Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, piano teaching,

Piano Practicing: Infusing repetition with imagination

A popular discussion on Internet Piano forums is how to approach repetitions in the context of piano study. For many students the very act of going over a passage, scale, or five-finger position more than once, amounts to meaningless drudgery. In the same vein, “boring” is a rampant description children apply to warm-up routines.

But in fact, the moment tiny or large hands make contact with the keys, a journey begins that a teacher should lead in imaginative directions.

In my video, I suggest a diverse framing of five-finger positions, for example, that might lure pupils into a rewarding artistic universe. And for youngsters and adults alike, “rolling” into passages, as opposed to vertical finger poking can create a “new” playing vista; same for “momma” and baby “woodpecker” auto-suggestions that can animate staccato playing.

Following these demonstrations, I make the transition to a Minuet in G from Anna Magdalena Bach’s Notebook where the opening broken chords gracefully roll out, in a “conversation” between the hands.

Minuet in G

Certainly, drawing on these images and metaphors when practicing puts repetition into a whole new realm making it an appealing adventure.

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