Schumann’s Kinderszenen album, (Scenes of Childhood) includes a child-inspired Rocking Horse piece that enlists spring forward wrist motions to help frame its character. If the pianist tightens up and tries to realize third beat accents with a tight jolt of a stiff hand, then it’s all over for the player who will tire quickly while undoing the rocking nature of the music.
So what better opportunity exists for a piano teacher than to AWAKEN a student to a redundant motion that enlivens a composition and keeps it percolating with well-delivered energies.
But the mentor should also enlighten the pupil about the multi-dimensional nature of the Rocking Horse that’s not necessarily pumping back and forth in needless repetition. There’s syncopated rhythm; melody and counter-melody, as well as perfect fifths that are inverted to perfect fourths that carry a snatch of the opening thread. It’s the probing musician, therefore, who will discover that the wrist spring forward motions are part of a larger exploration, not merely a demonstration of moto perpetuo.