Bezerkeley, California, cultural differences between New York City and Berkeley, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, making friends in Berkeley California, New York City, New York City versus Berkeley, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, the Big Apple, The East Bay California, word press, word, wordpress,

East Coast/West Coast (East Bay) culture shock

Recently, I made a trip back East to New York City to attend my aunt's Memorial Service, and the experience hit "home!" Being a child of the Bronx and Manhattan, my emigration to California over three decades ago, definitely came with culture shock, but my most recent relocation to the East Bay (Berkeley aka "Bezerkeley")… Continue reading East Coast/West Coast (East Bay) culture shock


My New York City High School of Performing Arts (FAME) Yearbook and what I found

I had a recent reunion with my P.A. High School Math teacher. video footage added!

Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

I wonder how many P.A. grads still have the emblematic school pin? I just recovered mine among other memorabilia contained in a big cardboard box sent from New York City.

And as I perused various Dance, Music and Drama Programs, I looked for names that might be in bright lights in each field.

For starters, I remembered Anna Horsford of Amen TV sitcom fame who cracked classmates up every time she opened her mouth. One wondered if her self-style form of comedy reflected the culture of Harlem, because it flowed effortlessly as if generations of African Americans needed humor to survive discrimination and poverty.

Here’s her pic straight out of the Yearbook. Notice her quote: “What was it? Did you call me by my name?”

That’s exactly what Anna would say, especially if called upon to read one of her essays in English class. We were all in stitches.


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Piano Instruction: Learning a Mozart Minuet is never simple (K. 6 in C Major)

The charming Mozart Minuet in C Major, K. 6, requires a baby-step, layered learning approach. What makes it challenging are the variety of shapes within phrases---groupings of two notes, then longer ones, and a sloping effect in some places, and a tapering in others. To play Mozart with beauty is to sing the separate lines… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Learning a Mozart Minuet is never simple (K. 6 in C Major)


REACHING BEYOND, a documentary about an inspiring piano teacher

Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

The plentiful gifts of Irina Gorin and her brood of piano students captivated so many after You Tube postings of musical offerings revealed soulful, expressive playing by youngsters as young as 4 to the ripe old age of 14+. A treasured group of pupils gracefully approached a Steinway grand with a finesse and creative uniqueness that radiated through each performance.

Only a few days ago, Irina had dashed off an e-mail to me following the recital:

“By the way, someone just sent me an interesting video link. I’ve never heard of this teacher, but she reminds me so much of my teacher. I just wanted to share it with you.”

This note was incentive enough for me to investigate, and I wasn’t disappointed.


The word “creative” springs forth again in a documentary about Irena Orlov, a piano teacher with a mission to realize each and every student’s…

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Physical fitness routines that aid piano playing

Being physically fit, bottom line, is always helpful to piano playing. That's why I frequent the gym every day. But I've found specific activities that more directly improve my endurance, and increase forearm and upper arm strength. (specifically my tube stretch routines that I demonstrate on video) The Gravitron is also one of my favorite… Continue reading Physical fitness routines that aid piano playing

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Mozart Rondo Alla Turca, K. 331 updated, with instruction

adult piano instruction, adult piano students, piano, piano instruction, piano lessons, the ideal adult piano student

The Ideal Adult Piano student (Humor)

In a Utopian universe: Embarks upon piano study of his/her own volition. No lurking parent, prodding relative, or "cool" friend is part of the mix. Owns an acoustic piano, with 88-functioning keys. Instrument has been tuned no greater than 8 years ago. (If digitally compromised, he/she should have a weighted keyboard---no bell and whistle, 61-key… Continue reading The Ideal Adult Piano student (Humor)