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“Piano Student of the Week,” Claudia S. practices Bach and improves her playing (Video)

Claudia is one of the old-timers around here at age 11. She came to study piano with me when she was just 6 and in those days, I gave her Noona’s “The Red Drum,” in addition to selections from Book One, Royal Conservatory of Music, University of Toronto: Hook “Minuet,” Schein “Allemande,” Telemann “Dance” in G minor, J.S. Bach “Bouree,” Tansman “Arabia,” Poole “Mist”; “A March” by Paciorkiewicz, Lubarksy “The Busy Hen,”Rybicki “Cradle Song,” and Fritz Le Couppey “The Shepherd’s Pipe.”

I never used method books in her studies because Claudia was well into note reading at the time, and was ready for some ear perking repertoire. In addition, we started five finger positions in all parallel major and minor keys, which led to full scale and arpeggio study. She has now come a long way, doing the equivalent of a gymnastics display at the piano each week. We spend the first 20 minutes turning scales and arpeggios into whirlwind spins in every manner you can imagine, parallel/contrary motion, in 10ths, 6ths, 3rds, and more.

I can recall Claudia’s first recital in my home like it was yesterday. She played the most of any other student, because she had enough learned pieces in her fingers to give a full scale recital of her own, and that was the memorable day that one of my adult students, a 6’5″ strapping fellow, clunked his head on my chandelier, barely making it to the Steinway in a half dazed state. But the show went on….

Claudia’s serious-minded attitude about piano study

With her strong work ethic, Claudia sets a good example for other students. She practices steadily and has the patience to learn pieces applying a stepwise approach. Claudia also dutifully completes her Theory assignments in the Snell-Ashleigh workbooks, transposes pieces, learns Solfege, names intervals and improves her ear-training skills.

The fruits of her labor are rich and bountiful.

Currently she’s studying the Bach Prelude and Fugue in C minor, BWV847, Invention 13 in A minor, and the Chopin Waltz in C# minor, Op. 64 no.2. Quite a nice music menu for an 11-year old.

Here’s a sample of her riveting focus on improving the Bach Invention 13. We were using rhythms to refine the climactic measures on the last page:

Who would have imagined this very poised youngster gracing a 9 foot piano at Fresno State’s recital hall? (MTAC Baroque Festival)

I still remember her as a sweet, sensitive and wide-eyed 6-year old. How time flies. And during these many years, she’s racked up international travels to Korea, Germany, and Austria (Salzburg) Her horizons are ever-expanding as is her language acquisition of Korean and French. German, anyone?

Flash forward to the present for a glimpse of Claudia’s repertoire:

Bach Invention 1 in C; Invention 4 in D minor; Invention 8 in F and 13 in A minor; Prelude and Fugue in C minor, BWV847; Beethoven Fur Elise, Chopin Waltz in A minor no. 19, Op. Posthumous, Mozart Sonata complete K. 545

In the past:
Beethoven Sonatina in F Major; Clementi Sonatina Op. 36 no. 3; Mozart Dance in F; a collection of Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals character pieces arranged for piano; J.C. Bach Prelude in A minor; Andante in A minor, Rameau Menuet en Rondeau, Kabalevsky “Clowns,” “Joke,” and “Funny Event.”

Noona “The Red Drum,” a set of pieces from Faber’s classical duets including “Snake Dance,” Pachelbel Canon arrangement, Piano selections from the Celebration Series, Toronto Conservatory, as previously mentioned.

Claudia in video and photos: Looking back over the years


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