*** After my arrival in El Cerrito, I walked to my new location in a very old, established neighborhood with mature shade trees and lush foliage. It had to be the perfect paradise for teaching piano. *** Photos down below were taken at the Bart station looking down from the platform, and then along the… Continue reading My New Piano Studio in El Cerrito, California, and panoramic views taken from Amtrak 711 and 712 along the Bay route
At the cue of a SKYPE musical trademark ring, I tapped the green-colored phone icon and brought an eight-year old, her dad, and a grand piano into view. A second virtual lesson beamed between California and Oregon officially began! Featured composition: Chopin's Waltz in A minor, no. 17, Op. Posthumous. This time I aimed my… Continue reading Between California and Oregon: Skyping Chopin with an eight-year old student (Video of lesson in progress)
I was thinking about an adult student I currently teach in the Bay area who thumbed through her Faber Older Beginner Adult Accelerated Piano Adventures Method Book, and was instantly drawn to "Musette,"one of the many pieces contained in Anna Magdalena's Notebook. Transcribed to "G Position" by Randall Faber and reduced to a fraction of… Continue reading My Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook favorites, and why it’s best to play the real deal (Video)
Over the years my ears have been pinned back by stories from students who experienced emotionally abusive teachers. One who transferred to my studio from another, described her head having been shoved into the music after striking a wrong note. In biographies of well-known performers, strands of anecdotes about foot-pounding, screaming master instructors remind readers… Continue reading The Emotionally Abusive Piano Teacher and Suggested Rehab
I thought of E.M. Forster's novel as an inspiration for this blog, but "The Hills are alive with the Sound of Music" would have more aptly described what I was writing about. Every week, a breathtaking view of the El Cerrito Hills streams into my piano room through an open, maple-paneled door. Depending on the… Continue reading A Piano Room with a View
Face the music! Most new Conservatory grads with fancy Bachelor of Music, Performance-Piano Degrees bound in leather must improvise when catapulted into the competitive job market. With only a tiny space on the world stage reserved for budding soloists, many aspiring concert pianists will teach privately, wait tables, babysit, or become high school choir accompanists.… Continue reading What can you do with a Performance-Piano Degree?
Lillian Freundlich *** For many piano teachers who've nursed along students from Primer toddlerhood to an Intermediate level confidence-climbing phase, through to the Advanced, smooth riding finish with flashy fingers, the pupil's farewell is an emotional event. Of course, it depends on the circumstances of the departure and who is saying goodbye to whom.… Continue reading Piano teachers, students, and reluctant farewells
I remember Art Linkletter's show, "Kids Say the Darndest Things," which made me think of a few adult piano students and their hauntingly memorable words. Yesterday, for example, I was forewarned by a 70-year old pupil, that I should expect a call from her during the night about the key of "F# minor." What impending… Continue reading Adult piano students say and do the darndest things.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQiaWoJaUfQ Domenico Scarlatti never fails to come up with a flashy pyrotechnical escapade that can make or break a player in progress. I know, because I've walked the plank with this piece until I was able to reverse my fortune and run with it happily into the horizon. Any number of times those repeated notes,… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti Sonata (Toccata) in D minor, K. 141 with reams of repeated notes (VIDEO)
I cleared most of my Saturday morning lessons so I could be on time for a special rehearsal at Fresno State. I took no chances given the steady rain these past few days that caused dangerously deep puddles along Shaw Avenue. The inevitable flow of traffic to crowd-jamming Bulldog games would also be a time… Continue reading The Big Baroque Festival!