El Cerrito piano studio

Teaching “Clowns” by Kabalevsky from the Op. 39 Children’s Pieces (Video)

Kabalevsky's ebullient miniature teaches technique while it satisfies a student's musical appetite.

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The Gooden College Connection is about helping minority kids navigate the tough road to college

Andrew M. Gooden and his wife, Ruth Kleinman join a Board of GCC volunteers to make college access a reality for students who might otherwise be lost in the shuffle.

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New, second blog site at Word Press…

Hallowed ground or a dumpsite of Bezerkeley rental rejects?

Chopin Prelude in E Minor Op. 28 no. 4, chromaticism, classissima, classissima.com, Ffrederic Chopin, Frederic Chopin, Romantic era piano music, Romantic music, tempo rubato

Where harmonies shape phrases: Chopin’s Prelude in E minor, Op. 28, No. 4

Chopin cloaked one of his most memorable preludes in lush harmonies that reveal the beauty of a simple melody.

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Rina, 5, practices “The Hunting Call” by Gurlitt

Rina grabbed an opportunity to sit at the "big" piano yesterday afternoon to practice Gurlitt's "The Hunting Call." A sparkling little piece, Gurlitt's gem is the third in a sequence that I pulled from Faber's Developing Artist series, Preparatory Piano Literature. The others have included Reinagle's G Major "Minuet," and Turk's "Little March" that primed… Continue reading Rina, 5, practices “The Hunting Call” by Gurlitt


Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

Using Solfeggio or Solfege to advance ear training and to transpose pieces into various tonal regions is very helpful for piano students of all levels.

If we set a goal of memorizing the first 8 notes of a scale using the syllables, Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti (or Si) Do, we’re on our way to understanding musical lines in any key that will have a common point of reference. This presupposes that “Do” (or the first note of any scale) is MOVABLE.

In C Major, “Do” would be C. In G Major, it would be “G,” and so forth.

With MINOR tonalities, the first note of a scale in any form whether it be Natural, Harmonic, or Melodic would also be “Do,” but certain internal alterations of the minor scale according to its structure and content would have the following solfeggiated syllables:

For C minor Natural form: C…

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Technique is creatively woven into the piano learning environment from the very beginning of study

A discussion is intensifying on Facebook's "The Art of Piano Pedagogy" about teaching technique as a separate sphere of learning, versus an inseparable part of the total music-making process. I tend to embrace a style of teaching that fuses all ingredients together. This bias does not rule out quality time I assign students to practice… Continue reading Technique is creatively woven into the piano learning environment from the very beginning of study

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A Purr-fect sedative for a Cat

"Harmony of the Angels" has a soporific effect on Aiden cat while it provided a relaxing prelude to Rina's earliest piano lessons. Students, young and old, love its thread of sonorities.

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Piano Technique: The Spongy Wrist is a great shock absorber and singing tone supporter

Rina, age 5, and Emily, 13, both learned about the supple wrist and how it nurtures a beautiful singing tone at the piano.


Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

You can’t avoid it. Athletics are part of piano playing so if you abuse your hands, arms, wrists, let alone your fingers, you’ll end up benched, like an overused relief pitcher.

Yesterday, I pushed the envelope, practicing rapid fire repeated notes in Domenico Scarlatti’s Toccata in D minor, well into the night. Ample streams of adrenaline fueled my earliest efforts, but after three uninterrupted hours, my fingers felt like silly putty, while my arms ached. Like a well-primed hurler, I had gone too many extra innings.

Word of warning: Even if you have a big arm swing, and can mix up your stuff, repeating a particular motion over and again, like a set of Forte parallel octaves, can cause an overuse injury.

From the Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin, Summer 1999:

“Dr. Fred Hochberg, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, began treating instrumentalists’ injuries about 15 years ago, when a friend…

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