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