Most piano students are familiar with Friedrich Burgmuller's set of Twenty-Five Easy and Progressive Studies, Op. 100, that are tasteful Romantic era miniatures with appealing programmatic titles. "Tender Flower," "The Little Party," and "The Wagtail," to name a few, are far from dripping with the excesses that one might encounter in the manuscripts of Romantic… Continue reading How to stay calm in the Eye of “The Storm”- Practicing Burgmuller’s L’Orage, Op. 109, No. 13
One of my Oberlin Conservatory piano teachers regarded Vladimir Horowitz as a fire and ice player. He referred to the maestro as having the uncanny ability to turn out a hot performance with a cool demeanor. (The physical control, of course, was AMAZING!) Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75ZAOwgzoAE Same applies to Yuja Wang, pianist, who delivers a sizzling… Continue reading Piano Technique: A fire and ice approach to learning pieces at breakspeed tempo
I say yes to naysayers on various Internet forums. They would have you believe that playing a series of notes cannot be altered by a physical approach to the keys that includes a supple wrist. Their gospel is, it's all the same no matter who plays C, D, E, F, G. These concrete thinkers, insist… Continue reading Can we rise above the hammer mechanism of our beloved piano?
Today was my maiden journey to the paradise of Roses in Berkeley. No words can amply describe the effect such beauty had upon me. (Taking pictures was irresistible) Burgmuller's "Tender Flower" was the perfect musical framing. http://youtu.be/Som4mPzd9sc P.S. I made a passing cameo appearance amidst the heavenly, terraced bouquets LINK to FB Photo Album https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200446952169541.1073741827.1628726576&type=1&l=109128a237… Continue reading The Berkeley Rose Garden draped in photos and music
http://youtu.be/MgwB3JESuG0 "Inquietude" from Burgmuller's Op. 100 collection of Twenty-Five Progressive pieces, invites a player to examine harmonic progressions as a clue to phrasing a composition that's often pounded to death with unnecessary DOWNBEAT accents. Seymour Bernstein, distinguished pianist, teacher and author, noted in a recent conversation we shared in New York City, that our musical… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Don’t always accentuate the downbeat– Burgmuller’s music proves it (Video)
"Harmony of the Angels" has a soporific effect on Aiden cat while it provided a relaxing prelude to Rina's earliest piano lessons. Students, young and old, love its thread of sonorities.
I've chosen Burgmuller's "Tender Flower" as the springboard to explore attentive listening and its relationship to phrasing. At the outset, the right moment to begin a piece is a challenge. The player has to experience the whole dimension of silence before a first note is played. That silence is not dead, but alive with cues… Continue reading Phrasing at the piano: Listening to the ends of notes as they flow into others
Taking piano lessons should be a deep-level growth experience with a metaphorical tie-in to life. This means that pieces studied and technique applied should be interwoven to realize emotions of sadness, happiness, grieving, elation, disappointment and whatever comes to mind in the full panoply of human feelings. This is why hearing the word “fun” tossed… Continue reading Piano Study: Exploring the full gamut of emotions on the way to mastering a new piece (Videos)
Piano students in the Intermediate range don't need to plod through method books to grow technique. In addition, they shouldn't be subjected to arrangements of the masterworks reduced to painful copies of the original. As example, "Fur Elise" often appears in dumb-down form, with a mid-section excision. What's left is the bare-bones beginning, usually transposed… Continue reading For Intermediate Level students: A joyous way to improve piano technique while savoring the Romantic genre (Videos)
On my walk from the El Cerrito Hills to BART Del Norte I snapped these pictures and interspersed them in my reading. Composed in the Romantic era, "Tender Flower" (English Tr.) is a gorgeous miniature that says so much in such a short space of time. A repository of nuance and expressive lines, it rivets… Continue reading Burgmuller’s beautiful “Tendre Fleur” flows in and out of flower portraits (VIDEO)