"Fur Elise" by Beethoven, Mary Poppins music, pianist, piano, piano addict, piano instruction, piano instructor, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano pedagogy, piano playing and phrasing, piano playing and relaxation, piano practicing, Piano Street, piano student, piano students as composers, piano studio, piano teacher, piano teaching, piano teaching repertoire, Piano World, pianoaddict.com, popular music, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, slow mindful practicing, slow piano practicing, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Teach Street

My weekly breather in El Cerrito: Teaching munchkins in the East Bay (Piano lessons in progress–Videos)

I always look forward to my weekly getaway to El Cerrito because I can take wholesome deep breaths without choking on toxic Central Valley air. Besides, I also get to teach a few delightful munchkins and adults.

While the visit is all too short, I still relish my walks amidst the foliage as I ascend into the hills, looking down on a magnificent Bay panorama.

As a preview to my arrival, the Amtrak train glides along the water whetting my appetite for what’s to come.


After my arrival in El Cerrito, I walk to my studio location in a very old, established neighborhood with mature shade trees and lush greenery. It’s the perfect paradise for teaching piano.

Yesterday, Lucy 10, and Fritz 8 were filmed during part of their lessons.

Lucy has packed away 2 plus years of piano study with me, coming originally as a transfer student. Plagued by a method book addiction, she gradually freed herself of playing by finger number crutches and mundane chord formulas and climbed a mountain that led to a “Fur Elise,” driven peak experience.

On the way to the real deal, and not through puny transcriptions of great piano works transposed to C Major, she learned Intermediate level selections from the Baroque and Classical period.

Weaned from Bastien’s formulas and anything resembling, Lucy’s note reading improved as she was released from middle C position imprisonment.

Fritz, her younger brother, who jumped into the fray last year, has zoomed right along as well. He’s embarked upon repertoire from the Developing Artist Book 1, promising to perfect the Reinagle Minuet in preparation for his next You Tube appearance. His opening upload featured his own composition, “Finding Gold,” which was a big hit with his East Coast grandparents.

Yesterday he wanted to add his rendition of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” to his playlist.

So let’s roll Lucy and Fritz’s lessons as they unfolded just two days ago.

Lucy plays “Fur Elise”

Fritz jives with Mary Poppins music:

Last year, Fritz took the reigns as a composer:




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