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The very first lesson with a new Intermediate or advanced piano student: thinking creatively on your feet

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet a new adult piano student who had studied for a few years. Besides having this basic, preliminary information, I had no other tangible clues about her level of playing.

The suspense of not knowing what music she would bring was lifted when two contrasting era works were neatly deposited on the music rack.

The first, Minuet in D, HOB. IX: 20, No.1 was unfamiliar to me. The second composition, Children’s Piece, Op. 72 No. 1 by Mendelssohn was the same, but appearing to be of a more advanced level.

Nevertheless, as I glanced over both works, I mapped them out in a visual scan, knowing that I could adequately read through both. (“How to Improve Sight-reading at the Piano,” amplifies this encounter with a fresh piece of music)

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/how-to-improve-sight-reading-at-the-piano/

The first lesson brought home how important sight-reading skills are, and their relevance to the very launch of a musical relationship with a new pupil.

In addition, having familiarity with the Performance practice of the Classical and Romantic periods, etc. allows a teacher to navigate “new” compositions, while assisting a student in the learning process from day one.

In the video below, I explored the Haydn Minuet from start to finish, in back tempo, illustrating execution of staccato during the Classical period, as well as ornamentation, and phrasing. (The Mendelssohn analysis will follow in a subsequent blog)

Following the first introductory lesson, I applied what I had examined in the tutorial to gain more refinement in my daily practicing.

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