This past week brought a nearly insurmountable challenge to help a 90-year old sell her 7-foot Baldwin grand piano. Sight unseen, I'd enlisted a volunteer effort while facing a built-in pressure cooker deadline of 30 days to sale. The owner's move to Assisted Living could not include a lion's size instrument. With less than a… Continue reading Piano Adventures!
Five words resonated profoundly through a Masterclass given by Pianist, Andras Schiff at the Juilliard School. They framed a myriad of movements in Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras. Three students offered selections by Bach, Schubert and Schumann. (The event was Live-streamed) While Beethoven did not grace the program, Maestro Schiff's mentoring had far-reaching implications for… Continue reading “Listen to the Long Notes”
In the course of teaching, a situation may arise where a particular favored piece is requested by a student that I've never studied--which means a deep-layered journey is ahead of two learning partners. And given that J.S. Bach's Prelude and Fugue in Ab, (Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1) requires thoughtful fingering choices; an awareness of Baroque… Continue reading J.S. Bach Prelude in Ab, BWV 862: A Fresh Start for Student and Teacher
All too often piano students give up on a piece after so many weeks of exposure, thinking the fingering is settled, the beats are well-measured, and the notes have fallen into place. At this juncture, a Big STOP SIGN must impede the restless from plunging into a new musical journey despite their belief that the… Continue reading Stay LONGER with a piece for higher levels of learning and awareness
This has to be one of my favorite reciprocal teaching/learning videos because it fleshes out the importance of breathing through scales with mindful concentration. Framed by a singing pulse, the scale becomes a model for all playing. Here's B minor in Contrary Motion (legato) with my annotations that reference the BREATH and mindfulness. https://youtu.be/kVmCWbA32bg Important… Continue reading Piano Technique: Stabilizing tempo, presence of mind, and breathing through scales and arpeggios
These are two supplementary videos that I created for adult students between lessons. As previously mentioned, they clarify and reinforce the content of our class, and map out ways to practice. I. ROTATION at the turnaround of a B minor Arpeggio Exploring the curve at the very top of the figure with an energy boost… Continue reading Piano Technique: Focusing on Rotation in arpeggios, and building up a scale (Videos)
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)