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Approaching a brand new piece with spirit and emotion

When piano students first encounter a fresh page of music, they will often wade through the notes as best as they can, fumbling here and there without an adjusted framing pulse or investment of animated interest in what the notes are saying beyond their humble, accurate identity. In this early stage "reading," tempo is usually… Continue reading Approaching a brand new piece with spirit and emotion

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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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Piano Lesson: Teaching “GAME” by Kabalevsky, Op. 39 Children’s Pieces (Videos)

Vibrant musical miniatures are learning enticements for piano students. In this spirit, Dimitry Kabalevsky, a Twentieth Century Russian composer, shines in his collection of Children's Pieces (Op.39) that run the gamut of emotions, from sad expressions of human nature, "Waltz" (in d minor) to ebullient centerpieces, such as "Clowns," and "Galop." (spelled with one L)… Continue reading Piano Lesson: Teaching “GAME” by Kabalevsky, Op. 39 Children’s Pieces (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)