Piano technique is about flexibility not finger strength

I remember my days at the Oberlin Conservatory pumping out meaningless Schmitt finger exercises, often holding notes down, while a selected persecuted finger had to brave the pain is gain ritual. (tap, tap, tap, tap, and move on to the next unlucky digit)

Looking back, it was a wasted effort which had NO relationship to fluid, beautiful piano playing. Yet so many “Performance” MAJORS hammered away through paper thin walls of stacked CON practice rooms hoping to build a SOLID technique.

NO doubt these Ex-CONS (at graduation) would surely find it a challenge to survive the rigors of mechanical drills outside prison confines, with injury being the price of senseless repetition and overuse.

finger in splint

And to think my beloved piano teacher, Lillian Freundlich that I left behind in NYC to attend her Alma Mater, had sent me off to do hard labor. (My apologies to Oberlin classmates who might have had exposure to better teaching methods in the LEARNING and LABOR school)

Learning and Labor better

To provide an example of how I emancipated myself from the no pain/no gain paradigm so respected back in my ancient student days, I’ve made this 9-minute video exploring how to learn a devilish fast passage, by organizing, blocking, singing and shaping the line. (No POWER DRILLS, if you please!)

It’s a NO sweat approach to playing a tricky phrase from Haydn’s HOBOKEN 52 Sonata in Eb (Finale: PRESTO)

Haydn sonata segment RONDO

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
This entry was posted in classissima, classissima.com, Franz Josef Haydn, Haydn Sonata in Eb Hob.XVI:52 (Rondo), Haydn Sonatas, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Oberlin Conservatory, piano lessons, piano study, piano technique, Schmitt exercises, Shirley Kirsten, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, youtube.com and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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