I admit to watching hours of great cellists (past and present) on you tube, as they breathe life into phrases with direct string contact and adjustments of weight transfer channeled through artful bowing. Icons of string playing serve as great examples for pianists in particular, because they teach us to bridge our distance from the… Continue reading Cellists and the Piano
As I stepped out my front door to investigate what sounded like three lawn mower engines powered up at FULL BLAST, eviscerating an Online piano lesson to Arizona, I spotted a tree removal squad slashing a young Oak to smithereens just a few yards from the piano room. The tree, about 10 feet tall, not… Continue reading Salvaging the remains of a Ravaged piano lesson
At this juncture of teaching, I'm savoring diverse repertoire along with my students, the youngest of whom is 10, and the oldest being over 60. What all these pupils share in common, regardless of level, is a journey through repertoire that requires a thoughtful process of learning. Even a Beginner labeled two or three note… Continue reading No Piece is too easy to teach and play thoughtfully
On this Mother's Day, I think of the many piano teachers who breathe life into fledgling musical journeys with a gentle prod of the hands and the warm embrace of the human voice. Phrase shaping and the singing tone, originate from the ebb and flow of the breath that fuels energy through relaxed arms and… Continue reading From the Start: Singing through Piano Lessons
Yesterday marked a special event in my life--a rekindled tie to an Oberlin Freshman dorm mate made possible by Anita, my 92-year old, 4-hand piano partner. A twenty-year donor/subscriber to Philharmonia Baroque (PBO) a celebrated Bay area-based orchestra, Anita had placed its glossy program brochure on the coffee tray right at our mid-point playing break.… Continue reading My duo piano partner sparks an Oberlin reunion with a long lost classmate!
If there ever was a pianist who embraced a style of playing that was in the service of sculpted phrases, regardless of wrist-breaking rules, it was Livia Rev. Her playing had choreographic freedom as she responded to the here and now of music-making, crafting phrases with a thoughtful relationship to what unfolded, in the before… Continue reading The sad news of Livia Rev’s passing at 101
Looking back at my archive of blogs, I decided to snatch this favorite that has a link to another, “A Piano Teacher’s Worst Nightmare!” Both reflective pieces may resonate with mentors and pupils.
For many piano teachers who’ve nursed along students from Primer toddlerhood to an Intermediate level confidence-climbing phase, through to the Advanced, smooth riding finish with flashy fingers, the pupil’s farewell is an emotional event.
Of course, it depends on the circumstances of the departure and who is saying goodbye to whom.
I remember my heart-wrenching farewells to two private music teachers going back a few decades. My mother as proxy delivered the news first to my violin teacher who taught me with great passion but missed too many lessons to make music study meaningful. Frustrated by her absences, starts and stops, the only way I dealt with my anger, was to channel my sturm and drang (storm and stress) into the piano. But at this very time, my piano teacher who had been referred by the violin instructor, was giving me pieces so way over my…
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