adult piano instruction, arpeggios, legato, piano instruction, piano pedagogy, piano technique, scales, staccato

Piano Technique in the PLAY-ground: Thumb to thumb swings and more

The playground can be the best music teacher. Thumb swinging, for example, to smooth out shifts through scales, is practiced by an adult student. (She had initially lost her “feel” for spacing between long and short tunnels, through which her thumb passed). A blocking approach preceded the swing routine that carefully marked out groups of notes and their geography. But the momentum of the thumbs’ journey had to have a “springing up” up dimension, or at least a mental image attached to “lift” up the shifts, supported by buoyant arms and wrists. In the video below, the student works on achieving a relaxed physical abandon in the key of G Major that’s akin to a playground romp.

In the second video, my pupil practices a refinement of her Staccato through a G Major arpeggio. Blocking coupled with a build-up of notes through incremental groupings were the springboard for alternating a rolling legato with “snipped” (crisp, detached) notes.

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