Yu has been my Skype student for a few years now and she's made big gains in producing a singing tone with supple wrists, relaxed arms, and hand/finger weight transfer. Today she assiduously practiced her F# Major Scale and Arpeggio, energizing forearm and wrist staccato. Using "cupped hands" for her power driven forearm staccato on… Continue reading A London piano student fine tunes her F# Major scales and arpeggios (staccato and legato)
Choking up is probably the best description of what often happens to final scale octaves and their turnaround. Students get anxious at the terminus, and tend to crowd notes as if they're racing to the finish line, when in fact, they're only half way through. So psychologically, it's best if the peak octave is viewed… Continue reading Piano Technique: Remediating peak octave scale paralysis (Staccato)
https://youtu.be/paGtKTD4RfA I think Maestro Berman said it well, yet from my own experience, over-practicing is less a problem than failing to listen attentively through every phase of learning a composition. If a student does not fine tune each repetition, but considers only right notes in fast speed as the desired end, then phrasing, nuance and… Continue reading Boris Berman: How to connect with the music after over-practicing
When considering ways to pedal Chopin's ethereal A minor Waltz, I think back to Stephen Hough and his teacher's comments about the learning process: “I don’t care how you’re playing the piece now, what I care about is how you’ll play it in 10 years.” (Gordon Green) Well as a segue way to this posting,… Continue reading Pedaling Chopin Waltz No. 19 in A minor, Op. Posthumous
One of my favorite verbal prompts to students who have a choppy approach to scales and arpeggios, is: "drag" your fingers from note note--"feel" the weight transfer with imagined resistance. I often talk about flowing "vowels" not consonants through an arpeggio. Other mental images are equally effective: Think of the piano as a bowl of… Continue reading Piano Technique: Playing LEGATO can be a drag!
In this excerpt from Lara Downe's San Francisco Classical Voice interview with Stephen Hough, the universe of growth and musical ripening is explored. Lara Downes: Your teacher, Gordon Green, was a great influence and inspiration to you, and you’ve quoted him as saying to you, when you were a young student: “I don’t care how… Continue reading Pianist, Stephen Hough talks about growing a piece over time
All too often piano students give up on a piece after so many weeks of exposure, thinking the fingering is settled, the beats are well-measured, and the notes have fallen into place. At this juncture, a Big STOP SIGN must impede the restless from plunging into a new musical journey despite their belief that the… Continue reading Stay LONGER with a piece for higher levels of learning and awareness