Welcome to a whirlwind round of musical chairs, with a good, healthy workout thrown in. I never expected the Valencia, Spain import to challenge my athletic prowess. But for certain, I'd been primed for this bench press Olympiad having done my daily Gravitron, along with pull-ups and push-ups at the Downtown Berkeley Y. My daily… Continue reading Playing Musical Chairs with my new Hidrau, hydraulic piano bench
“The habit of counting correctly but playing unrhythmically develops easily in the beginning and is too often overlooked.” – Richard Chronister (A Piano Teacher’s Legacy, Ed. Edward Darling) http://www.amazon.com/Teachers-Selected-Writings-Richard-Chronister/dp/0976116308 I love this quote, because many students count out beats quite methodically but without musical meaning. Their metrical repetitions serve little purpose if the goal of… Continue reading “Counting Correctly, but Playing Un-rhythmically”
It's common for piano students to divide their scales into well-boxed rhythmic compartments, emphasizing the fundamental beat that interrupts a smooth flowing legato (connecting from note to note). Sometimes players are unaware of their reinforced "beat" counting impulses and need occasional reminders of what's communicated to the listener. (who happens to be the innocent bystander… Continue reading Piano Technique: Playing scales without bumps or accents
I just sent the following message back East! "Seymour, May this be the best year ever with continued celebration of your wondrous achievements as a pianist, teacher, composer, author, philosopher, and global musical ambassador." While gratitude is expressed far and wide for what Seymour Bernstein has advanced in the musical and interpersonal communication universe, he… Continue reading Happy Birthday, Seymour Bernstein!
I'm very concerned about my Southern USA students' pianos that are subject to warbling unisons, or wavy, beating octaves. A case in point is my Kentucky Online pupil who owns a well-regarded Charles Walter upright that was tuned about 5 months ago. Yet it now has "beating" notes due to extreme vacillations of humidity in… Continue reading Climate control and Pianos: A conversation with Sam Bennett (Piano Works in Duluth, GA)
Margery Halford via Alfred publications has compiled a nice assortment of Domenico Scarlatti's Menuettos and Sonatas (essercizi) that's a satisfying "Introduction" to the Baroque era composer's music. (Scarlatti, An Introduction to his Keyboard Works) In fact, I snatched at least five of these binary form sonatas for my two-part disc in 2007, combined with the… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti’s music that’s within reach of the Intermediate level student
Today is a super-reblog day as April 19th rings in the Spring birthdays of three musical giants! First to update a documentary that I originally critiqued about Irena Orlov. https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/reaching-beyond-a-documentary-about-an-inspiring-piano-teacher/ And now the sequel: Reaching Beyond: Seven Years Later https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwckybMRXlg&feature=em-uploademail As for Murray and Yevgeny, their artistry has been spread far and wide through my… Continue reading Happy Birthday, Irena Orlov, Murray Perahia, and Yevgeny Sudbin!
My latest awakening occurred during a piano lesson last night with a student who loves Bach and nearly dotes upon his compositions exclusively. And that's fine with me who's a companion traveler sharing a comparable love for the composer and his diversity of keyboard works. Invention 1 in C, BWV 772 is one of my… Continue reading Playing a Bach Invention: Say what you mean, and mean what HE said
A musician's understanding of a masterwork is a composite of ideas derived from many sources. In the course of piano study, perceptions change and grow, enlarged by a combined theoretical and musical examination of a composition that invites mentors into the mix. In this tutorial, I realized how I synthesized the contributions of harpsichordist, Elaine… Continue reading J.S. Bach Prelude No. 1 in C, Voicing and Harmonic Rhythm (my ideas and Seymour Bernstein’s)
When piano students first encounter a fresh page of music, they will often wade through the notes as best as they can, fumbling here and there without an adjusted framing pulse or investment of animated interest in what the notes are saying beyond their humble, accurate identity. In this early stage "reading," tempo is usually… Continue reading Approaching a brand new piece with spirit and emotion