I have to thank "Lisa" for generating this idea for a new blog. Sometimes, the fountain runs dry until a student experience, teacher-related crisis, or musical event renew the supply. Let me think about this whole issue of picking and choosing the "right" piano teacher. (Applies to adult student-seekers as well) Hmm... I probably covered… Continue reading Scouting a Piano Teacher
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mvDKuMLEl4 Sometimes a piano teacher has no choice but to talk in silly made up syllables while drawing on playground analogies to get a particular piece off the ground. The Chopin Etude Op. 25 no. 9 in Gb was no exception. An adult student who revisited this warhorse responded positively to "rollaleedles," elbow taps, and… Continue reading Teaching Chopin’s Gb Etude, Op. 25 no. 9: Think pogo sticks, “rollaleedles,” and elbow revolutions
The piano room was a mess yesterday with music strewn about. Two '60-'70's era Beatles albums were excavated from a pile of sheet music, hard bound theory texts, and Urtext editions of Beethoven's sonatas. Foraging a big carton of stuff like this was a trip down memory lane. My very old Yamaha guitar, a prized… Continue reading Letting my hair down with a snatch of “Let It Be!” (VIDEO)
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=JZxNy1VeOjk up tempo: http://youtu.be/t-3D6-s5qok Be prepared to exercise your eyeballs minus head movements when tackling large leaps, especially those hand-over-hand acrobatics that are intrinsic to many of Domenico Scarlatti's sonatas. In the first video I've isolated a few of these jumps from Sonata K. 113 in A Major, demonstrating what I've found to be the… Continue reading Piano Technique: Big Leaps, Crossed Hands, and shifty eyeballs (with slow motion video replay)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ--gGIwgAA After decades of teaching the Chopin Waltzes, I've come to the conclusion that the A minor, No. 19, Op. Posthumous is the best student introduction to the form as the composer cultivated it. While many other Waltzes in Chopin's collection are far more substantial and technically challenging, No. 19, is in my opinion, easiest… Continue reading The very first Chopin Waltz that I teach: #19, Op. Posth. in A minor (Video instruction)
Scale practicing examples: https://youtu.be/SJGbnFQB8L8 https://youtu.be/Bo1ptHbMu9M https://youtu.be/W3N_9Me7hXQ *** The Backdrop: As a young piano student living in New York City, I remember my reluctance to prepare a mandatory scale each week for my lesson. In fact my first teacher had so many students, she always seemed to forget the scale she had assigned to me, so… Continue reading Why Play Scales?
We had fun videotaping part of a lesson from a different camera angle. My student and I sat in front of our separate pianos, collaborating on two Bach Inventions. (Number 4 in D minor and number 13 in A minor) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y3CaCycoHE In the first segment, my pupil is playing through the d minor Invention, mostly… Continue reading Practicing Bach Inventions 4 and 13 with my 10 year old piano student
Musical expression arises from the deepest part of ourselves so as we relax into the here and now, focused on the flow and shape of phrases, our arms, wrists and fingers work together as an ensemble to produce an artful outpouring. Mildred Portney Chase, author of Just Being at the Piano describes such an approach… Continue reading Music Comes from the Heart
There's always room for flexibility in choice of repertoire, especially when teaching teenagers. Alex, 18, had taken lessons during primary school, took a long break and returned to the piano as a senior in high school. His first request was to study "Liz on Top of the World," by Dario Marianelli from the movie, "Pride… Continue reading Teaching Piano to Teenagers: Classical, Pop, Taylor Swift, Liz on Top of the World and more (Videos)