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The Emotionally Abusive Piano Teacher and Suggested Rehab

Over the years my ears have been pinned back by stories from students who experienced emotionally abusive teachers. One who transferred to my studio from another, described her head having been shoved into the music after striking a wrong note. In biographies of well-known performers, strands of anecdotes about foot-pounding, screaming master instructors remind readers… Continue reading The Emotionally Abusive Piano Teacher and Suggested Rehab

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The Piano Universe of Discussion Boards, Digital Feedback, and Self-analysis (Video)

I love to scan the Boards at Piano World, UK Forums, Piano Street, Piano Addict, and other stop-off points such as My Music Life Blogspot and Color in my Piano to get a feel for the concerns of piano students at all levels of study. This form of feedback that flows in and out of… Continue reading The Piano Universe of Discussion Boards, Digital Feedback, and Self-analysis (Video)

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How to Improve Sight-reading at the Piano

A universal complaint among piano students relates to sight-reading. They find themselves stumbling through the first playing of a brand new piece, not knowing if an end is in sight. The faltering, (wrong note, right note in treble and bass clefs) can keep a "reader" so contained in one measure at a time, if not… Continue reading How to Improve Sight-reading at the Piano

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Taking Piano Lessons: Skimming the surface or getting deeply involved?

I often think about a prevailing atmosphere of depersonalization these days fostered by cell phones, text messaging, being on the periphery of things, touching bases, not really getting deeply connected to any one subject. Social networking, video games, compulsive school testing, and a dearth of hands-on learning experiences keep many children at bay, floating from… Continue reading Taking Piano Lessons: Skimming the surface or getting deeply involved?

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Piano Instruction: Flexible wrist, rolling forward motion for shaping groups of notes in Burgmuller’s “Inquietude” (VIDEO)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEAm3TYmSIk I've chosen Burgmuller's E minor "Inquietude" (Restlessness) from the composer's Twenty-Five Progressive Pieces, to demonstrate a spring forward movement of the wrist used with groupings of three slurred 16th notes that permeate the selection. I also enlist syllables, "da-lee-dle" to assist with shaping the 3-note figures. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyzhVZJODn0 The Schirmer edition is below. I use… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Flexible wrist, rolling forward motion for shaping groups of notes in Burgmuller’s “Inquietude” (VIDEO)

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Eurhythmics, A Whole Body Listening Experience (Video)

I took a Eurhythmics class at Oberlin taught by a magical, mystical, musically in touch woman named Inda Howland who was a student of Jacques Dalcroze. Barefoot, wearing a native Indian garment–embracing an exotic percussion instrument from Bali as her trademark, she entered our classroom as a spry, sagacious woman in her 60′s. As she… Continue reading Eurhythmics, A Whole Body Listening Experience (Video)

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I could write a book titled PIANODRAMA

First I thought about Pianorama, which would be a catchy title describing a marathon of student performances sponsored by a local Music Teachers Association. In fact years ago we had one of these in Fresno, where I used to teach. But for all intents and purposes, Pianodrama comes closer to the truth about the life… Continue reading I could write a book titled PIANODRAMA