I'm always surprised by the condition of many private party market used pianos, as if a double standard is operating when comparing a house sale to a piano sale. I will sometimes walk into a home that is on the market that is clean and sparkling while the offered musical instrument is dusty, out of… Continue reading The double standard as applied to used pianos and their sale
Studying piano, playing through the great piano literature, requires revisiting, re-doing and refining our work. This undertaking should not carry a value judgment that what preceded was poor or inadequate. Those adjectives do not belong to the process of learning. After all, we do not fault babies for crawling before walking because we realize it's… Continue reading Piano Practicing: Re-doing and Refining
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCck4ZFNeQI When students do routine scales and arpeggios as warm-ups to their tour de force pieces, I like to spice things up a bit by playing around with voicing and weight control. (Yes, you heard me right) I'll surprise them by asking for the Left hand notes to be fleshed out, while the Right ones… Continue reading Piano Technique and Weight Control: Bringing out and balancing voices (Video) Teacher, Shirley Kirsten
The Adagio movement of Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata requires attentive listening, deep in the key practicing, muscle memory, and a natural breath that flows out of phrases. I start with the top most voice and work my way through to the alto and bass. (practicing individual lines) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4qME1l6Oqo Blocking is applied to the alto and should… Continue reading Piano instruction: Beethoven’s Sonata “Pathetique,” Adagio mvt.–applying voice analysis and muscle memory to the opening ( 4 Videos)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0zKCwbnqaI Muscular memory and self-analytical practicing go hand in hand. When you feel like you're zinging in, playing a passage or phrase like you would imagine hearing a fine pianist render it, then it's your prime time to recapture the moment and keep it safely stored in your memory box. Ask yourself, how did I… Continue reading Piano Technique: Muscular memory, self-analysis, and mental imagery (VIDEO)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g05x9XA09jQ This video contains recommendations for fleshing out a legato melody that runs through chords in the C section, or Stormy part of Beethoven's "Fur Elise." (Right hand finger substitutions, etc . explored)
It takes patience to approach a piece well behind tempo, tuning in to every nuance and turn of phrase. With ears alert and sensitive, the player tries to create a feeling state where he's submerged in sound to the exclusion of all else. At the pinnacle of concentration, he's "in the zone," attaining Maslow's "peak… Continue reading Piano Instruction: The Virtues of Slow Motion Practicing and Attentive Listening
The very title of this blog might send readers feverishly rushing off to other sites. I would have had the same fight/flight response before I heard from two happy Skyping students, one of whom was so pan-allergic that any semblance of a cat or dog hair coming through a vent would have placed him in… Continue reading Can Piano Lessons be Skyped?
I've always believed that it's not enough to rely on fingers, or finger action alone, to play the piano expressively. For me, enlisting the wrist, and rolling into notes, especially those that are shaped down at the conclusion of phrases are recommended. In the attached video, I compare the progression of shorter notes to a… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Using the wrist to taper phrases
As a teacher, I've often pondered this question, concluding that there are varying answers which depend on the advancement and motivation of individual students. Certainly no fixed formula addresses the length of time a pupil needs to fully realize his potential when practicing a given composition. By way of example, I have an adult student,… Continue reading How long should a piano student stay with a piece?