adult piano instruction, E minor Arpeggio, piano blog, piano instruction, piano lessons, piano technique, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten

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.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.