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

Piano Technique: A Legato to staccato arpeggio with “rolls and snips”

When playing a three-note (root, third, fifth) arpeggio over a spread of 3-4 octaves, the ROLLING motion that permeates a Legato rendering in triplets, can nicely snip into a buoyant staccato, if the arm, wrist and fingers are unimpeded by … Continue reading

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Schubert Impromptu No. 2 in Eb, Op. 90: Looping and Grouping notes

“Looping” and “grouping” provide prompts for practicing relentless triplets in the opening section of Schubert’s Eb Impromptu. Myriads of scale-like passages meander in unpredictable directions at times, often inserting half-steps under principle notes that carry a thread of melody that … Continue reading

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J.S. Bach Invention No. 13 in A minor: Early learning phase Deep Key Connection

Many piano students tiptoe through a parceled voice reading of a new composition instead of choosing a relaxed, behind tempo approach that allows a deep, dead weight COMMITTED connection into the keys. Thinking that the notes are strange and unfamiliar … Continue reading

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Adult Piano Instruction: Exploring weight transfer and supple wrist motions for improved phrase shaping

A new adult student is working on Beethoven’s Sonatina in F, one of the composer’s less played works, but nevertheless quite a musical gem. While the composition has a Mozartean flavor, the abrupt shift in dynamics in the opening theme, … Continue reading

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Piano Instruction: Allemande from J.S. Bach French Suite no. 5 in G Major

Andras Schiff, known for playing Bach “purely” without pedal, encourages piano students to indulge J.S. as actors cultivate Shakespeare. It’s our daily “bread,” he insists. Regardless of his mixed metaphor, I concur that studying the works of Johann Sebastian Bach … Continue reading

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Does practice make perfect?

WQXR F.M. (NYC based) has posted its latest set of meta-based analyses of “deliberate practice” studies. (A mouthful of confusion to begin with!) Three researchers teamed up to discount the wise old adage that “practice makes perfect.” (In their probings, … Continue reading

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An adult piano student floats a Chopin Nocturne

The E minor Nocturne Op. 72, No. 1 has a redundant flowing broken chord bass that becomes intensified through melodic climaxes. Still, the binary division of each measure, with some relief on the second half of each, preserves a relentless … Continue reading

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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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Pianist, Beth Levin weighs in on Competitions

Beth Levin is more than a pianist. She not only concertizes, records, presents symposia and teaches, but devotes quality time to arts commentary. At La Folia.com, she critiqued Schumann’s Kreisleriana in tribute to an era she embraces in her spread … 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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