The miracle of technology allows a micro-review of a student's physical relationship to the keyboard, magnifying problems that need thoughtful remedy. Today, I felt akin to a radiologist examining x-rays in great detail, looking for areas of concern, if not glaring pathology. A student whom I teach Online, was having difficulty playing a D Major… Continue reading Piano Teaching: Diagnosis and Treatment in Cyber
Month: December 2015
Bruce Loeb: A Silent Film Accompanist and much more!
Berkeley, California boasts a repository of uniquely talented musicians some of whom have a wide array of interests and activities that elevate them to renaissance status. Bruce Loeb is one of those exceptionally diversified, high achievers with a C.V. to substantiate. His vast list of identities includes silent film accompanist, vocal coach, piano teacher, composer,… Continue reading Bruce Loeb: A Silent Film Accompanist and much more!
A piano that DRAWS is a sacrilege: or how I otherwise spent Christmas Day
As a prelude to my bottomless pit experience at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco that featured the desecration of an upright piano, I'll first provide readers with the necessary back story.... Following 8 days of Chanukah candle lighting, I found myself in search of meaningful things to do on Christmas day, knowing full… Continue reading A piano that DRAWS is a sacrilege: or how I otherwise spent Christmas Day
Putting Slow Practicing to good use in a J.S. Bach Fugue Analysis
I've been my own mentor to the exponential these past intensified 48 hours as I immersed myself in a slow, deep-layered analysis of J.S.Bach's Fugue in Ab, BWV 862 (Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1) The detailed exploration not only heightened my understanding of this ingenious composition, but it increased my love and reverence for it. So… Continue reading Putting Slow Practicing to good use in a J.S. Bach Fugue Analysis
Why is practicing slowly so unpopular?
There appears to be a stigma attached to parceling out a brand new piece in deliberately slow tempo, where a player threads through separate lines with a commitment to expression framed by an ultra-relaxed singing pulse. In the best realization of such immersion, the music becomes magnified to a new level of awareness, albeit in… Continue reading Why is practicing slowly so unpopular?
A Domenico Scarlatti Sonata that enables Finger and Forearm Staccato
It's been decades since my beloved N.Y.C. piano teacher, Lillian Freundlich bestowed upon me the gift of Domenico Scarlatti Sonatas. And at the time, (while I was a student at the New York City H.S. of Performing Arts) I had no idea that those she had selected were permeated with the basics of technique bonded… Continue reading A Domenico Scarlatti Sonata that enables Finger and Forearm Staccato
Finding a melodic thread in a sea of fast notes
Compositions that are laden with myriads of fast paced notes often pose a problem for students whose immediate response is to efficiently "type" them out. Implementing such a mechanical approach often excludes an awareness of a melodic strand that will need to undergo shaping and contouring. One particular piece comes to mind that offers an… Continue reading Finding a melodic thread in a sea of fast notes
The Lang Lang controversy
World-renowned pianist, Lang Lang has attained rock star status in China, whereas here in the U.S., a sizable contingent of serious mentors in and out of the conservatory milieu register outright disdain for him. Many detractors publicly post their objections to LL's approach to music-making, citing his exaggerations, flamboyance, extraneous gestures, and erratic performances in… Continue reading The Lang Lang controversy
A Bach Fugue is a neuron booster and soul searcher
In my tepid re-entry into the universe of piano repertoire for two hands, I chose what would be the antithesis of a comfort zone in my injury recovery phase. But just the same, my brain needed stimulation, building neurotransmitters, as it signaled the hands and fingers to regroup in a gradual healing process. Without doubt,… Continue reading A Bach Fugue is a neuron booster and soul searcher