I was awakened this morning to an inspired Facebook post that featured a six-year old captivated by a delightful piece that amounted to a "playground" of light-hearted chords with engaging harmonies. The piano teacher, Irina Gorin played snippets of Samuel Maykapar's "In the Garden" that seemed to share character kinship with Kabalevksy's Op. 39, Children's… Continue reading Stimulating the imagination: choosing piano repertoire that embraces childhood themes (Video)
I would never have entertained the idea of teaching a 4-year old child. Over the years I had adhered to a rigid age boundary when accepting new piano students. Seven was the magic number. When an opportunity arose to sample a new book created by Irina Gorin that focused on instruction for children in the… Continue reading Thoughts about teaching a 4-year old with an innovative approach (Tales of a Musical Journey)
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
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?
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.
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?
First Lesson: "Flamenco" by Gillock (Early Intermediate Level) Student: Albertina, age 10 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2vLku_kxR0 This is a teacher/student musical exploration with the use of the second piano at the studio The second piano provides a unique opportunity to share back and forth, provide rhythmic reinforcement when needed, and remind the student about what dynamics, phrase markings,… Continue reading Piano Lessons: The Two-Way Learning Process, Teaching Albertina, and her sister, Ilyana
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ncr1BMTtvOQ Burgmuller, a German composer living in France during the Romantic era composed these delightful programmatic pieces in order of "progressive" difficulty; I've chosen 3 favorites to showcase: "Arabesque," "La Chasse" (The Chase) and "L'Harmonie des Anges" (Harmony of the Angels) Arabesque ("beautiful decoration") is a sprightly, fast paced miniature in "A" minor, that basically… Continue reading More piano teaching favorites: Burgmuller’s 25 Progressive Pieces, op. 100
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyY3XSl5Wuc Starting a very young child on a musical journey is joyful, exciting and challenging. The first baby steps taken at the piano will be memorable for both teacher and student, so careful thought and preparation are needed. At the very outset, I believe in nurturing an awareness of the singing tone and how it… Continue reading The Joy of Teaching Piano to Young Children (Videos)
I grew up in the Marble Hill projects of the Bronx and lived on the ninth floor. The walls of our housing development were so paper thin that when I practiced on my Sohmer 1922 studio upright, my first dream piano, it would elicit nerve-racking thumps from the neighbor down below. To my embarrassment, I… Continue reading Housing my Dream Pianos