destination notes is a challenge … 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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