I used to customarily record segments of lessons in progress that required sensitive editing before I uploaded them to you tube. It was not only a big job, but much of the video time was taken up with students lumbering through difficult passages, needing more settled post-lesson time to sift through teacher corrections, comments. Therefore… Continue reading Piano Lesson summary videos cut to the chase
For twelve days pianos of all shapes and sizes were sprinkled through a verdant paradise as players with diverse repertoire from jazz to Classical serenaded clusters of listeners and a large brood of Canadian Geese. Nature's backdrop was irresistible. This white grand was a challenge to navigate with its stiff, moisture-filled action, though some players… Continue reading Flower Piano in photos at the San Francisco Botanical Garden
I recall my early childhood in the East Bronx on Featherbed Lane. At age 2 or 3, I was exposed to music emanating from a victrola perched on a corner table in a small two-room flat. From sunrise to sunset, heart-throbbing violin concertos, interspersed with operatic solos of Puccini played endlessly. My mother, standing by… Continue reading Early Musical Exposure and its importance
Most piano teachers get inquiries from parents who are riveted to "methods." The most frequently posed question is, "can you tell me how you teach?" Under duress and painted into a corner, a prospective mentor's perfect, all-encompassing answer seems unattainable. And upon closer consideration, a boundary limited approach for every student who crosses the threshold… Continue reading Does any one piano method or playing approach work?
Sometimes we learn a floating, flowing path to beauty through the unfortunate school of HARD knocks. To this effect, I recall my esteemed Oberlin Conservatory piano teacher dealing in mindless, stressful repetitions of meaningless exercises that caused joint pain and unremarkable displays of flat-lined, tightly squeezed playing. His teaching, to an extreme level of adherence… Continue reading Piano Technique: No Pain, Much Gain
The legendary pianist, Shura Cherkassky made triple ppps (pianississimos) melt in his hands through a fluid keyboard approach that encompassed an array of colors and shadings. In Shura's exemplary performance of Saint-Saens' Swan the pianist's multi-voice tier of dynamics was particularly astounding for its repository of textural timbres. Not surprisingly, the artist's touch sensitivity intertwined… Continue reading Tiers of dynamics, well-regulated pianos, and expressive playing
It would be easy to reel off a list of prizes in 4 separate Moscow competition categories and characterize all recipients as "winners,"--that is if we put music-making into the sports arena with a clear cut victor and an opposing loser. In pro-tennis, for example, where a point-scoring system is in part influenced by calls… Continue reading The Big Winner in the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition!