Christoph Eschenbach, Classical era piano music, classissima,, Claudio Arrau, comparing performances of Mozart Sonata in C K. 545, interpretation of Mozart Sonata in C K. 545, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Mozart, Mozart Sonata in C K. 545 first movement, pianist, piano, playing piano, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Uchida pianist, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Comparing performances of Mozart Sonata in C, K. 545, Movement 1, Allegro (Tempo, alone can make a big difference)

Over time, when we return to a piece that is well-learned, and in some cases has become a bit too predictable without a touch of inspiration, a revitalized, updated version might be worth a try.

In this regard, I’m always re-recording time-honored pieces periodically, to refresh them.

To broaden my perspective, I search You Tube performances for ideas.

Starting with my newest playing that followed by an older rendition, I branched out to other readings for insight about tempo and interpretation.



The editions used by these pianists are unknown:

Christoph Eschenbach (Takes fast tempo)

Why is the second theme played so loudly? And what about accents in the the bass over measures 5to 6; 6 to 7, etc?

Claudia Arrau (slower tempo) Plays the 16ths scales slightly detached. Executes longer trill on the initial ornament. (If you play slower, that’s a lot easier to do)

A bit Romanticized here and there. Has a few jarring cadences where he accents the tonic resolutions which I don’t comprehend. Notice his poco ritardando to the recap of the theme in F Major. (That makes sense)

Mitsuko Uchida

I like her tempo and overall performance.(Nice contrasting second theme) Notice different articulations, however, as compared to the other renderings, and a clipped staccato that I don’t understand. That’s the only part that tweaks my ears, perhaps, because I’m accustomed to the longer staccato of the Classical period. But up for debate. (It does change the character of the movement)

Sviatoslav Richter

Lovely Mozartean tone–refined, beautiful, and tempo seems just right.

Which is your favorite?

Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook, Christian Petzold Minuet in G minor, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Minuet in G minor from Anna Magdalena Collection, pianist, piano, piano addict, Piano Street, piano student, Piano World, playing piano, Skype, Skyping piano lessons, video piano instruction, videotaped piano instruction, word press, you tube

A video supplement to a Skyped piano lesson (Instruction for Minuet in G minor from Anna Magdalena Bach’s Notebook)

Following today’s Skyped lesson to Pennsylvania, I created a video to reinforce instruction pertaining to the “Minuet in G minor” from the Anna Magdalena Bach Collection. This composition is attributed to Christian Petzold.

My adult student wanted to study this piece which has challenging Baroque-style phrasing and articulation.

During our class time today we examined the need for a rolling wrist forward motion to execute larger groupings of notes. (This fluid approach avoids finger poking, and phrase distortion)

As it played out, related choreography was woven into the pupil’s Dozen and Day “Walking and Running” five-finger position warm-ups that were extended to 32nd notes in legato/staccato.


Video supplements allow the student to revisit parts of her lesson and improve the quality of practicing during the week.

These are uploaded on You Tube as UNLISTED or can be marked PRIVATE if requested.



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Skyping piano lessons with an iMac, Logitech cam, and Yeti mic (videos)

Here’s my set-up for Skyped piano instruction.

A travel itinerary minus airport delays and x-ray scanners included stop-offs in Pennsylvania, Sydney, Australia; Portland Oregon, and London, England.

Lessons have been scheduled as needed.

A Power Point-less presentation offers more:


A Skype lesson-in-progress to Sydney fleshes out a bi-screen video landscape. (two Logitechs in synch)

I always suggest video supplements to real-time, virtual learning because they allow a closer examination of student problem areas with an eye toward remedies.

Video sharing is even better, where a pupil sends off an Unlisted or Private You Tube playing snippet, and I dash off a video response.

In a word, modern technology in various forms can be enlisted to meet the needs of students who require scheduling convenience amidst a busy work day, or who live in a rural area without easy access to a private teacher.


LINK: A Video supplement to a Skyped piano lesson


Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

In my instructional video, I discuss how Mozart’s light-hearted Rondo is formed and ways to practice it. (The Rondo has a redundant “A” section, interspersed with contrasting B, C, D, etc. musical material)

There’s a dualism of “A” minor/”A” Major in this concluding movement, not to mention a very moving “D” section interlude in F# minor (which is the relative minor of “A” Major)

From measure 89 to the end of the piece, however, the composer resoundingly affirms “A” Major.

I find the whole movement to be innovative in this tonal dimension where the composer saturates the listener with the recurring “A” Minor Rondo (A) section, then teases with the parallel “A” Major interludes and other tonal escapades before he finally settles into “A” MAJOR. Although the opening KEY signature is A Minor, the movement transforms to “A” Major and stays there for more than a page. And if you…

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"Tales of a Musical Journey", "Tales of a Musical Journey" by Irina Gorin, Irina Gorin, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Minuet by Reinagle, pianist, piano, piano instruction, piano lessons, piano teaching, playing piano, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, teaching piano to children, whole body listening, whole body music listening, word press, word, wordpress,, you tube, you tube video, yout tube

Piano Lesson: Rina, 5, learns to play legato across five fingers from C to G and back

Six months of piano lessons:

Rina made a big jump today after having had considerable experience playing single, detached fingers for all notes in the music alphabet. In addition she’s been rolling pairs of fingers to create a nice legato from note to note. (2-note slurs) I’ve prepped her with 1,2 and in reverse, 2 to 1; 2 to 3, 3 to 2; 3 to 4, 4 to 3, etc. in each separate hand.

Prior to Rina’s new exploration of finger-to-finger legato, she had played “Frere Jacques” and “Twinkle, Twinkle,” using single, detached, fingers, of each hand in Major and parallel minor.

Most recently, she embarked upon Minuet by Reinagle from Faber’s Elementary Developing Artist series. (still using one finger at a time, non-legato)

Today, I felt was the right moment to string notes together smooth and connected, using middle C to G and back with a rolling motion across these notes, thumb, 2, 3, 4, 5 and in reverse.

Not seen on camera, is Rina doing the same in the Left Hand, starting point, Middle C. (finger 5)

I also drew a horizontal line through the black circle, known to her as the “short” sound, to indicate MIDDLE C’s notational identity.

In the last few weeks, she has been “reading” floating notes, as black circles, white circles, white circle with a dot, (dotted-half note) running notes (8ths) and an oval- shaped note with thick boundaries: “whole note hold down.”

These have been separately arranged on the music rack in cardboard form, and randomized for Rina to clap and then set to an individually designated note and finger. (alternating hands)

Rina has from the outset explored smooth “rainbow movements” between octave notes, and has been saturated with the spongy, supple wrist, and “weeping willow” relaxed arms. (borrowed from Irina Gorin’s Tales of a Musical Journey)

Here’s a snatch from today’s lesson that was hallmarked by the progression to legato playing.

Rina is now practicing the first phrase of the Reinagle Minuet LEGATO in measures 4 (B, C, D) and 7-8. (G to D) (Right Hand)

In the B section she today learned to ROTATE from C (finger 1) to G (finger 5) measure 7-8. (We have stopped there for now)

She had no problem with the ROTATION motion, and it made the leap easy to navigate.

My recording of the Minuet on You Tube has been the aural and physical model for Rina’s approach to this piece, following her period of playing detached notes with the same finger.

I embrace the philosophy that NO method book is tailor made to fit a child’s musical growth and development at the piano. Each student needs adjustments based upon physical and musical abilities.

It’s the teacher’s job to be creative and intuitive about what seems the best route, making pivotal decisions along the way.


Rina shows outstanding progress through 6 months of piano lessons. Videos of Rina playing “Frere Jacques,” and “Twinkle, Twinkle.”

Andrew Li pianist, Chopin Scherzo No. 1, George Li pianist, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Mozart Piano Concerto no. 17 in G K. 453, pianist, playing piano, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, word press, word, wordpress,, you tube, you tube video

A Musical Family: Andrew Li, 11, follows older brother, George to the piano

I was awestruck by a You Tube video recommended by George Li, a 16-year old pianist with an impressive performance resume. He had recommended a sample of his younger brother’s playing on a Spring Sunday morning.

With the family tie-in whetting my curiosity, I didn’t hesitate to mouse tap to a special treat:

Andrew, 11, performed Chopin’s Scherzo no. 1 at his teacher’s student recital, March 24, 2012. (Dorothy Shi)

In this Chamber Music Setting, Andrew displayed sensitive ensemble playing. It was an opportunity provided by the New England Conservatory Prep Division.

The two brothers, together collaborated on Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 in G, K. 453 (first movement)

George played the Tutti, (Orchestra part) to his brother, Andrew’s solo.

Start at 3:28 in the video

As I gather answers to questions posed to George, it will illuminate a kindred passion for the piano shared by both brothers.

In the meantime, here’s the Village TREE of support George Li is grateful for: (Click VILLAGE tab)

I’m sure Andrew’s branches are now sprouting.


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Piano Technique: Reeling off parallel thirds in staccato (with a trampoline effect)

The playground as music teacher applies:

My brood of students and I enjoy the romp through a set of parallel thirds within a five-finger position.

In our escapade, we usually dance through the Major and parallel minor tonalities.

Interplay, back and forth always helps. It allows the teacher to model physical ingredients of a buoyant staccato.

Arms and wrists should be relaxed, and suggested points of energy renewal are identified. Ilyana, 8, punctuated these with claps before she gave it a whirl.

The video reveals more: