classisssima.com, Isaac Raboy shule, Josh Rifkin, word press, you tube

You Tube and rekindled memories

You tube never fails to deliver when precious memories seem to fade with time.

Today as I was checking Facebook notifications, I noticed a you tube link to a Bach Cantata directed by Josh Rifkin. His face had been buried in the very darkness of the basement shule we both attended in the Bronx. (Isaac Raboy was on Giles place in one of the old Amalgamated buildings known as the Sholom Aleichem Cooperative.) It was where Bess Myerson, an early Miss America of the late 40s, resided. authentic giles placehttp://www.bronxcourtyard.com/Building_History.html

The sub-level space relegated for the shule was dreary and dim-lit, but the saving grace was its out-of-tune old upright that brought the place to life when the right hands glided over its chipped keys.

Josh, the anointed music Messiah, had to be about 8 or so at the time, (in the 50s) and he couldn’t have gone unnoticed even then. A powerful improviser of Yiddish songs that were the mainstay of our education, he rendered these modal themes to orchestral proportion! “Hava Nagilah,” “Zog Nit Keynmol,” (The Freedom Song of the Warsaw Ghetto) among many others were at his gifted command. By ear, he created florid arrangements that were so awe-inspiring that it awakened children who’d dozed off to dull repetitions of the Yiddish alphabet. (They were exhausted after a long day at public school)

Like my overtired peers, I could have gone into indefinite hibernation for three treacherous years at Raboy were it not for Josh’s life-affirming musical infusions.

Decades later, as I plan my departure to New York City in celebration of my mother’s 100th birthday, I’ll be sure to make a side journey to the Northeast Bronx to honor a treasured memory.

In the meantime, here’s Josh on musical display with an impressive attached bio. (Rifkin’s The Baroque Beatles album is noted, Baroque Beatles as well as his emblematic recordings of Scott Joplin’s ragtime treasures)Scott Joplin Now J.S. Bach’s towering works are his artistic centerpiece.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Rifkin

LINKS:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/musical-memories-of-new-york-city-and-my-impending-trip-back-home/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/feeling-like-an-out-of-towner-going-back-to-new-york-city/

"Fur Elise" by Beethoven, acoustic piano, adult piano students, authors den, authorsden, Beethoven, Beethoven Fur Elise, blog, blogger, blogging, blogging about piano, blogs about piano, Chopin Waltz no. 19 in A Minor op. posthumous, Classical era, Classical era piano music, classical music, classical period piano music, Classical period sonata, classissima, classissima.com, classisssima.com, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Ludwig Van Beethoven, pianist, piano, piano lessons, piano student, piano studio, piano study, piano teacher, piano teachers, piano teaching, piano teaching repertoire, piano technique, Piano World, piano world-wide, pianoaddict.com, Pianostreet.com, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, playing piano, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, teaching piano, whole body listening, whole body music listening, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube video, yout tube

Quality spot-practicing by an adult student: Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” (Video)

Marie, a motivated adult student, revisited piano studies after a decades-long hiatus. When she resumed lessons about 6 years ago, she made “Fur Elise” her goal-setting piece.

Following long-term scale and arpeggio exposure accompanied by a detailed focus on minuets, short character works, sonatinas and the Chopin Waltz in A minor No. 19, Op. Posthumous, Marie made a smooth transition to learning one of the most popular pieces in the piano literature.

Here’s a snatch of her spot-practicing tricky measures 68-69 in the “stormy” C section of the composition.

Quality time spent isolating voices in slow tempo, listening attentively, and sculpting phrases with relaxed arms and a supple wrist advances fluidity and a beautiful singing tone.

Spot-practicing measures that need extra work and refinement, gets to the heart of learning, moving a student into a new universe of enjoyment.

LINK:

“Fur Elise” at POWHOW: LIVE webcam piano classes

http://www.powhow.com/classes/shirley-kirsten

Bay area piano instruction, Beethoven, Beethoven "Tempest" in Dminor Op. 31 no.2, Beethoven "Tempest" sonata op. 31 no. 2, Beethoven Tempest Sonata first movement, blogger, blogging, blogging about piano, Classical era, Classical era piano music, classical period piano music, Classical period sonata, classissima, classissima.com, classisssima.com, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, El Cerrito piano instruction, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Ludwig Van Beethoven, phrasing at the piano, piano, piano addict, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instructor, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano pedagogy, piano playing, piano playing and breathing, piano playing and phrasing, piano practicing, piano practicing motivators, piano studio in El Cerrito, piano study, piano teacher, piano teachers, piano teaching, piano teaching repertoire, piano technique, piano technique and the singing tone, piano tutorial, Pianostreet.com, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, playing piano, playing piano with crossed hands, playing piano with expression, playing the piano, practicing difficult piano passages, practicing piano, practicing piano passages with rhythms, practicing piano with relaxation, practicing the left hand at the piano, publishers marketplace, publishersmarketplace, publishersmarketplace.com, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, shirley kirsten piano teacher in El Cerrito, shirley s kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, shirley smith kirsten blog, skyped piano lessons, Skyping piano lessons, slow mindful practicing, slow piano practicing, Steinway M, Steinway M grand, talkclassical.com, teaching piano, teaching piano to adult students, teaching piano to adults, teaching piano to children, whole body listening, whole body music listening, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video, yout tube

Part Six Piano Instruction, Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata No. 17, Op. 31 No. 2 and all FIVE teaching segments preceding

In order from Part One to Six:

I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

LINKS:

Part ONE: Beethoven Tempest Sonata in D minor

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/practicing-tips-for-beethovens-tempest-sonata-op-31-no-2-part-one-video/

Part TWO Instruction

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/piano-instuction-part-two-beethovens-tempest-sonata-hand-cross-over-with-tremolo-in-the-middle-voice/

Part THREE Instruction

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/piano-instruction-part-three-beethoven-tempest-sonata-in-d-minor-op-31-no-2/

Part FOUR Instruction

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/piano-instruction-part-four-beethovens-tempest-sonata-in-d-minor-op-31-no-2-measures-55-93/

Part FIVE Instruction

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/piano-instruction-part-five-beethovens-tempest-sonata-op-31-no-2-measures-93-to-158-development-recitative-submerged-pedal/

PART SIX, referenced in You Tube format

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwQzBpWJWqs

arioso 7, authors den, authorsden, blog, blogger, blogging, blogging about piano, blogs about piano, Classical era, classical music, classical period piano music, classissima, classissima.com, classisssima.com, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, El Cerrito piano instruction, Facebook, How to practice Mozart Sonata in A Major K. 331, how to practice variation 2 Mozart Sonata in A Major K. 331, Journey of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, K. 331, keyboard technique, Mozart, MTAC, no. 11 K. 331, ornaments, pianist, pianists, piano, piano addict, piano blog, piano blogging, piano blogs, piano instruction, piano instructor, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano lessson, piano pedagogy, piano playing, piano playing and phrasing, piano playing and the singing tone, piano practicing, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Variation 2 Mozart Sonata in A Major K. 331, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Piano Instruction: How to practice Variation 2, Mozart Sonata No. 11 in A, K. 331 (Videos)

The biggest challenge in this particular variation is the fast-paced tempo and ornament execution–not to mention the fleeting 4 against 3 relationship of treble 32nds above 16ths in the bass. But the latter, should not be a big concern considering how quickly everything spins by.

In the video instruction I suggest a step-wise practicing routine where the left hand is blocked in groups of three, tracking common tones and those that move.

Fingering is very critical in playing Variation 2 smoothly, so I have attached my recommendations, subject to modification depending on what is easiest for the player. I don’t think finger choices are set in stone.

As to character, this variant has the droll dimension due to the dissonant 1/2-steps rolling through it in the bass, (the D#, E redundancy, for example) and the prominent 8th note half-step bass line grace notes which are fleshed out in Forte measures.

Variation 2 definitely reflects Mozart’s lighthearted personality.

REMINDER: Slow practicing is the gateway to a happy long-range result. (Re: the ornaments, practice them slowly, and start on the upper neighbor of principal note)
For some players, depending on level and ability, a turn will be adequate. For others, try for more repercussions.

Close-up view– no repeats–for supple wrist motion and relaxed elbow swing out…

arioso 7, blog, blogging, blogging about piano, blogs about piano, Classical era, classical music, classical period piano music, Classical sonatina, classissima, classissima.com, classisssima.com, Clementi Sonatina in C Op. 36 no. 1, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, El Cerrito piano instruction, fingering and phrasing at the piano, fingering and piano technique, Fresno CA, Fresno California, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, keyboard technique, MTAC, music and heart, music and the breath, musical phrasing, Muzio Clementi, New York City High School of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, pianist, piano, piano addict, piano blog, piano blogging, piano blogs, piano instruction, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano playing, piano playing and phrasing, piano playing and relaxation, piano playing and the singing tone, piano practicing, piano teacher, piano technique, Piano World, piano world-wide, pianoaddict.com, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, playing piano, playing the piano with a singing tone, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Piano Lesson: The challenge of playing a slow movement

I chose Muzio Clementi’s popular Sonatina in C, Op. 36, No. 1 to flesh out the contrasting middle movement designated ANDANTE by the composer. It’s definitely a challenge to play just 6 lines of music with beauty and finesse.

As a start, the player is exposed to realizing rolling triplet 8th-notes in the left hand against a flowing treble melodic line with interspersed trills. These “decorations” or embellishments move rapidly through principal notes lending a shimmer to them. One can choose less repercussions (in 16ths) for the trill or try the alternate group of more notes in 32nds. (Indicated in the score)

I personally believe that more repercussions give the movement a gem-like character in the Classical style. Mozart’s music, for example, sparkles with trills. Why not give Clement the same deference.

The video below offers a step-wise approach to learning the Andante movement. As expected, the rolling forward motion of the wrist helps to phrase the bass and treble. In addition, striking a nice balance between voices is a significant dimension of a satisfying performance.

This movement may have a tendency to drag, but in truth, Andante, if taken literally, comes from the Italian ANDARE, “to walk.” Andante being the gerund, WALKING does not mean lumbering along.

The triplets should therefore, pleasingly move with grace giving support to a fluidly played melody. And between the hand-crossovers of triplets, the ongoing legato must be preserved.

Where parallel 6ths are introduced, one should think of a single melodic tone through each group of three, best illustrated in the instructional footage.

Molto Cantabile (cultivation of the singing tone) is one’s best frame in playing this movement with beauty and refinement.

Playing through in tempo:

Bay area piano instruction, Beethoven, building piano technique, classissima, classisssima.com, El Cerrito piano instruction, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Ludwig Van Beethoven, pianist, piano, piano instruction, piano lesson, piano lessons, Piano Street, piano teaching, piano technique, Piano World, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Sonata Pathetique first movement by Beethoven, Sonatina no. 1 by Latour, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Building Piano Technique: Extracting passages from pieces to practice

Instead of playing through laborious Hanon and Czerny exercises to improve aspects of piano technique, a student can cut to the chase, by snatching selected passages from their pieces that magnify a particular technical/musical challenge.

As an example, one of my adult students, devoted part of her lesson time to practicing a series of descending melodic sequences in the Latour Sonatina no. 1 in C Major. (I’ve bracketed pertinent measures)

At first I demonstrated how to enlist a forward rolling wrist motion for these passages, before the student emulated the approach.

***

The instruction below explores this wrist motion in creating a “round” melodic contour. It avoids the more angular, vertical type of playing that lacks “shape.”

Too often, students will play these notes with vertical finger pokes, creating a very “notey” sounding phrase. The forward roll wrist motion helps to counter this tendency. The instruction also fleshes out ways to apply rhythmic and harmonic variation to practicing the referenced set of measures.

***

In the second video, produced months ago, I extracted a section from Beethoven’s “Pathetique” Sonata (first movement) to chord “block” in a graduated practicing frame that led to fluency and tempo building.