If you want to pick your brain, ultra-analyzing a scale: finding symmetries, asymmetries, reciprocals, common tones with common fingers, upside down, inside-out relationships between the hands, and anything else that will solidify it, you might add an extra few senility-proof years to your life. Example: I can't remember my neighbor's first name, or my best… Continue reading The Anatomy of a Scale
In the course of teaching, a situation may arise where a particular favored piece is requested by a student that I've never studied--which means a deep-layered journey is ahead of two learning partners. And given that J.S. Bach's Prelude and Fugue in Ab, (Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1) requires thoughtful fingering choices; an awareness of Baroque… Continue reading J.S. Bach Prelude in Ab, BWV 862: A Fresh Start for Student and Teacher
Within 48 hours, high-level music-making was heard in vastly different venues. Louise Davies Hall with its golden hue of lights and balconies provided a stunning backdrop for Daniil Trifonov’s heart-throbbing performance of Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas. Respighi’s Roman Festivals that concluded the concert, pierced the sound barrier in… Continue reading Two San Francisco musical attractions: Pianist, Trifonov and a Chinese Harpist
One of the biggest challenges for pianists, particularly in the staccato playing scale cosmos, is to avoid a downward, pack-a-punch "thumpy thumb! This unwanted lead weight-loaded attack often interrupts a buoyantly springy journey, transforming it into crowded pile-up of space-less notes. Yet it seems inevitable that the shortest finger of each hand would overcompensate for… Continue reading Piano Technique: Avoiding thumpy thumbs!
We sometimes think of our childhood in musical terms. Seymour Bernstein mentions hearing Schubert's Standchen that brought him to tears. Otherwise his home was bereft of music, let alone the time-honored Classics. It was mostly silent. I was bathed in Yiddish melodies that my South Bronx grandmother (bubbe) sang in her beautifully tremulous voice, but… Continue reading The Jewish New Year ushers in poignant musical memories
Awakenings alternately occur between teacher and student, especially if they're collectively open to them. And embracing this sharing spirit, I welcome ideas from pupils about phrasing, technique, etc. since we enjoy a common journey of discovery. By chance, one student brought a "new" fingering for his assigned D Major arpeggio in 10ths, and it worked so… Continue reading An Adult Piano Student teaches the Teacher
Amazing how 90-degree temperatures in the East Bay can wreak havoc over Face Time transmissions. It nearly made Online mentoring come to a grinding halt yesterday! except that a Quick Time saving grace Lesson Preserver came to the rescue! *** In my Scotland travels, I'm accustomed to subbing in the iPhone for the iMac because… Continue reading A “cool” dip into Quicktime for wrist, finger, and forearm staccato practice