Rina may not know the words "pentascales" and "tenths," but she has the intelligence to notice when her fingers move up and down together, playing the same notes an "octave" apart. With a sound knowledge of the music alphabet in both directions, she has good cognitive reinforcement. (She also knows "running notes" or 8ths, "long… Continue reading Growing piano technique in baby steps: Rina, 5, advances to hands together five-finger positions (adding in 10ths)
Many piano students who practice Debussy's Arabesque no. 1 tend to grab and articulate notes, rather than let them flow from energy streaming down relaxed arms into supple wrists. Reliance on fingers-down playing becomes the panacea for accuracy, while it sacrifices poetic musical expression. In the video below, I demonstrate how phrases can be sculpted… Continue reading Piano Technique: Playing beyond the fingers to sculpt beautiful phrases (Debussy Arabesque no. 1)
This tutorial references measure 55 to 93. The composer settles into A minor through these measures and reinforces the A minor tonic to Neapolitan progression. (A minor to Bb Major chord) He elaborates, varies, and introduces a beautiful contrapuntal interplay of voices between treble and bass in measures 69-87. (All in A minor) With a… Continue reading Piano Instruction, Part FOUR, Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2 (measures 55-93)
Every so often, I stumble upon an uploaded You Yube performance that grabs my ears. In this instance, it was a Mozart encore offered by pianist, Mitsuko Uchida, that led straight to a compelling videotaped interview with her. With my antennae up and ready for more sparkle to light up my day, I was amply… Continue reading In the Piano Universe: Two You Tube Treasures not to miss!
Because I found myself rambling on and on about the first page, I decided to compartmentalize the instruction to make it easier to absorb. And since I played the "Tempest" years ago, the surest route to my restoring the piece to a respectable performance level, was to practice it from the ground up in slow… Continue reading Practicing tips for Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata, Op. 31 No. 2, Part ONE: (Video)
The biggest challenge in this particular variation is the fast-paced tempo and ornament execution--not to mention the fleeting 4 against 3 relationship of treble 32nds above 16ths in the bass. But the latter, should not be a big concern considering how quickly everything spins by. In the video instruction I suggest a step-wise practicing routine… Continue reading Piano Instruction: How to practice Variation 2, Mozart Sonata No. 11 in A, K. 331 (Videos)
I chose Muzio Clementi's popular Sonatina in C, Op. 36, No. 1 to flesh out the contrasting middle movement designated ANDANTE by the composer. It's definitely a challenge to play just 6 lines of music with beauty and finesse. As a start, the player is exposed to realizing rolling triplet 8th-notes in the left hand… Continue reading Piano Lesson: The challenge of playing a slow movement