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Playing J.S. Bach with an awareness of Harmonic Rhythm

In working through Bach's two-part Invention No. 13 in A minor, an adult student and I explored harmonic resolutions and their influence on phrasing. *** While many pupils expect cadences to be predictable resting points where pianists typically taper a musical line, they soon discover with teacher prompts that in the course of a composition,… Continue reading Playing J.S. Bach with an awareness of Harmonic Rhythm

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Chopin and Bach piano lesson excerpts

Most students welcome recorded recaps of their lessons for practicing reminders and direction. While the editing time is significant, the overall effort results in a fine-tuned clarification of fingering, phrasing, dynamics etc. with a space margin for reconsideration of interpretation. After all, no reading within an artistic frame is set in stone. ** Yesterday, I… Continue reading Chopin and Bach piano lesson excerpts

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Theory embedded in phrasing/musical expression

What am I doing up at 2 a.m.? To put it simply, answering an adult student's inquiry about the theoretical analysis of J.S. Bach Invention 13 in A minor. At our last lesson, I had tweaked her curiosity about the harmonic dimension of the last two pages where modulations abound (especially measures 9-18) Yet as… Continue reading Theory embedded in phrasing/musical expression

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Teaching J.S. Bach Invention 1 in C (BWV 772)

With World Series updates shadowing last night's lesson, three students checked their cell phones inning by inning, but managed a deep-layer connection to Bach and Beethoven. My newest student introduced himself by reading through Bach's Invention 1 in C. As it played out, the composition is one of my favorites to teach. Its rich contrapuntal… Continue reading Teaching J.S. Bach Invention 1 in C (BWV 772)

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Piano Lesson: What I learned from an adult student about Bach Invention 4 in D minor (VIDEOS)

Today was an ear-opener, though I admit to having had a set of preconceived ideas about this Bach composition. (in two-part counterpoint) Just from having studied it myself, parceling out each separate voice in a step-wise, layered approach, I could impart what I learned as a self-delivered lecture. But the ingredient, of adding a student… Continue reading Piano Lesson: What I learned from an adult student about Bach Invention 4 in D minor (VIDEOS)

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Piano Lesson: Analyzing/playing Bach Invention in D minor, No. 4, BWV 775 in slow tempo (Videos)

In J.S. Bach's Two-part Inventions both voices overlap and imitate each other creating counterpoint. The SUBJECT of no. 4 contains a d-minor Harmonic form scale whose 6th note, B flat does NOT continue in an upward motion to the leading tone, C# or 7th note, but instead, the C# is displaced down to the lower… Continue reading Piano Lesson: Analyzing/playing Bach Invention in D minor, No. 4, BWV 775 in slow tempo (Videos)

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Tutorial: Shared ideas about practicing J.S. Bach Invention 13 in A minor (BWV 784) Videos

As I observed an 11-year old student work on this Invention at lessons, I came up with some ideas to improve the performance landscape. These included an awareness of the dualism of rolling arpeggiated 16ths and detached 8th notes in the opening. More often than not, the arpeggios can sound too flat if the whole… Continue reading Tutorial: Shared ideas about practicing J.S. Bach Invention 13 in A minor (BWV 784) Videos