Hand-switching and Chopin (making a piano duet out of a solo)

I did a double take watching footage of yesterday’s lesson in the El Cerrito Hills. Seeing two arms, one half-sleeved, and the other firmly wrapped in olive green, made me wonder if an alien from Mars had landed squarely at the piano.

Upon closer inspection, the camera had played tricks on me, creating an optical illusion.

In real time, I invited my adult student to divide the bass and treble between us, in Chopin’s Waltz in C# Minor, Op. 64, No. 2.

And here’s the flipso chango version:

Since the pupil had some footing in the piece, no pun intended, it was nice to do reverse role playing. Or was it ROLL playing?

The adjective inspired the lesson opener with its introductory C# minor scale.

My pupil breezed through C# minor (natural) in floating form.


(Notice her flexible wrist)

The icing on the cake, Chopin’s C# minor Waltz was perfectly sequenced to draw in and apply c# minor topography– but it was only the tip of iceberg, if one considers modulations and the inherent “surprises” by chromatic movement that permeate this composition (with the exception of its piu mosso, B section)

Nonetheless, an awareness of ensemble in a duet partnership, made us listen more attentively to each other while we considered balance, voicing, dynamics, and a cohesive singing pulse as important musical ingredients of our collaboration.

Of most importance, was the student’s baby step advance in her learning process. (She had already parceled out the fundamental bass, after beat chords, soprano line and inner voices) in the first section before we became duo partners.

About arioso7: Shirley Kirsten

International piano teacher by Skype, recording artist, composer, piano finder, freelance writer, film maker, story teller: Grad of the NYC HS of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU (Master of Arts) Studies with Lillian Freundlich and Ena Bronstein; Master classes with Murray Perahia and Oxana Yablonskaya. Studios in BERKELEY and EL CERRITO, California; Member, Music Teachers Assoc. of California, MTAC; Distance learning and Skyped instruction with supplementary videos: SKYPE ID, shirleypiano1 Contact me at: shirley_kirsten@yahoo.com OR http://www.youtube.com/arioso7 or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, http://facebook.com /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: http://twitter.com/arioso7 Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
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