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Stimulating the imagination: choosing piano repertoire that embraces childhood themes (Video)

I was awakened this morning to an inspired Facebook post that featured a six-year old captivated by a delightful piece that amounted to a "playground" of light-hearted chords with engaging harmonies. The piano teacher, Irina Gorin played snippets of Samuel Maykapar's "In the Garden" that seemed to share character kinship with Kabalevksy's Op. 39, Children's… Continue reading Stimulating the imagination: choosing piano repertoire that embraces childhood themes (Video)

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Rolling arm movements and videotaped slow motion replay of Chopin’s Waltz in C# minor, piu mosso section

I demonstrate a swing or roll of the arms to realize the circular flow of the piu mosso section of Chopin's Waltz in C# minor, Op. 64, no 2. At the end, I add slow motion frames. Needless to say a state of relaxation is desirable to achieve Oneness with the piano. Mindful practicing and… Continue reading Rolling arm movements and videotaped slow motion replay of Chopin’s Waltz in C# minor, piu mosso section

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At the piano: Exploring the Chopin Waltz in C# minor, Op. 64 No. 2 (Video)

I finally sat down at "Haddy" (my Haddorff piano that sings like a nightingale) and spun out a few ideas about the Waltz in C# minor. A slow motion journey through the composition underscored the suspensions and harmonic rhythm on the first page, then moved on to the piu mosso, 8ths with their rounded contour,… Continue reading At the piano: Exploring the Chopin Waltz in C# minor, Op. 64 No. 2 (Video)

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Piano Lessons: After a long summer break, where to begin? (Videos)

The first lesson with a student who took the whole summer off for one reason or another is a challenge. I repeatedly ask myself should we pick up where we left off and drag out the last sonatina that became time worn well before its time or start a completely new musical project. One student… Continue reading Piano Lessons: After a long summer break, where to begin? (Videos)

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Thoughts about teaching a 4-year old with an innovative approach (Tales of a Musical Journey)

I would never have entertained the idea of teaching a 4-year old child. Over the years I had adhered to a rigid age boundary when accepting new piano students. Seven was the magic number. When an opportunity arose to sample a new book created by Irina Gorin that focused on instruction for children in the… Continue reading Thoughts about teaching a 4-year old with an innovative approach (Tales of a Musical Journey)

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Piano Lesson: Shaping scales and arpeggios with syllables and tempo prompts (Video)

In this video segment, a 10-year old student warmed up with 3 forms of the D minor scale played in contrary motion in 16ths followed by 32nds. Syllable prompts helped shape these and kept them rhythmically framed. (Tempo variations were enlisted to smooth out playings) With arpeggios, we usually chunk "tunnels" through which the thumb… Continue reading Piano Lesson: Shaping scales and arpeggios with syllables and tempo prompts (Video)

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The Metronome, a blessing or curse?

My original opinion on this topic was unequivocal. I would never use a metronome under any circumstances in my teaching except to consult for overall tempo. The expression, to be “ticked off” summed up my attitude toward the robotic beat counter. Setting the wand to any magic number created a despairing search for the downbeat… Continue reading The Metronome, a blessing or curse?