The piano teacher as conductor–sometimes shaping gestures help a student phrase better (Video)

I couldn’t resist an opportunity to conduct my student playing the Bach Invention 13 in A minor today. She’s preparing two selections for a competitive Baroque event coming up in two weeks, and the second offering is the Prelude in C minor BWV 847.

Claudia, 11, rehearsed the Invention a few times with a few sideline prompts from me, but at some point she needed her teacher to coach her close up to extract desired arpeggio shaping.


Flashback to my student days

My New York City piano teacher, Lillian Freundlich, didn’t conduct the music I played, but she compulsively SANG over my feeble attempts to please her, making her point loud and clear that I needed more contoured melodic lines. (Wake up little girl and play from your heart)

I guess her approach became so embedded, that to this day I can’t resist singing when I practice, and obviously it spills over into my teaching.

But the conducting comes from another place within me—perhaps from a well of frustration that I don’t have an orchestra to direct.

So as the next best option, I find myself choreographing and singing at the same time which is great prep for a Broadway musical audition. At minimum I’m up for a place on the Chorus Line, hoping against hope to be picked.

Worse case scenario, as the saying goes, Those who can’t perform, teach. (which is ridiculous) It should be revised as, those who teach CAN perform– dancing and singing all over the place in their private studios.

So having cleared the air, owning up to my teacher-driven eccentricities, I offer an impromptu choreography and a few grunts that sprang out of Bach’s exuberant Invention 13.

The point was well taken. Claudia decided to imagine that she’s the conductor of her own duo, a two voice instrumental, as she ascends the stage to play her pieces.

About arioso7: Shirley Kirsten

International piano teacher by Skype, recording artist, composer, piano finder, freelance writer, film maker, story teller: Grad of the NYC HS of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU (Master of Arts) Studies with Lillian Freundlich and Ena Bronstein; Master classes with Murray Perahia and Oxana Yablonskaya. Studios in BERKELEY and EL CERRITO, California; Member, Music Teachers Assoc. of California, MTAC; Distance learning and Skyped instruction with supplementary videos: SKYPE ID, shirleypiano1 Contact me at: OR or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
This entry was posted in MTAC, muscular memory, music, music and heart, music teachers association of california, musical inspiration, musical phrasing, New York City, New York City High School of Performing Arts, Oberlin, Oberlin Conservatory, phrasing at the piano, pianist, pianists, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano blogs, piano instruction, piano instructor, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano lessson, piano pedagogy, piano playing and breathing, piano playing and phrasing, piano playing and relaxation, piano practicing, piano recital, piano repertoire, piano society, Piano Street, piano student, piano studio, piano teachers, piano teaching, piano technique, Piano World, piano world-wide,,, pianoworld,, Russian piano teacher, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, shirley s kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, shirley smith kirsten blog, Steinway M grand piano, Steinway piano, studying piano, swinging arms in playing piano, Teaching Bach two part inventions, teaching piano to children, The art of phrasing at the piano, the art of piano playing, video performances, videotaped replay, videotaping at piano lessons, word press,, you tube, you tube video and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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