Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California

The SINGING ingredient of phrasing

When I studied piano in New York City with Lillian Lefkofsky Freundlich, she always sang over my playing as well as her own. Her habitual voice-overs that lingered for years and seeped into the depths of my musical consciousness, gave me a sense of phrase-loving that would spread far and wide in my own teaching.… Continue reading The SINGING ingredient of phrasing

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Reviewing Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor, Op. Posthumous (MOVIE THEME, THE PIANIST)

http://youtu.be/y7Kry7-jrME We have to give credit to movie-makers for putting this hauntingly beautiful composition on the popular marquee of Classical music favorites. It shares notoriety with Mozart's middle movement theme of Concerto no. 21 in C, which recurred throughout the film, Elvira Madigan. Chopin's Nocturne in C# minor was a perfect match for Roman Polanski's… Continue reading Reviewing Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor, Op. Posthumous (MOVIE THEME, THE PIANIST)

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The funniest adult piano student confessions

1) I couldn't get to the piano this week because of my constipated cat. 2) I can't play the Bb scale because it gets all "gummed up." (????) 3) The cleaning lady was vacuuming the piano, inside and out. 4) We were away on a whale-watching expedition in Baja. 5) We changed the clocks so… Continue reading The funniest adult piano student confessions

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A Peak teaching and learning experience!

Piano teachers may complain about students who hardly practice, or come to lessons with a truckload of excuses, but the times we savor are when everything seems to click. Tonight, I had a lesson with an adult student who announced immediately before playing a note that her piece "was in the doghouse." What a tension-relieving… Continue reading A Peak teaching and learning experience!

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Chopin Prelude No. 3 in G Major, Op. 28: Is the ultimate tempo within reach?

Without a doubt, Chopin's Prelude in G, Op. 28, No.3, requires a deft Left Hand that can meet the challenge of playing 16th notes in Vivace framing. (extremely quickly) The question is, can most students apply their slow practicing model to the mega-speed zone. In this connection, I often wonder, if there's an inborn disposition… Continue reading Chopin Prelude No. 3 in G Major, Op. 28: Is the ultimate tempo within reach?

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Happy Birthday, Irina Morozova!

When I first discovered Irina's collection of performances on You Tube, I surely thought heaven had descended to earth. She produced an ethereal singing tone inspired by imagination, but fine tuned with technical fluidity. Without a doubt, her repository of musical insights expanded my own piano learning journey as well as those of her students… Continue reading Happy Birthday, Irina Morozova!

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Pianist, Sara Davis Buechner lights up the Berkeley Piano Club with a special tribute

It was an afternoon to remember. Sara Davis Buechner graced the Berkeley Piano Club stage, and mesmerized her audience with a moving tribute to Reah Sadowksky. (1915-2012) She generously dedicated a solo recital "to the memory of one of America’s greatest pianists," who was her friend and inspiration. (All proceeds will benefit the Club's Dorothy… Continue reading Pianist, Sara Davis Buechner lights up the Berkeley Piano Club with a special tribute