Tag Archives: Shirley Smith Kirsten

Shaping a J.S. Bach Two-Part Invention

Many students play J.S. Bach’s music with a typed out, articulated approach, forgetting to shape and contour phrases. In Bach’s F Major Invention, BWV 779, the tendency is to overemphasize every element of broken chord F, A, C, F, in … Continue reading

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Ornaments, Romantic Style: Don’t be enslaved, but master them

There’s nothing more inhibiting to piano playing than being boxed in by ornaments–tied down by their inertia and lack of smooth resolution. For certain, if you’re threatened by them, or anticipate the worst possible outcome, ENTRAPMENT, then it guarantees a … Continue reading

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Pianist, Seymour Bernstein is the subject of an Ethan Hawke produced documentary

It’s about time a pianist, teacher, composer and author made it to the big screen. Seymour Bernstein is the star of a 80-minute documentary that’s drawing critical acclaim in early Festival showings. On the East Coast, Seymour: An Introduction is … Continue reading

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Performance Anxiety and Pressure Relievers

The symposia at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute brought three top flight performers together to share thoughts about performance-related issues. Leon Fleisher, Yo Yo Ma, and Pamela Frank, all fine musicians in their own instrumental cosmos, agreed that the Ego … Continue reading

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What happened during the Earthquake!

From Berkeley, California At 3:19 a.m. I had just revisited my recently posted video of Bach’s Sarabande (French Suite in G)–a foreboding? … when suddenly the wall I was leaning against, ( while seated at the piano), started swaying from … Continue reading

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The shrinking world of music

To put it lightly, degrees of separation in our musical cosmos are melting rapidly. By example, a Facebook post to my profile page from my 1960s era Orchestra teacher, led to a long lost neighbor who was the youngest member … Continue reading

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Spot Practicing at the Piano: It’s Quality, not Quantity

Some call it “spot cleaning,” I prefer spot “refining” to describe THOUGHTFUL, isolated step-wise measure practicing. Needless to say, a troublesome measure is surrounded by others that lead in and exit out of the problematic center, so it’s not enough … Continue reading

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