piano, piano blog, piano instruction on the web

Technology in the Piano Studio

Since being launched into the cosmos of Online Teaching by an Australian inquiring about lessons, (2010), I have gone well beyond rudimentary Face Time and Skype transmissions. What has evolved from this student’s bestowal of a gratis Logitech webcam, is a wider application of technology within the piano learning environment.

Pupils (whether Online or in person) need reminders of lesson content that relates to phrasing and rotation; pedaling choices; legato and staccato techniques/choreographies, arm weight transfer, wrist rolls, etc. To this end, they’re greatly assisted by Quicktime generated video clips that are uploaded UNLISTED and emailed to them. (I have an iMac 21 desk top and a side, over the shoulder view of my piano’s keyboard)

I will either take snatches of lessons in progress, (with the webcam directed at my piano to insure privacy) or I’ll separately produce and upload a tutorial that’s usually longer in length. (Often made Public)

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Here are video samples that have furthered more thoughtful practicing between lessons, and over time, have advanced pupil progress.

La Candeur (Burgmuller) Tutorial

Note this shorter snatch below that was sent to a student, highlighting phrasing and rotation/melodic shape in the Burgmuller tableau.

It’s always rewarding to receive a pupil’s response about the supplement’s value.

“Thanks for sharing this. Funny how much of the video could have been taken straight out of one of my lessons – e.g. for measure 7, I also watched again the full tutorial video you had put together a few months back on La Candeur and it’s amazing how different the experience is watching it now, having studied the piece – it makes so much more sense now reviewing it.”

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Some students who have iPads (but take in-person lessons) admit to putting the tablet on the piano rack in order to watch the video and directly apply many of the lesson suggestions to their practicing.

This pupil featured in a lesson-in-progress video, has a companion computer near the piano that works well for reinforced learning.

J.S. Bach’s Little Prelude in E Minor BWV 900 (Though it has been made Public, the pupil cannot be seen given the well directed Teacher view)

This same student also received a separate 10 minute Unlisted segment of her lesson which focused on blocking out measures, using rhythms, etc.

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Online students will also receive video aids between lessons. I use both Skype and Face Time Call Recorder to capture segments of their lessons, or I will create short videos following our class that address specific pupil challenges.

Here’s a short FACE TIME lesson-in-progress excerpt (to Edinburgh, Scotland)

B minor Arpeggio in Parallel and Contrary motion–This supplement explores blocking, floating arms, etc.

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Attached is scale fingering snatch from a Face Time transmitted lesson to Florida (Using Call RECORDER)

As the footage progressed, I fleshed out ORGANIZERS between the hands in all forms of F-sharp minor.

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Technique related videos are shared among many of my students and form a valuable repository that is a time-saver for both pupil and teacher.

On occasion, I will also upload a video, and enlist a slow motion segment to illustrate rotation. (I usually turn off sound in a copy of a regular audible extract)

Finally, all these technology-based add-ons to lessons make teaching and learning an enriched journey of mutual discovery!

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