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)
Solfeggio, or using Do, Re, Mi, etc. musical syllables is a valuable adjunct to naming notes with letter names. It improves sight-reading and transposing while it develops ear-training skills.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFObHOAwNV0 Over a period of three weeks, seven year old Fritz, who'd been taking piano lessons for about 7 months, composed a piece that he titled, "Finding Gold." The student has been using Faber Primer Piano Adventures, with my inserted modifications. He warmed up this past Monday with Lesson Book p. 24, C-D-E-F-G March transposed… Continue reading Piano Lesson: Fritz, Age 7, performs his composed piece, “FINDING GOLD” (Video)
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)
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.
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=LQiaWoJaUfQ Domenico Scarlatti never fails to come up with a flashy pyrotechnical escapade that can make or break a player in progress. I know, because I've walked the plank with this piece until I was able to reverse my fortune and run with it happily into the horizon. Any number of times those repeated notes,… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti Sonata (Toccata) in D minor, K. 141 with reams of repeated notes (VIDEO)
I cleared most of my Saturday morning lessons so I could be on time for a special rehearsal at Fresno State. I took no chances given the steady rain these past few days that caused dangerously deep puddles along Shaw Avenue. The inevitable flow of traffic to crowd-jamming Bulldog games would also be a time… Continue reading The Big Baroque Festival!
I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to provide keyboard music at a Fresno art supply store. It happened quite unexpectedly around the time I’d bumped into Ralph Cato, US Olympic Boxing Trainer at the neighboring Guitar Center. (“Cato, His Killer Keyboard and A Round of Piano Lessons”) Because I liked the establishment’s acoustical environment, I… Continue reading A Performance I’ll Never Forget!