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Video supplements for piano students assist practicing

Whether giving piano lessons LIVE or by SKYPE, sending students video excerpts of their lessons-in-progress, or creating a short film that zeroes in on a particular technical challenge, is always helpful.

In the old days when I studied with Lillian Freundlich in NYC, a reel-to-reel tape recorder was the standard for memorializing lessons. No tripod or camcorder was in sight, so it was an interminable wait to the next lesson for clarification about trills, mordants, fingerings, etc.

In the Millennium it’s a different world, with Macs, Ipads, Smart Phones etc. as standard fare. Students will even mount their technology on the piano rack while practicing. (A ticking metronome is activated by iPhone)


This past week, I tabled my camcorder beside the El Cerrito Baldwin grand, and collected footage of J.C. Bach’s Prelude in A minor played by an adult student.


Since the piece is composed of woven broken chords throughout, it was useful to have the pupil block out sonorities before unraveling them.

(The challenge most face in this undertaking, is keeping a supple wrist to avoid a hard crash on the keyboard, so various mental images along with physical demonstrations often soften the impact)

The first image enlisted was playing into a bowl of “jello,” followed by “molasses,” but in the last analysis, “quicksand” worked best.

For another pupil, I created a video segment as prep for his playing a C Major scale up and down in one octave. After having added in a snatch of triplets to 16ths as applied to the Mozart Minuet in F, K. 5, I sent it out as a portable assist for a diligent student who practices over his lunch break at work.

In summary, videos prepared by teachers plus resources found on You Tube enrich the practicing environment and help pupils progress from week to week.

2 thoughts on “Video supplements for piano students assist practicing”

  1. Yes I agree! I also do my own little videos and Dropbox them along with a score to a ‘critical friend’ (my sister, also an amateur but more advanced than me). She has a look/listen then we Skype and she reports the problems she’s seen/heard. I then Skype-play the same piece, or bits of the piece, and she coaches me – usually it’s about counting! This happens in-between the lessons that I have with my actual teacher, and it helps to keep me practising. Time-consuming for the sister but she says it’s good for her musicianship as well….


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