There are snips of folkore surrounding this elder statesman of the piano, but aside from slights about his teaching etiquette and temperament, I've always adored Menahem Pressler's artistry. An "old" 1974 recording of the pianist's Mozart's Bb Concerto, K. 450 is an ambrosian delight. The playing is pure singing poetry permeated by impeccable phrasing. An… Continue reading Menahem Pressler, Mozart, and Masterclasses (Videos)
Instead of playing through laborious Hanon and Czerny exercises to improve aspects of piano technique, a student can cut to the chase, by snatching selected passages from their pieces that magnify a particular technical/musical challenge. As an example, one of my adult students, devoted part of her lesson time to practicing a series of descending… Continue reading Building Piano Technique: Extracting passages from pieces to practice
It's a never-ending display of piano-playing children nursed along on Tales of a Musical Journey, Irina Gorin's personal creation. A phrase-spinning magic permeates each and every performance, demonstrating a musical sophistication uncommon to the efforts of beginners and beyond. (And many pupils are Carmel, Indiana Arts Council Showcase winners) The teaching material provides a solid… Continue reading Irina Gorin’s piano students shine again! (Videos)
Watch this amazing cat at the beginning and close of this "foot"-age. If any ballet companies are looking for new talent, this floating feline is up for an audition. In any case, he earned himself a well-deserved catnap after a virtuoso "paw"-formance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v38sPHrPSP0 Notice his graceful balletic form as he sleeps. purrrrr......
From WIKI: Abby Whiteside (1881–1956) was an influential American piano teacher. She challenged the finger-centric approach of much classical piano teaching and instead advocated a holistic attitude in which the arm and torso are the conductors of a musical image conceived first in the mind and soul. This quote is riveting: "Why spend dull hours… Continue reading Abby Whiteside and playing beyond the fingers as a point of departure (Videos)
These are excerpts from today's lesson where we covered: 1. Broken chord blocking; refreshing inversions of the Tonic as applied to practicing Fur Elise. 2. Voice balancing: fleshing out the treble (soprano) melody, on page 2 (F Major section) Using supple wrist and hand rotation; relaxation of arms. 3. C section--with repeated bass notes, alternating… Continue reading Piano Lesson: An adult student continues her Beethoven “Fur Elise” learning process (Video)
I thought this writing might be helpful. It also ties in with sight-reading skill development.
Memorization should be a natural outflow of consistent, thoughtful practicing. Thoughtful is underscored because it’s the most important ingredient in the process of playing a studied piece without music. It means having mental assists that relate to mapping out a particular composition without chance reliance on intuition or instinct. So if you suddenly find yourself lost in a piece without having your music propped up on the rack, your mapped sense of it, should re-orient you.
What do you map during practice sessions?
1) Start by knowing what key the piece is in. (this presupposes an understanding of how scales move on the Circle of Fifths, acquiring Sharps in Clock-wise motion, and Flats in Counter-clockwise motion)
But even if your knowledge of the Circle is scant, you can still “know” that your Sonatina, Prelude, or popular music are in individual keys with so many sharps or flats. (You would have…
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