Piano Technique: E minor arpeggios in staccato (various practicing approaches)–Video

Playing staccato triplets through romping arpeggios poses challenges for many students. Tension is triggered by what seems like disconnected notes, when in fact, the root, third, fifth progression should have a connecting thread. (despite note detachment) That’s why I’ll often recommend blocking out the arpeggio as the first preliminary to playing in LEGATO (smooth and connected) before “snipping” into staccato. (The word snip connotes the opposite of pound which provides a mental image that lightens the load)

During block practice which gives a nice sense of topography, students will separate their hands before playing hands together. The first E, is followed by clustered thirds in between thumbs. (A lateral motion in one hand is synched in with a glide over motion in the other, while wrists must be supple or flexible in all renderings) The routine is detailed in my embedded video.

Thumbs, another nemesis for students, frequently intrude upon a seamless flow of notes creating obtrusive accents and unbalanced playing. They need to be lightened and directed toward springing thirds between them. (Again the wrist cannot be locked through blocked practicing or in the unraveling process of broken chord playing) Its flexibility is pivotal to artful, expressive arpeggio playing both in legato and staccato forms.

In the footage attached, I devised a few practice modalities for a student who has exceptionally big hands, though their size had no bearing on playing the E, G, B, E configuration of notes.

His reminder that I had imparted a specific routine that helped him navigate the terrain produced the following:

I had him practice a spring forward wrist motion from E to GB (played together), then, the same followed from octave to octave. It’s a rhythmic grouping with lots of vitality that unlocks tension in the hands, wrists and arms, while it enlists a bigger, more relaxed, channeled flow of energy.

Here are the clearest examples of the approaches referenced.

Recommended Fingering:
RH E, G, B, E (1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, etc.)
LH E, G, B, E (5, 4, 2, 1 4, 2, 1, etc.)

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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