I often enjoy a splurge of self-produced technique videos to assist my teaching, and to clarify my latest insights. This week I examined Staccato playing, using weight transfer for dynamic variation, as I employed a legato "floating arm" as a model for snipping out a stream of well-connected, scale-wise detached notes. In this undertaking, I'd… Continue reading Piano Technique Tutorials abound this week!
Who would have thought that a Romantic era character piece of short length could have so much to savor on multi-tiered levels? Relentless triplets with double stemmed quarters, seemed at first glance to direct the player toward a horizontal rendering of a conspicuous melodic thread that's reinforced by the highest notes in the Right Hand.… Continue reading A deep immersion in Schumann’s Wiegenliedchen, Cradle Song No. 6, Op. 124
It hit home over SKYPE while I was giving a piano lesson to Australia today that THUMBS have usurped too much power! In their octave by octave advance through scales and arpeggios, they've become conspicuously Napoleonic and territorial, setting up roadblocks that deter longer fingers of each hand from individually passing over and around them… Continue reading Curbing Thumb Power!
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
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
When considering ways to pedal Chopin's ethereal A minor Waltz, I think back to Stephen Hough and his teacher's comments about the learning process: “I don’t care how you’re playing the piece now, what I care about is how you’ll play it in 10 years.” (Gordon Green) Well as a segue way to this posting,… Continue reading Pedaling Chopin Waltz No. 19 in A minor, Op. Posthumous
It's common for piano students to divide their scales into well-boxed rhythmic compartments, emphasizing the fundamental beat that interrupts a smooth flowing legato (connecting from note to note). Sometimes players are unaware of their reinforced "beat" counting impulses and need occasional reminders of what's communicated to the listener. (who happens to be the innocent bystander… Continue reading Piano Technique: Playing scales without bumps or accents
Tonight's lesson with Judy had inspiring moments within a phrase sharing interplay. We started out singing the opening measures of the composer's charming masterpiece, emphasizing a singing line supported by harmonies cresting and dipping into resolutions. The vocal lead-in, threaded through the whole lesson, often rippling into supple wrists, relaxed arms --but it deepened in… Continue reading A Phrase loving exchange between Teacher and Student (Mozart Sonata in C, K. 545)
A kindred musician friend and Baroque scholar residing on the East Coast tipped me off that my "first love" reading of Bach's Prelude in F minor a few months back, was just the very top layer of a more in depth relationship to come. And as time bore out, she was right because my earliest… Continue reading J.S. Bach’s ethereal Prelude in F minor, BWV 881 (contour and voices)
This pupil is working on the Chopin Waltz in C# minor Op. 64 alongside Mozart's K. 545 Sonata in C. (I'll have snatches of her spot practicing in another post) She's made considerable progress because of her conscientious step-by-step, layered approach to learning. (We spend substantial time playing separate hands, under tempo, and we don't… Continue reading Piano warm-up routines with an adult student