I sometimes offer a bit of counseling to my brood of adults who often fall into a pit of pervasive self-punishment. The beating up myself student, will often berate himself/herself for having played a scale or piece better before the lesson began. The pupil reasons, if only the teacher disappeared or never showed up, he/she… Continue reading Adult piano student stumbling blocks and overcoming them
Most transfer students that I've encountered over the years better brave the change from one teaching style to another, by watching recorded views of their lessons. Because there may be a tad of anxiety associated with approaching the piano in a different way than previously learned, watching instructional excerpts that focus on the piano as… Continue reading Lesson supplement videos assist Transfer Students in their transition to a new teacher
I'm always warmed by lovely, contoured phrasing, especially when it's produced by an adult student who's reached a new level of aesthetic consciousness through especially attentive and consistent practicing. This particular player has increased her sensitivity in shaping the Chopin A minor Waltz melody with curves, dips, loops, and tapering, while her left hand that… Continue reading An adult piano student explores phrase shaping in Chopin’s A minor Waltz, Op. Posth.
My students remind me to breathe long, natural breaths when playing through scales and arpeggios from moderate to brisk tempos. Through a selective process of elimination, we've collectively come to the conclusion that SWEATING it out, or driving technique to the ground, gritting teeth, or otherwise fighting a noteworthy terrain is counter-productive. In the final… Continue reading Piano Technique: Respiration NOT perspiration
A new adult student is working on Beethoven's Sonatina in F, one of the composer's less played works, but nevertheless quite a musical gem. While the composition has a Mozartean flavor, the abrupt shift in dynamics in the opening theme, for example, offers a glimpse into Beethoven's later development of his larger Sonata form, where… Continue reading Adult Piano Instruction: Exploring weight transfer and supple wrist motions for improved phrase shaping
I reserve the last 10-15 minutes of my lessons with a few adult students for sight-reading, sight-singing with solfeggio, and transposition activity. While I begin with short pieces in five-finger positions, the requirement to transpose these in a Circle of Fifth progression (playing Major and Relative minors) is a valuable ear-training experience. In the following… Continue reading Adult Piano Instruction: Sight-reading, Solfeggio, and Transposition
I take a once a week journey to Rockridge where I teach a private piano student. The 51B bus that I catch in Downtown Berkeley following my gym workout, travels along College Avenue, crossing into Oakland, California. Destination: a lovely two-story home on a tree-lined block, with a sub-level add-on designed specifically for its chief… Continue reading A Day in the Life of a Traveling Piano Teacher (Videos)