Schumann's Album for the Young opens with an ethereal duet that meanders through heart-rending harmonies by its seamless flow of broken intervals and chords in the lower line. (The bass is intentionally composed in an alto range, and read in the left hand with a second treble clef, bringing the duet to poignance by its… Continue reading Beauty in Simplicity: Robert Schumann’s “Melody” No. 1
With gratitude to our mentors who light a path of learning with love, inspiration, knowledge, commitment and enduring patience. *** SEYMOUR BERNSTEIN http://seymourbernstein.com/ https://youtu.be/k-XngqDcJdg My intent in teaching is to make the pupil better than they are by leading them through musical and technical obstacles and helping them find solutions right there at the lesson.… Continue reading Teaching approaches: Seymour Bernstein, Marianna Prjevalskaya and Karen Magruder
I'm always gratified to have a repository of progressive pieces that roll out smoothly from scale and arpeggio study to a universe of colorful, musical expression. Burgmuller's Op. 100 is such a learner rich album of 25 short works with infused choreographies that advance a musical/technical synthesis. "Arabesque," the second offering, is permeated by ascending… Continue reading Burgmuller’s Arabesque and Inquietude are teaching treasures
With one big eyeful of Friedrich Burgmuller's "La Candeur" (Frankness), one observes repetitious strands of melody that can be stultified by a rigid 4/4 framing. The erroneous "study" or etude effect, furthered by a beat-hammering mentor, can thrust a struggling player into an inescapable auto-pilot zone Yet, the opening measures, with twin note groupings, can… Continue reading Repeated groups of notes, metrical framing, and phrase contouring
What would our precious Domenico be without his Baroque era adornments, embedded trills, heart-throbbing melodies in gypsy, folkloric framing! And who can overlook the flamenco guitar, rhythmic castanets and tambourines in full keyboard orchestration under Portuguese and Spanish royal influence. Yet the very first Scarlatti sonata given to me by my beloved NYC mentor, Lillian… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti and trills!
A few years ago, I recorded a set of the most charming tableaux from Alexandre Tansman's Pour Les Enfants, thinking the composer had surely reached a peak of immeasurable poetic expression in his "Very Easy" volume 1. In truth, the contents could not be described in such Primer-like terms, because each miniature had built-in technical… Continue reading Delightful “Primary” Level Repertoire for Teachers and Students
I'm reluctant to compare the rise of younger and younger athletes to Olympiad performance levels with pyrotechnic displays of pianistic virtuosity at the Cliburn International Junior Competition, but we're witnessing an era of precocious technical development in our piano playing universe. Just perusing a set of filmed profiles that are featured lead-in's to 23 Preliminary… Continue reading A bedazzling Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition 2019!