Adult Piano Instruction: Exploring weight transfer and supple wrist motions for improved phrase shaping

A new adult student is working on Beethoven’s Sonatina in F, one of the composer’s less played works, but nevertheless quite a musical gem.



While the composition has a Mozartean flavor, the abrupt shift in dynamics in the opening theme, for example, offers a glimpse into Beethoven’s later development of his larger Sonata form, where emotional highs and lows become more conspicuous with polyphonic support. (more voices)

The F Major Sonatina’s first movement is scored for two voices, yet still demands an understanding of weight transfer to produce dynamic contrasts through singing tone passages, and an exploration of supple wrist motions to improve phrasing.

In this lesson-in-progress, the student makes gains as he integrates attentive listening with needed physical expression or choreography. (He worked on refining his staccato–i.e. having destination-oriented, or directed detached notes, and enlisted a flexible wrist to resolve harmonies and taper phrases)

The concept of contrasting themes in the Exposition, sequential relationships, and key changes (Development section), expanded his understanding of the composition and how to communicate content, form, and structure in the Classical style.

Naturally, a behind tempo approach was appropriate to the student’s early learning efforts.

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: OR or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
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