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Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

In my four decades of teaching piano, I never had a student recital quite like this one. Reams of Irina Gorin’s pupils ascend the stage in Indiana at what looks like a piano store with a recital hall. (The backdrop is the Meridian Music Company’s Munger Hall) There’s a Steinway for the children to play on, and a second piano that I’m assuming is the same judging by its timbre.

A 4-year old boy leads the troupe, playing a Russian folk melody that comes straight from a Tschaikovsky Symphony. The child has been studying piano for just 4 months and already he’s at ONE with the instrument. His relaxed arms, supple wrists flow in and out of phrases, communicating a primordial connection to the music. He’s well on his way.

Another child performs a concerto movement by Peskanov as the teacher plays the tutti, orchestra part at the second…

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Two musical Eulogies for Newtown’s fallen

Two musical offerings are grief-filled expressions of enduring loss in Newtown, Connecticut.

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Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

While the study of two musical instruments is time-consuming, it can reap benefits in widening a student’s horizons.

If a pupil plays only piano for years on end he may deny himself the rich experience of participating in an orchestra or small ensemble. And while it’s true that some pianists manage to grab a score in Junior High with a token part in the midst of blaring brass, or heaving saxophones, it’s not enough. Keeping rhythm but being muted into the background does not equal a thoughtful interaction of voices in a group music setting.

Too often, piano players are in a slush pile of extras, waiting for a chorus line call that never comes.

Where a pianist can be on a more equal footing in a jazz combo, or as a vital part of a classical trio or quartet, then the work required will be more substantial and the…

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The Haydn Piano Sonata in C, UNPINNED, and matters of Memorization

Pianists are expected to perform on stage without music. It's a controversial area worth probing.

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The C Major Scale universe: metric and muscle memory; shaping and tapering

The C Major scale is more than meets the "I," if you're the one practicing it!

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No Skimming the surface in piano warm-ups and a Chopin exchange with a sixth-grader

Lucy started piano about four years ago in El Cerrito, a short Bart ride from Berkeley, my current residence. A transfer student, she'd been immersed in Bastien primers and hand-outs of various patriotic pieces. Note-reading skills were minimal. Over time, as our musical relationship unfolded, Lucy played scales, arpeggios, and through her patient efforts performed… Continue reading No Skimming the surface in piano warm-ups and a Chopin exchange with a sixth-grader