Artful piano playing: Rising above the notes by “feeling,” singing, and “shaping” phrases

Burmguller’s “Sincerity,” Op. 100 is the perfect vehicle for spinning limpidly beautiful phrases. But how does the pianist go beyond what appears to be strings of 8th notes that can easily sound typed out.

To avoid the ponderous, vertical approach to these semi-quavers, a set of baby-step preliminaries can nurse along a heartfelt, well-“shaped” musical outpouring.

In my attached video tutorial I suggest “singing” phrases before playing them to get the “feeling” of their contour. (The student and teacher can also conduct from phrase to phrase, noting harmonic rhythm as it influences “lean” and “resolve” relationships from measure to measure)

The motions that merge with a sound ideal can be further explored and noted in journal form. (RELAXED BREATHING frames all music-making)

In the physical realm, I advocate relaxed arms, supple wrists and a continuum of energy without kinks along the way. (Make sure elbows and wrists aren’t tense) Keep shoulders relaxed and transfer upper body weighted energy into the keyboard.

A reservoir of mental and physical images plus a fine-tuned ear will no doubt support a seamless legato that permeates Burgmuller’s “Sincerity.”


My play through:


Sincerity p1

Sincerity p 2

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: OR or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
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2 Responses to Artful piano playing: Rising above the notes by “feeling,” singing, and “shaping” phrases

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