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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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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.

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J.S. Bach and tempo in his Little Preludes

How do we make decisions about the time frame reference of Bach's music?

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The joy of working on Chopin’s phrasing with an adult student (Waltz in A minor, No. 19, Op. Posth.) Videos

A teacher/student musical collaboration is a uniquely poetic experience..


Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

An adult student and I worked on relaxation techniques that applied to her warm-ups. We practiced preparation for starting notes of broken chords and scales.

I recommended a slow and deep ingestion of air before the release of a stream, that has a perfect moment to create an opening sound or tone. Music and the synchronized breath are at ONE.

Most students will fall hard on an opening note, sending it down stream, without the necessary spring forward energy to perpetuate the flow of a phrase. A poke, jab, or premature gesture, can cause entrapment of a note that has only given birth to itself without relation to others.

Pianists must be singers, with a generous flow of circulating breath to feed phrases. We are otherwise, separated from strings inside the piano, unable to directly pluck them or draw a bow over their surface. Our challenge is to bridge a…

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Playing the piano expressively with a full gamut of emotions (Blogged from Mo’ Joe’s Cafe in southwest Berkeley)

Today I attended a well-promoted "Shut Up and Write Meet-up." The environment: An easy jazz backdrop with companion coffee mocha, whip cream swirl. No cell phone ring-tones or e-mail heart-song alerts. Just a noisy backdrop--children, adults, plates, forks, your order's ready, name calling. My project: I was riveted to a post at Facebook's The Art… Continue reading Playing the piano expressively with a full gamut of emotions (Blogged from Mo’ Joe’s Cafe in southwest Berkeley)