Tag Archives: Shirley Smith Kirsten

From Perugia with love: Pianist, Ilana Vered hosts an enticing summer music fest

I stumbled upon Ilana Vered’s dazzlingly performance of two Moskowzski Etudes in a televised Steinway anniversary tribute hosted by Van Cliburn. It was during this celebration that Murray Perahia, my Performing Arts High classmate, rendered Chopin from the basement of … 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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Dedicating my birthday to Chopin!

I’m often asked to name my favorite composer, and nearly always, it’s the one whose music I’m currently studying and teaching. In this case, Chopin’s posthumous Waltz in A minor, discovered by musicologists in the 1950s, is the CHOSEN. Not … 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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Reviewing Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor, Op. Posthumous (MOVIE THEME, THE PIANIST)

We have to give credit to movie-makers for putting this hauntingly beautiful composition on the popular marquee of Classical music favorites. It shares notoriety with Mozart’s middle movement theme of Concerto no. 21 in C, which recurred throughout the film, … Continue reading

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The funniest adult piano student confessions

1) I couldn’t get to the piano this week because of my constipated cat. 2) I can’t play the Bb scale because it gets all “gummed up.” (????) 3) The cleaning lady was vacuuming the piano, inside and out. 4) … 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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Chopin Prelude No. 3 in G Major, Op. 28: Is the ultimate tempo within reach?

Without a doubt, Chopin’s Prelude in G, Op. 28, No.3, requires a deft Left Hand that can meet the challenge of playing 16th notes in Vivace framing. (extremely quickly) The question is, can most students apply their slow practicing model … Continue reading

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Piano Technique: Staying CONNECTED while playing staccato

I’ve picked the B Major Scale with 5 sharps distributed through double and triple black note sequence, to demonstrate wrist, forearm, and finger staccato. In these forays through detached notes, I emphasize how to stay “in touch” and not lose … Continue reading

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Piano Instruction: C Major Scale Mapping

Most students think of C Major as the easiest scale around the BLOCK. But in fact, it’s not nearly as patterned or symmetrical as the double and triple black note content scales, B, F# and C# Major (Or their equivalent … Continue reading

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