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I’m about to leave for NYC.. will be back in a few days.

Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

Today, I’ll fly back to New York City for my mother’s Memorial, and in a tight 4-day span I’ll visit the edifice of my High School of Performing Arts,

a designated landmark at 46th and 6th Avenue. Ironically, I recently unearthed a graduation photo that shows me holding a Music award in the presence of my late father, and dear friend, Setsuko Nagata, violinist.

Performing Arts Graduation 1

(Over the coming weekend I’ll join in PA reunion activities that happened to fall during my stay–a nice coincidence.)

I’ll be sure to hop the IRT subway to W. 103rd, and saunter over to 105th and Riverside Drive where I took piano lessons with the late, Lillian Freundlich, expecting more than a gulp of emotion.

Two musical friends live fairly close by, so I’ll spend time with them, and tickle the ivories.

The old Sohmer upright, that was my first “real” piano, and formerly housed in…

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andante movement Mozart sonata in C K. 545, classical music, classissima.com, Mozart, Mozart Sonata in C K. 545, piano, piano instruction, piano lessons, Uncategorized, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube.com

The pianist as conductor, choreographer, and singer (Mozart Andante, Sonata in C Major, K. 545)

How to integrate the physical, emotional and singable when learning Mozart's Sonata in C Major, K. 545, Andante.

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Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

These are two supplementary videos that I created for adult students between lessons. As previously mentioned, they clarify and reinforce the content of our class, and map out ways to practice.

I. ROTATION at the turnaround of a B minor Arpeggio

Exploring the curve at the very top of the figure with an energy boost to transition smoothly in the descent (legato and staccato playing in two dynamic ranges)

II. The roll-in, wrist forward motion when starting the arpeggio, or coming around in a sequence of playings

C Major Scale

I. Blocking (separate hands)–block out “tunnels” through which the thumb passes (D,E and then GAB with thumbs played softly in between)

II. Find common fingers and notes between the hands (such as 3’s on E and A) Same for common thumb points.

III. Scope out the “bridge” over the octave, B, C, D and note how the fingers…

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Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

One of the loudest protests I’d ever heard, came from a 13-year old piano student who screamed at the top of her lungs on the doorstep of my house. Her mother was trying to clip her overgrown fingernails on the eve of a Middle School dance, and the teen loathed the idea of losing her adornments.

In the “short” term the student complied with my requirement to have the pads of her fingers exposed for piano playing, but once high school rolled around, it was a different story. Full-blown adolescent rebellion had set in.

At least two to three times per year my secondary school pupils have come to lessons with fake, long finger nails and navigate the keyboard like they were skating on ice. The click clack, tap, tap percussive effect is pronounced, and nobody gets anywhere fast, unless playing a Flamenco style piece that could use a pair…

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Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

First I thought about Pianorama, which would be a catchy title describing a marathon of student performances sponsored by a local Music Teachers Association. In fact years ago we had one of these in Fresno, where I used to teach.

But for all intents and purposes, Pianodrama comes closer to the truth about the life of a piano teacher through thick and thin. It reads like a soap opera script.

Let’s for a moment dive down into the dark regions of piano teaching:

Roll it, take 1:

Set up scene:

Student comes to lesson needing to wash his hands. He spends 15 minutes each week in the upstairs bathroom. That’s after he’s come to class, 15 minutes late.

The Big Question: How much invaluable time is left for instruction? About a quarter hour? Sounds better than “15 minutes.”

In a matter of weeks, he disappears from two consecutive lessons…

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Chopin Prelude in E Minor Op. 28 no. 4, Frederic Chopin, piano, playing piano, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube.com, yout tube, youtube.com

Play the piano like it’s a violin (Thoughts on practicing Chopin’s Prelude in E minor, Op. 28 no. 4)

If pianists would think of the string or vocal model when playing, their phrases would be sculpted and shaped nicely.

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Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

I’m soon to embark for NYC to attend a Memorial service for my beloved aunt. Only this time around, I’ll be flying out of the San Francisco Airport. (I relocated to Berkeley, California in September 2012 following a 30-year death sentence in Fresno)

Two years ago, a movie-threaded narrative plotted all possible outcomes of my journey East, with colorful scenarios rolled from a red carpet unwelcome mat.

So it’s a no-brainer that a nostalgic blog revisit is the best prep for my upcoming trip:

***

It’s countdown time. I’ll leave Fresno from the “Dullest” airport tomorrow at the crack of dawn. No, it’s not Dulles in DC, but our very own, renamed “Fresno/Yosemite International Air Terminal.”

My daughter, Aviva rehashed the hilarious mix-up in her film compilations, “Did Somebody Say Fresno?!” Parts 1 through 6, when she lifted the best forgotten double entendres out of grade B movie obscurity. (Tom…

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Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

I was joined by a surprise visitor while videotaping myself playing the Chopin Waltz in A minor, a composition discovered long after the composer’s death. (Cataloged as “Opus Posthumous”)

I had been tirelessly recording the piece for about 20 times in the sanctity of my piano room, while Aiden had been shuttled off to the bedroom out of collar-bell range.

Feeling squeezed out during my rehearsals of the melancholy Waltz, he knew where my heart was, and it was a no brainer that he wanted to be stage center, getting his emotional strokes.

Artfully, he had slipped out of the bedroom and perched himself squarely on my piano bench, nestling with me for the duration of the Waltz. And at mid point in the composition, I felt his sleek body re-adjust and twitch a bit, before the video indicated that he threw a gaze in the direction of the keyboard…

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Christmas music, Harry Simeone, Henry Onorati, Katherine Davis, Little Drummer Boy Christmas carol, piano, piano instruction, piano lessons, piano teaching, Theory, Theory and piano lessons, word press, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube video, you tube.com, yout tube, youtube.com

Piano Lessons: Theory and Christmas Music interwoven (Videos)

Music Theory is often dreaded by piano students so why not make it intrinsic to learning an appealing selection.