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Piano Technique: Playing with bigger energies beyond the fingers

Practicing a programmatic miniature from Kabalevsy's Op. 39 Children's Pieces can draw on energies well beyond the fingers. "Funny Event" is a good example with its series of sound bursts on the first beat of each measure. If a student takes the pecking approach, typing away at the keyboard, one note at a time, his… Continue reading Piano Technique: Playing with bigger energies beyond the fingers

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Kabalevsky’s “A Game” is a delightful way to practice staccato (Videos)

Dimitri Kabalevsky (1904-1987) composed a winner for late elementary and early intermediate level students. While playing "A GAME," they learn a bouncy staccato with light interspersed accents on downbeats. How refreshing to weave technique into a musical romp that moves along with a "feeling of one main impulse per bar." According to notes found in… Continue reading Kabalevsky’s “A Game” is a delightful way to practice staccato (Videos)

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A third year piano student shines playing J.S. Bach’s C Major Prelude (Well-Tempered Clavier)

Sakura, 12, is preparing the Bach C Major Prelude from the Well-Tempered Clavier Book I, for the upcoming MTAC Celebration Festival (Music Teachers Association of California) And she's right on course heading for a satisfying performance in March. Being Left-Handed, she's given her Right extra compensatory practicing in an effort to acquire satisfying equality. But… Continue reading A third year piano student shines playing J.S. Bach’s C Major Prelude (Well-Tempered Clavier)

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Aikido and Piano are a good match for Sakura (Video) (Note the rolling forward wrist motion in Kabalevsky’s “Galop”)

Aikido Main article: Aikido Aikido shihōnage technique. "Aikido (合氣道:あいきどう aikidō?) is a modern grappling-based Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (植芝 盛平 Ueshiba Morihei, 1883 – 1969). The art consists of "striking", "throwing" and "joint locking" techniques and is known for its fluidity and blending with an attacker, rather than meeting "force with force".… Continue reading Aikido and Piano are a good match for Sakura (Video) (Note the rolling forward wrist motion in Kabalevsky’s “Galop”)

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Teaching Clowns by Kabalevsky, from the Op. 39 Children’s Pieces for piano

This is a tricky miniature packed with robust energy. The parallel Major/minor duality is fleshed out with a quick build-up to climax. The challenge is to sustain a Left Hand staccato ostinato, a repeated bass pattern, while observing separate articulation and phrasing in the right hand. Effective dynamic contrasts make a performance even more poignant.… Continue reading Teaching Clowns by Kabalevsky, from the Op. 39 Children’s Pieces for piano

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Stimulating the imagination: choosing piano repertoire that embraces childhood themes (Video)

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)

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Teaching Piano to Teenagers: Classical, Pop, Taylor Swift, Liz on Top of the World and more (Videos)

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)