Marie, a motivated adult student, revisited piano studies after a decades-long hiatus. When she resumed lessons about 6 years ago, she made "Fur Elise" her goal-setting piece. Following long-term scale and arpeggio exposure accompanied by a detailed focus on minuets, short character works, sonatinas and the Chopin Waltz in A minor No. 19, Op. Posthumous,… Continue reading Quality spot-practicing by an adult student: Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” (Video)
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)
"The Return" from the composer's Twenty-Five Progressive Pieces, Op. 100, is ear-catching. Like an Offenbach opera replete with an Overture, it delights in a set of lighthearted staccato chords that spill into a passionate MINOR sequenced interlude, setting the heart afire. Extinguished by the revisit of Eb Major punctuations, the music drifts off by authentic… Continue reading Burgmuller’s “The Return”–like a light opera, with interspersed drama (videos)
This is my credo or philosophy that allows for imperfection without self-punishment. Yet students of all levels tend to invalidate their own performances despite growth spurts springing from dedicated practicing. Many have done all the layered learning steps, but have come to a plateau in a particular piece which is perhaps where that composition will… Continue reading Accept where you are in your piano studies, know your limitations, but still strive to improve (VIDEO)