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
Who would have imagined that a new piano would be my special gift to myself! It was one week since my mother had passed away at 100 and I was devastated, shaken by the loss-- too distressed to be thinking about celebrating my upcoming birthday in any way. Yet when I saw an ad for… Continue reading My Birthday present to me!
Recently, I made a trip back East to New York City and the experience instantly hit "home!" A child of the Bronx and Manhattan, my emigration to Fresno, California three decades ago came with a blast of culture shock, but my most recent relocation to the East Bay (Berkeley aka "Bezerkeley") fleshed out extreme bi-coastal… Continue reading East Coast/West Coast (East Bay) culture shock
I'm reminded of a quote attributed to Sviatoslav Richter when asked how he approached a challenging new composition of virtuoso proportion: His reply-- "I read a new piece and then start practicing the place that irritates me the most. After learning that one I move to the next irritation, etc." Well, most of us would… Continue reading When sight-reading is not enough: Learning a new piano piece from the ground up so we can teach it to our students (Videos)
For Becca Wong, her career path seemed predestined. Having had a firmly rooted music and dance background in her native Hong Kong prior to her arrival in California, she was at least predisposed to a future vocation celebrating the arts. Her enrollment in the Royal Academy of Dance, allied to the British school system, added… Continue reading A former piano student carves out a unique life as a dance accompanist or is it “Freeway Gypsy?”
Looks like Aiden was out like a light... except for 2 well-timed ear twitches ... otherwise, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Arabesque no. 1 Played on my Haddorff console piano (manuf. 1951) a real musical treasure with divine resonance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0QF8ahBJ88 Aiden's awake-time pics: RELATED: A Purrr-fect Musical Match Made in Heaven http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyY3XSl5Wuc Aiden Cat Joins Ilyana, 8, at the… Continue reading Aiden Cat Dozes off to Debussy (Video)
I was thinking of Palmer's edition of Chopin, an Introduction to His Music, and when I first purchased it years ago there was no inserted CD of recorded selections contained in the album. With subsequent published editions, a CD popped into an envelope, beckoning a player to sample another pianist's interpretation of music he had… Continue reading Should piano students listen to recorded performances of pieces they are first beginning to learn?
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)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0SfJSgp71U About twenty years ago, before I was enlightened about the risk of injuries when I practiced and how to avoid them, I sustained a ligament tear of my ring finger, right hand. It was while playing the Schumann Carnaval, and just before it happened, I had held my hand in a rigid arched position… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Avoiding Injuries, using “Butterfly” by Edvard Grieg as a slow practicing example (Videos)
Continuing my practice of videotaping my Thursday evening lesson, I reviewed the footage and discovered some catch words that helped me clarify ideas about technique and fluency. While it may sound a bit outlandish to think of the piano as a "bowl of molasses," the image alone helped my adult student approach the keys with… Continue reading More ideas about Piano Technique and Mental Imagery (Playing into a Bowl of Molasses)