6 degrees of separation, adult piano students, Bay area, blogger, blogging, California, classical music, classissima.com, Creative Fresno, Douglas Freundlich, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, El Cerrito piano studio, Facebook, Fresno, Fresno California, Hanon studies, humor, keyboard technique, Major and minor scales, memoir, mind body connection, MTAC, music, music and heart, Music Teachers Asssociation of California, musicology, New York City, New York City High School of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, pianist, piano, piano addict, piano instruction, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano pedagogy, piano practicing, piano scales, piano society, Piano Street, piano student, piano teaching repertoire, piano technique, piano warm-ups, playing piano, publishers marketplace, publishersmarketplace.com, scale fingerings, scales, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Steinway and Sons, Steinway M grand piano, talkclassical.com, Teach Street, teaching piano scales, technique, Theory, whole body music listening, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Piano teachers, students, and reluctant farewells

  Lillian Freundlich

***

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 head that I could barely come up for air. While I knew what a composition such as Chopin’s Bb minor Scherzo should sound like, I had no technical skills or musical foundation to approach it with any degree of success.

A case of compounded frustration led to a double teacher firing.

For these instructors it was an emotional blow, and for me, the one who’d abandoned them at the tender age of 12, I felt bundled with guilt and remorse. Still, I had to move on.

The piano teacher I left had been an impressive performer who played to applauding audiences and critics on the local New York concert scene, but she couldn’t easily put herself in the place of a fledgling student and devise a stepwise, thoughtful approach to piano study. My learning gaps were so immense that I nearly gave up the piano–hanging by a thread because I dearly loved the instrument.

Years later, the abandoned piano teacher had swallowed her pride in the wake of my departure and restored her affection by sending a congratulatory note after my Mozart concerto performance at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. By then, I was 15 and studying with my beloved, long sought after teacher, Lillian Freundlich whom I’d met through her nephew, Douglas Freundlich, a Merrywood Music camper (Lenox, MA)

As I had hoped, Mrs. Freundlich went back to the beginning, awakened me to the singing tone dimension of the piano, and had me playing individual notes for the first weeks of study. In the process, I realized that the way I balanced my fingers with the relaxed support of my arms could create the resonating sound I had always imagined. Each lesson brought a revelation that compared to a child’s first encounter with a sunset.

The sad part of my musical relationship with Lillian was its premature ending. No sooner than I’d set foot in her ethereal musical space with its ebony shining grand pianos, Persian rugs, and window view of Riverside Drive, I had to leave and make my rite of passage to the Oberlin Conservatory. That’s where all signs led. No other destination was planned since Mrs. F. was an alumna and had carefully groomed me for this next phase of my life.

Teacher farewells usher in changes and new beginnings that are very much like marriage break-ups. They have a powerful impact leaving twinges of emotion that are re-awakened in the course of our lives.

If I listed all my teachers who came and went, it would be a laboriously long, drawn out epic, bogged down by burdensome detail.

***

My arrival at Oberlin, the “Learning and Labor” school with its formidable music conservatory, brought the antithesis of what I had grown to love about studying the piano.

Suddenly I found myself in an antiseptic, white structure stacked with tightly-spaced practice rooms and paper-thin walls. Far worse was my instructor who had students lined up at his door pumping out the same Hanon exercises. They played with arched hand positions and stiff wrists. It made me want to jump the next plane back to New York.

My only option was to leave the teacher and request another in the piano department. Meanwhile, my dorm roommate, who’d been a Performing Arts High classmate, having left her studies with an inspiring Manhattan-based instructor, Leon Russianoff to attend the Midwest Conservatory, had already packed her bag and was on her way back East to reunite with him. Her hasty Oberlin-based musical marriage break-up was followed by a second wind New York relationship.

Would I follow my bunk mate? Although, I wanted to go AWOL, contemplating a full separation from the “Con,” I decided to tough it out with a string of teachers that finally produced a good match with Jack Radunsky, who passed away a few years ago. (Along the way, I had switched my major to violin to escape the first, didactic, soul-absent piano teacher) Uncannily, Stuart Canin, former concert master of the San Francisco Symphony was my brief mentor before I reunited with the piano.

Returning to the Big Apple after graduation in the embrace of my newly acquired Performance Degree, not exactly a job market titillation, I found myself back with Lillian Freundlich, who was by that time, blanketed with wall-to-wall students. Nonetheless, I enjoyed rekindling musical ties with this former teacher before I headed off to California to start a career and family. Another heart-breaking farewell.

The twist ending to this long-winded story of coming and going teachers reads like a novel’s denouement.

Once settled in the San Joaquin Valley, agriculture’s heartland, I met up with Roselle Bezazian Kemalyan, who was Lillian Lefkovsky Freundlich’s roommate at Oberlin in 1933 and endowed the Bezazian Piano Scholarship. Quickly, she became my musical surrogate mother as we looked back fondly upon our musical memories of Lillian.

Recapitulation:

Now that I’ve been a piano teacher for decades, I fully comprehend the emotional effects of students coming and going.

A two-way musical journey can easily be interrupted by circumstances beyond anyone’s control. Sometimes students choose to change lanes and seek other study options while at other times a teacher has to make the difficult choice to discharge a student who’s not practicing for months at time or respecting studio guidelines.

Piano study is a metaphor for life, and the teachers, students we encounter along the way leave their indelible traces behind them. The collective path taken often comes with emotional highs and lows but just the same, it’s worth the effort.

RELATED:
https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/a-piano-teachers-worst-nightmare/

Baroque trills, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, El Cerrito piano studio, Elaine Comparone, essercizi, Facebook, Frederic Chopin, Fresno, Fresno California, Juilliard, keyboard technique, memoir, mind body connection, music, music and heart, music appreciation classes, music history, Music Teachers Asssociation of California, my space, New York, New York City High School of Performing Arts, Oberlin, Oberlin Conservatory, pentachords, performance anxiety, piano, piano instruction, piano lesson, piano pedagogy, piano practicing, piano scales, piano society, Piano Street, piano student, piano teacher, piano teaching repertoire, piano technique, piano warm-ups, Piano World, pianoaddict.com, Pianostreet.com, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, publishers marketplace, publishersmarketplace.com, scales, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Steinway grand piano, Steinway M grand piano, Steinway piano, Steinway studio upright, talkclassical.com, teaching scales, the natural minor scale, trills, uk-piano-forums, video performances, whole body music listening, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

More trills, but bucolic and serene: Scarlatti’s d minor “pastorale” K. 9 (VIDEO)

Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata K. 9 in d minor (the “pastorale”)

The trills in K. 9 are far different than those permeating Scarlatti’s sonata K. 159 in C Major. The latter has a robust horn call opening with a lavish assortment of ornaments. The bright sounding Major tonality creates a dazzling brilliance:

By contrast the d minor Pastorale is wistfully beautiful with its very lovely theme weaving through the sonata, drawing the listener into a bucolic scene. The trills are tapestries not displays of technical prowess.

In the second half of the work, Scarlatti develops material in the opening section, preserving the mood, but darkening the theme before the piece gracefully winds to a close with its final resonating trill.

The d minor sonata, K. 9 is written in 6/8 time, but is felt in lilting two’s, providing an undulating rhythm that matches the mood created.

RELATED:
https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/trills/

adult piano students, blog, blogger, blogging, Circle of Fifths, classissima, classissima.com, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, f# minor scale, Fresno California, humor, Major and minor scales, mental imagery, Mildred Portney Chase, mind body connection, music, music and heart, Music Teachers Asssociation of California, my space, New York City High School of Performing Arts, Oberlin, Oberlin Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, New York City High School of Performing Arts, piano, piano instruction, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano pedagogy, piano student, piano teacher, piano technique, piano warm-ups, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Steinway and Sons, Steinway grand piano, Steinway M grand piano, Steinway piano, Teach Street, teaching piano scales, teaching scales, technique, the natural minor scale, Theory, whole body music listening, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Piano Instruction: Learning the F# minor scale (video)

I made this video after plunking the “devil” beside Bb Major in my previous blog, so if you review the basic approach in that post, you’ll get my sway about scales in general. It’s always better to think in GROUPS rather than individual notes.

For F# minor in its Natural or PURE form, let’s cut to the chase:

F# G# A B C# D E F# G# A B C# D E F#

It’s related to its daddy or mommy, “A” Major (depending on your gender classification preference) so it contains THREE SHARPS: F#, C# and G#

In all Natural Minors, there are half steps between scale degrees 2 and 3, and 5 and 6.

Note the fingering adjustment at the very beginning in the Right Hand only.

Play the first two notes F# and G# with RH fingers 2 and 3
(In the video, I explain why)

The Left Hand uses fingers 4 and 3 on the same notes (F# and G#)

In every subsequent octave, the sequence of F# to G# will be played as MIRROR fingers (LH: 4,3 RH: 3,4) so it’s a great idea to chunk these groups across the piano, remembering to cap the scale at the top with fingers 3 in both hands on F#.

The chunking should be UP and DOWN to four octaves.

These notes should also be chunked across the keyboard (4 octave model) A, B (LH 2,1 RH 1,2) MIRROR Fingerings

AND

D, E (LH 2,1 RH 1,2 ) MIRROR Fingerings

3’s meet on C# in both hands after the initial intro into the scale with the adjustment fingering previously mentioned.

Pinpoint these 3’s on C# and travel across the keyboard up and down.

The last step is chunking all pertinent note groups with the inserted finger no. 3 points on C#.. Just make sure to cap the scale with 3’s in both hands and to end the scale coming down with the adjusted fingering (RH..3 to 2, G# to F#)

Above and beyond the groupings enumerated, I tend to focus my attention on the F#, G# portions of the scale as these are raised notes in pairs, so I pivot toward them as the
core of this 4-octave step-wise progression.

Finally practice the scale with a Legato touch–smooth, connected at a MF dynamic (Medium Loud)

quarters 2 octaves
8ths 2 octaves
triplets 3 octaves
16ths 4 octaves
Follow with a pair of staccato 16ths to 4 octaves (medium loud MF/mp)

For more advanced students, add 32nd notes, legato/staccato

RELATED:
https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/why-play-scales/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/the-most-reviled-scale-for-piano-players/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/sports-and-piano-technique-how-about-chunking-on-you-tube/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/from-chords-to-gym-and-back-you-tube-video/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/piano-technique-related-videos/

adult piano students, athletic coaching, athletic training, blog, blogger, blogging, California, Circle of Fifths, classissima, classissima.com, Creative Fresno, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, El Cerrito piano studio, Facebook, Fresno, Fresno California, gymnastics, humor, keyboard technique, Major and minor scales, mind body connection, music teachers association of california, Music Teachers Asssociation of California, my space, New York City High School of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, New York City High School of Performing Arts, pianist, piano, piano addict, piano instruction, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano pedagogy, piano practicing, piano student, piano teacher, piano technique, piano warm-ups, Pianostreet.com, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, playing piano, publishers marketplace, publishersmarketplace.com, satire, scale fingerings, scales, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Steinway and Sons, Steinway grand piano, Steinway M grand piano, Teach Street, teaching piano scales, teaching scales, technique, Theory, whole body music listening, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

The most reviled scale for piano players!! (Video)

Bb C D Eb F G A Bb C D Eb F G A Bb

***

Last night I had a rap session with a student on the subject of his favorite scale. And it quickly dawned on me that this whole area of discussion, while definitely out of the mainstream and not a life or death issue, might be worth a survey.

Did I hear myself right?

If, for example, I asked myself what scale was the most difficult to teach, it would be a no brainer: Bb Major, resoundingly!!

In talking with myriads of pupils that have come through my studio over the years, the overwhelming consensus was that Bb Major had been a finger tripper, if not a confidence crusher.

But why? It only contains TWO FLats, Bb and Eb!

One student called it the “daddy long legs” scale because of its many strands, ins and outs, with a glaring absence of black key patterns to hold it together.

Well said: B, F#, and C# Major and their “enharmonic” equivalents in FLATS (Cb, Gb and Db) are a piece of cake by comparison despite their generous content of black notes. At least the thumbs meet between the double and triple black keys which use mirror fingers. (Easy to “chunk” or block out during practice routines)

Bb Major is another story

In fact when playing Bb Major with two hands, the only place the same fingers land on a common note is on G, the sixth tone into the scale, hardly the CORE of this step-wise progression. So when the 2’s land on G, one hardly notices it. In fact that very spot can be a finger-trapper because of what precedes and follows. A student might consider himself lucky to make it to G in the first place, let alone with the correct fingers along the way, in sequence.

Because the internal “organizers” of this scale are few and far between, and on the surface non-existent except for the G already mentioned, the brain has to come up with a different way to piece it together.

Suggestions:

First think of this scale as having a symmetry in its asymmetry?

(Would Shakespeare have been amused with this play on words?)

In Twelfth Night, He nobly said, “If music be the Food of Love, play on..”
(But would he have known in the 17th Century, that Bb Major might have ruined his love banquet)

To salvage the ruins and restore a modicum of love for the Bb scale, consider the following:

Begin the scale on Bb using finger no. 3 in both hands. (At least you think this scale will be a piece of cake with an easy start like this, and having the right frame of mind is half the battle)

Next, notice the second and third notes into the scale which are C and D..
Between the hands, there are MIRROR images of the fingers that play these notes.

In the Right Hand C has finger number 1 (thumb) and D, finger 2
In the Left Hand C has finger number 2 and D finger 1

Everyone loves a MIRROR when prepared to look at it.
(Think 1,2/2,1)

Just wait, it gets better:

Eb is the fourth note into the scale:
In the Right hand, use finger 3
In the Left hand, use finger 4

If you say, 3 over 4 enough times you realize there’s a happy reconciliation between the two numbers–at least they’re chronological.

The good news is we have just accounted for the second black note or flat in this scale, but we had deceived ourselves into believing the very first flat (Bb) would always have common 3’s in each hand.

When Bb comes back again, right at the scale PEAK as the 8th note, before it goes into the second octave,

the Right hand uses finger 4
the Left hand uses finger 3

A REVERSAL OF FORTUNE–oops, I meant the opposite of what happened with Eb

Reminder, Eb uses 3 in the Right hand
Eb uses 4 in the Left hand

Bb uses 4 in the Right Hand
Bb uses 3 in the Left Hand

In every subsequent octave, the player just needs to keep track of Bb and Eb, thinking chronological number reversals in both places.

The numbers 3 and 4, therefore are the biggies
If one hand has 3 on a black note, the other must have 4

So keeping track of just TWO BLACK NOTE FLATS is not too big a serving for most who are willing to give the scale a second chance.

Finally there are THREE notes, unaccounted for in the GROUP context.
And they are F, G, A

We already tagged G as having common finger number 2 between the hands, but that’s not enough to pull this scale together.

The brain prefers to think in groups or chunks:

So think of F,G,A, which are the remaining notes, as having a MIRROR fingering between the hands

In the Right hand F uses 1; G uses 2 and A uses 3
In the Left hand F uses 3; G uses 2 and A uses 1

Summary for F, G, A
1, 2, 3 over 3, 2, 1

Practice routines:
1) Isolate all the Bbs after the first introductory one, and play with both hands (RH 4 over LH 3) Use the 4 octave model.

2) Isolate all the Ebs across the keyboard with both hands
(RH 3 over LH 4)

3) Chunk or BLOCK all the C, Ds (RH 1,2, LH 2,1) Reminder: 4 octave model

4) Chunk all the F, G, A’s (RH 1,2, 3 LH 3,2,1)

5) Finally Play the flats, followed by the chunks until you reach the last note (Bb)

6) Note the 4 finger roll-out in the Right Hand at the conclusion of the scale, going up: F G A Bb (1,2,3,4)
Get used to ending the scale on 4 in the RH.

Time to play it straight (in Legato-smooth and connected) with the following rhythms with MF dynamic (medium loud)

Two Octaves: quarters
Two Octaves: 8ths
Three Octaves: Triplets
Four Octaves: 16ths
Four Octaves: staccato 16ths (medium loud/medium soft)

For more advanced students, add 32nds Legato/staccato MF/mp

While mathematical strategies assist in navigating a scale in the course of learning process, above and beyond these numerical twists and turns, the rendering of a scale must be musical, with a permeating singing tone, and internal shaping.

It’s the teacher’s job to illuminate the dimensions or properties of a scale, and subsequently integrate them into a whole.

Please share your favorite or most challenging scale.

RELATED:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/why-play-scales/

6 degrees of separation, adult piano students, Album for the Young, Apple iPhone, arpeggios, Art Linkletter, athletic coaching, athletic training, attorney, authorsden, Baroque music, Bay area, blog, blogger, blogging, boxing, boxing lessons, California, Cato, cd baby, cdbaby, Children's pieces, Circle of Fifths, Classical era, classical music, classissima, classissima.com, counterpoint, Creative Fresno, crossed hands, diminished 7th arpeggios, diminished 7th chords, Domenico Scarlatti, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, El Cerrito piano studio, essercizi, Facebook, Fig Garden Village, five finger positions, five finger warm-ups, Fresno, Fresno California, Fresno Famous, fresno filmmakers alliance, gymnastics, humor, Internet, iPad, iPhone, keyboard technique, kids say the darndest things, lawyer, Major and minor scales, memoir, mind body connection, MTAC, MTAC Baroque Festival, music, music and heart, music history, Music Teachers Asssociation of California, musicology, my space, New York City High School of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, pentachords, piano, piano addict, piano finding adventure, piano instruction, piano society, Piano Street, piano student, piano teacher, piano teaching repertoire, piano warm-ups, Piano World, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, playing piano, publishers marketplace, publishersmarketplace.com, Ralph Cato, satire, scale fingerings, scales, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, sparring partner, sports, Steinway grand piano, Steinway M grand piano, Steinway piano, Teach Street, technique, Theory, trills, tritone, uk-piano-forums, video performances, videotaped replay, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Adult piano students say and do the darndest things.

I remember Art Linkletter’s show, “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” which made me think of a few adult piano students and their hauntingly memorable words.

Yesterday, for example, I was forewarned by a 70-year old pupil, that I should expect a call from her during the night about the key of “F# minor.” What impending crisis was she talking about? Did it have to do with the Melodic form of the scale and its raised notes going up, but not coming down? Was it the temporary shift in fingering or the modal turnaround? I’d concede that the “melodic” was a cliff-hanger on the ascent with its “raised” 6th and 7th notes, but definitely a descending blow-out in its restored “natural” form. Would this duality catapult a student into full-blown despair?

F# G# A B C# D# E# F#
E D C# B A G# F#

The Circle of Fifths for Major and Minor Scales

Wait a minute, my 70-year old, wasn’t assigned the more complicated Melodic minor this week. She was supposed to practice the NATURAL FORM with mirror fingers, 4, 3, and 3,4 on F# and G# in every progressive octave, with 3’s meeting on C# in both hands. We’d spent a few lessons on these reciprocal relationships and symmetries, though she’d planted her 4th finger on two different notes in the same octave, hoping I wouldn’t see the guilty left hand from my vantage point at the second piano. But my peripheral vision had been fine-tuned from hunting down crossed-hand notes with rolling eyeballs.

All humor aside, it’s always difficult to navigate scales that are not strict patterns of two and three-black key groups with thumbs meeting like those of B, F# and C# Major and their “enharmonics” spelled in flats: Cb, Gb and Db. But just about every scale has an internal symmetry that can be explored to best advantage regardless of its location on the Circle of Fifths.

The scales of C, G, D, A and E fall under one heading where the bridge between the octaves has a reciprocal fingering or mirror.

In the case of C Major, the 7th note B crossing over C to D, uses finger numbers 4, 1, 2 in the Right Hand while the left plays 2,1, 4. The anchor finger over which 4 passes in either direction, holds things together.

In previous writings and videos, I also pinpointed where finger number 3 met in both hands, providing another internal organizer.

For the student who was rattled by F# minor, a scale that had a novel identity, we found a different location for mirror fingers, but still a helpful aid.

Another pupil, a US Attorney who’d been chasing robber barons in South Carolina, was worried that he didn’t get to the piano this past week, so he let me know in no uncertain terms by telephone and text message, fax, email, registered mail, certified mail, and just plain 3rd class snail mail, that his upcoming lesson would “just be a practice.” I wondered to myself, had he otherwise feared a public flogging in front of Starbucks?

He had done very well over the years, reconciling the relationship of scale study with his desire to improve his understanding of the Beethoven sonatas and other repertoire.

I’d previously mentioned Ralph Cato, the US Olympic boxing trainer who was my sparring partner for ten minutes following his lessons. Every week he’d use my staircase for athletic training and balance routines. Was I dreaming? Because his coaching was pert and perfect, I’d wished his precise directions were recorded for posterity, though they remain a lingering memory.

Up in the Bay area, a retired lawyer, used her iPhone to capture angles of her hand and fingers that were used as learning reminders between lessons.

I had started to believe these technology based aids were helping her and I had to get with it without resisting change.

She’d admitted that her first piano teacher, a nun in a rural Texas parochial school, had used a ruler to beat her hand into a rigid, arched position.

Oops, maybe I’d mixed her up with my paternal grandpa who ran away from the Cheder in Latvia after his knuckles were skinned with a cat o’ nine tails by the head Rabbi. He’d ditched his Torah lessons.

Oh well, some teachers over generations used this same dastardly approach.

In a few years, none of us would be collecting colorful stories about our piano students. We’d be replaced by micro robots who’d comb the keyboard, electronically marking fingerings for every major and minor scale.

An exaggeration, perhaps.

In retrospect, I should have appreciated middle-of-the-night calls from my 70-year old student. At least I could log them for a growing anthology of pianorama.

RELATED:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/piano-instruction-learning-the-f-minor-scale-video/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/piano-technique-related-videos/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/the-iphone-invades-piano-lessons/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/cato-his-killer-keyboard-and-a-round-of-piano-lessons/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/a-piano-teachers-worst-nightmare/

.

arpeggios, athletic coaching, athletic training, California, cdbaby, classissima.com, counterpoint, Creative Fresno, Domenico Scarlatti, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, El Cerrito piano studio, Elaine Comparone, essercizi, Facebook, Fig Garden Village, five finger positions, five finger warm-ups, Fresno, Fresno California, fresno filmmakers alliance, gymnastics, harpsichord, humor, Internet, keyboard technique, Major and minor scales, mind body connection, MTAC, MTAC Baroque Festival, Music Teachers Asssociation of California, musicology, my space, New York City High School of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, Old Fig Garden in Fresno, pianist, piano, piano pedagogy, piano practicing, piano room, piano society, Piano Street, piano student, piano teacher, piano technique, piano warm-ups, Piano World, pianoaddict.com, Pianostreet.com, pianoworld.com, ping pong balls, publishersmarketplace.com, scales, Scarlatti, Scarlatti Sonatas, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, sports, Steinway and Sons, Steinway grand piano, Steinway M grand piano, Steinway piano, talkclassical.com, Teach Street, technique, Theory, trills, uk-piano-forums, video performances, videotaped replay, whole body music listening, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Piano Technique: Big Leaps, Crossed Hands, and shifty eyeballs (with slow motion video replay)

up tempo:

Be prepared to exercise your eyeballs minus head movements when tackling large leaps, especially those hand-over-hand acrobatics that are intrinsic to many of Domenico Scarlatti’s sonatas.

In the first video I’ve isolated a few of these jumps from Sonata K. 113 in A Major, demonstrating what I’ve found to be the best approach.

While I’ve crashed and burned on more than one occasion, a new consciousness emerged through trial and error.

Recommendations

1) No bobbing head back and forth when playing crossed hands.

Use your shifty eyeballs, if necessary, to target the destination notes going back and forth over your right hand.

There are two places that stand out in this sonata. The first involves two octave, crossed-hand jumps. The Left travels back and forth over the right multiple times.

In the second instance, there are jumps of four octaves, and these can be suicide trips, unless mediated by shifty eyeballs.

2) Use an arc-like motion back and forth, but not too high, or you’ll lose contact with the keys.

3) Block out the broken chord progressions in the right hand as they move in sequence. Then unblock them before adding in the left hand.

Be calm, relaxed, and breathe deeply but not anxiously.

Finally, say a prayer..

CLICK to enlarge (page 1 and 2, Sonata, K. 113 by Scarlatti)

arpeggios, athletic coaching, athletic training, authorsden, Baroque music, Bay area, California, classical music, classissima.com, counterpoint, Creative Fresno, crossed hands, diminished 7th arpeggios, diminished 7th chords, diminished chords, Domenico Scarlatti, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, El Cerrito piano studio, Elaine Comparone, essercizi, Facebook, five finger positions, five finger warm-ups, Fresno, Fresno California, Fresno Famous, fresno filmmakers alliance, gymnastics, harpsichord, keyboard technique, Major and minor scales, mind body connection, music, music and heart, music teachers association of california, Music Teachers Asssociation of California, musicology, New York City High School of Performing Arts, Northwest Fresno, Oberlin Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, New York City High School of Performing Arts, ornaments, pianist, piano, piano addict, piano instruction, piano lesson, piano society, Piano Street, piano student, piano teacher, piano technique, piano warm-ups, Piano World, pianoaddict.com, Pianostreet.com, publishers marketplace, publishersmarketplace.com, pyrotechnical exercises, Ralph Kirkpatrick, repeated notes, scales, Scarlatti, Scarlatti Sonatas, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, talkclassical.com, technique, Theory, trills, uk-piano-forums, whole body music listening, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Domenico Scarlatti Sonata (Toccata) in D minor, K. 141 with reams of repeated notes (VIDEO)

Domenico Scarlatti never fails to come up with a flashy pyrotechnical escapade that can make or break a player in progress. I know, because I’ve walked the plank with this piece until I was able to reverse my fortune and run with it happily into the horizon. Any number of times those repeated notes, cross hands, whatever, ruled me like a slave, and I had to earn my freedom with a commitment to slow and steady practice. Still, I would never be satisfied with the end result. That’s the way it is with an art form. You really never arrive, but just approach a goal with more success than expected.

How to stack the odds in your favor:

FIRST PRACTICE SEPARATE hands, very slowly. (use RH fingers 3,2,1, 3, 2, 1) except in measure 10: 1,3,2,1,2,1 Know the Harmonic progressions in the BASS.. Label all the secondary dominants, and notice their sequential pattern.

When played in tempo, the repeated notes should be executed in groups of ONE and not THREE. It goes so fast at Presto speed, that anyone daring to take it on better think in circles and not squares. And I mean that literally. Don’t forget to breathe and think slowly through fast paced 16th notes. Opposites attract.

Think flamenco guitar, vibrant Spanish rhythms and you’re off to a flying start. Most of all, ENJOY the passion of this masterpiece and let it SOAR!!

RELATED:
https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/trills/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/domenico-scarlatti-sonata-in-a-k-113-i-found-another-pair-of-hands-video/