I found the perfect solution to practicing the Schubert Fantasie in F minor without my duet partner, since she's absent for 6 days of the week. While we rehearse on Thursdays, the piano bench literally shrinks putting us both at risk for hand collisions and body blows. In truth, the pushes and shoves have more… Continue reading Going Solo with the Schubert Fantasie for 4-hands
Andras Schiff, known for playing Bach "purely" without pedal, encourages piano students to indulge J.S. as actors cultivate Shakespeare. It's our daily "bread," he insists. Regardless of his mixed metaphor, I concur that studying the works of Johann Sebastian Bach builds a solid foundation for exploring music of all historical eras. And to pore over… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Allemande from J.S. Bach French Suite no. 5 in G Major
WQXR F.M. (NYC based) has posted its latest set of meta-based analyses of "deliberate practice" studies. (A mouthful of confusion to begin with!) Three researchers teamed up to discount the wise old adage that "practice makes perfect." (In their probings, they were "virtuosity" centered) The trio concluded that a much smaller percentage of so-called high-powered… Continue reading Does practice make perfect?
When a newbie knocks on my door, not knowing how to read music, but is starving for a connection to the great "Classical" piano masterworks, I have to figure out a way to engage his interest in the earliest phase of learning without losing him along the way. One approach is to go the "method"… Continue reading An adult beginning piano student helps to shape his musical journey
The E minor Nocturne Op. 72, No. 1 has a redundant flowing broken chord bass that becomes intensified through melodic climaxes. Still, the binary division of each measure, with some relief on the second half of each, preserves a relentless rocking motion throughout the composition. In this lesson-in-progress, an adult student who returned to the… Continue reading An adult piano student floats a Chopin Nocturne
Most students become very disconnected when traveling through a staccato scale so their journey from lift-off to landing is often bumpy. In the E minor Natural form, for example, a redundant E, F# occurring in every octave will fool a player into thinking he's got to brace for ELEVATION that makes his hand jerk forward… Continue reading Staccato scales: Staying on the PLANE without a bumpy ride
The BACKDROP Over in Fairbanks, Alaska the awards ceremony that capped a prolonged Internet channeled e-competition was dragged out mercilessly. Every sponsor under the sun had to be acknowledged, including Yamaha International that put its Disklavier center stage, UP-staging the old-fashioned way of delivering music to audiences. Would you believe, laudatory performances were memorialized on… Continue reading Two side-by-side approaches to Schubert and ONE wins a prize