An 8-year old’s playing BEFORE and AFTER Skyped piano lessons plus video supplementation (Chopin Waltz in A minor, No. 19-Videos)

This very gifted 8-year old from Oregon started her long distance learning with me in early July, 2011 after her father sent me a playing sample of the Chopin Waltz in A minor, Op. Posthumous, no. 19. I had actually videotaped one of our Skyped lessons following a brief exchange of videos on a common You Tube channel set up by dad. Improvement was already observable at that juncture.

The progress shown over approximately 10 days, however, is substantial.

In the first sample, (seen below) that I considered the student’s “raw” playing, she is phrasing vertically for the most part and over pedaling. I can feel each beat emphasized as if it were being specifically counted. There is not much wrist flexibility or tonal/dynamic variation. Phrase-shaping is needed.

In the more recent sample spaced by just 10 days from the first, the playing is significantly transformed and smoothed out. The biggest change is the more fluid approach to the music with a supple wrist and bigger, relaxed arm gestures. The much improved physical freedom allows for greater nuance, dynamic contrasts, and better shaped phrases. There is more flow to the Waltz in the Romantic style and the singing tone is emerging.

I want to thank dad for letting me share these two videos. He is a supportive parent and very involved in helping his daughter meet weekly goals as pertains to improving her playing. She is very hard-working, bright, and practices thoughtfully.

For children in the 7 to 10-year old range, the involvement of parents in assisting with instructional goals is a vital ingredient of positive, progressive piano lessons. (Video supplementation also helps)

BEFORE: July 7, 2011 RAW VIDEO sent to me before Claire started her SKYPE lessons:


July 17, 2011 (SECOND SKYPED LESSSON) The first took place on 7/13/2011.


CORRECTION: Student is 8-years old

About arioso7: Shirley Kirsten

International piano teacher by Skype, recording artist, composer, piano finder, freelance writer, film maker, story teller: Grad of the NYC HS of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU (Master of Arts) Studies with Lillian Freundlich and Ena Bronstein; Master classes with Murray Perahia and Oxana Yablonskaya. Studios in BERKELEY and EL CERRITO, California; Member, Music Teachers Assoc. of California, MTAC; Distance learning and Skyped instruction with supplementary videos: SKYPE ID, shirleypiano1 Contact me at: OR or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
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4 Responses to An 8-year old’s playing BEFORE and AFTER Skyped piano lessons plus video supplementation (Chopin Waltz in A minor, No. 19-Videos)

  1. Wow, she’s fantastic! How great that she has not only natural ability, but a great teacher and an involved/supportive father.


    • There’s no doubt that dad’s participation is a big ingredient, plus the fact that the youngster loves her music and wants to play better and better. Thanks for the compliment, however.. I appreciate knowing my role in this triad of support is important.


  2. It’s great to see Skype music lessons working for younger children. It’s obvious that the parent, teacher and student are all working together as a team! Nice work.


  3. Thanks for your
    note.. definitely a triad of support that fosters musical progress.


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