Teaching a Chopin Nocturne under the influence of Arthur Rubinstein

I must admit that one of my daily activities is sampling You Tube videos of celebrated pianists, and as I teach a new composition to a student, I draw an attentive ear to pre-recorded ornament executions, phrasing, and tempo. It’s not that I want to copy another performer’s interpretation or impose a specific reading on a piano student, but eavesdropping on accomplished pianists (living and dead) is part of my well-rounded music education.

As an example, one of my pupils listened to Rubinstein’s You Tube rendered performance of the Chopin Nocturne in F minor, Op. 55, while I had done the same. Naturally, it put us both UNDER the INFLUENCE.

Not a problem.

In the literary world, fledgling writers are routinely directed to read Shakespeare, Dickens, Sinclair Lewis, Walt Whitman et al, without fearing retribution for composing virtuous prose in the style of these literary giants. In addition, they learn Form, Imagery and Prose rhythm through the Masters’ written word, and in the case of Shakespeare, by reading his plays and attending performances.

In the musical cosmos, we ingest recordings on IPods, over You Tube, and at LIVE recitals, preserving pieces of the whole in music memory chunks.

That said, teaching Chopin in the shadow of Arthur Rubinstein’s performance is actually the springboard for a greater understanding of interpretive choices without impeding individual creative expression.

And by adding Vladimir Horowitz’s reading to the mix, our sensory antennae become even more fine tuned as we make performance comparisons.

Such specifically directed attentive listening, which is at the core of piano study, is bound to advance musical development.

LESSON in PROGRESS: Chopin Nocturne in F minor, Op. 55

Chopin F minor Nocturne Op. 55



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
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