blogmetrics, Kinderszenen, piano, piano blog, piano technique, Robert Schumann

The piano playing speed zone: Letting Go but Staying in Control

At some point, piano students will face the challenge of playing a super fast-paced piece without having it fall apart. And while such a task may seem daunting, the player can begin to allay his fears by devising a parceled out practicing strategy. The best panic attack prevention, (at the sight of a MM quarter=… Continue reading The piano playing speed zone: Letting Go but Staying in Control

Kinderszenen, piano, Robert Schumann, Scenes from Childhood

Unlocking Schumann

My first thought last night as I was revisiting "Gluckes Genucht" after resting it for months, was that this tableau like others in Kinderszenen, Op. 15, beg for hand, arm, wrist flexiblity as antidotes to tension-driven lockdowns. The after beats, for instance in Genucht. (I'll leave out the "Happiness" aspect for a moment) can easily… Continue reading Unlocking Schumann

Kinderszenen, piano instruction, piano lessons, piano teaching, Robert Schumann, Schumann

When Upbeats have a new meaning and importance

For most piano students, an upbeat is considered a lighter springboard to a more predominant DOWN-beat, as if the UP in music should always be taken LIGHTLY. (except in Jazz framings where syncopations are characteristic of the genre.) *** We can universally agree that in the patriotic Star Spangled Banner, the dotted 8th/16th upbeat is… Continue reading When Upbeats have a new meaning and importance

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Schumann’s “Almost Too Serious” (Kinderszenen No. 10) requires get serious, step-wise practicing

When I first looked at a "seriously" complex page of dizzying tied-over (syncopated) notes in Schumann's "Almost Too Serious," (Fast Zu Ernst) I had a knee-jerk avoidance response--that is until I tapped into a permeating melodic thread that I isolated and wooed from its conspicuous alliance to myriads of off beats. In other words, I… Continue reading Schumann’s “Almost Too Serious” (Kinderszenen No. 10) requires get serious, step-wise practicing

blog, Kinderszenen, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano technique, Robert Schumann, Shirley Kirsten

Untangling hands and subduing AFTER beats in Robert Schumann’s music

When a pianist tackles a piece like "Am Kamin," ("At the Fireplace") from Schumann's signature childhood reminiscence, Kinderszenen, he/she must artfully navigate the musical terrain, avoiding hand pile-ups and after-beat pounding. A gorgeous Romantic era, lyrical melody that threads though this tableau can be at risk-- easily interrupted or jarred by offbeats that contain parcels… Continue reading Untangling hands and subduing AFTER beats in Robert Schumann’s music

blog, Kinderszenen, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, Robert Schumann, Romantic era, Romantic era piano music, Schumann

Schumann’s ‘Rocking Horse’ comes with a spring forward wrist

Schumann's Kinderszenen album, (Scenes of Childhood) includes a child-inspired Rocking Horse piece that enlists spring forward wrist motions to help frame its character. If the pianist tightens up and tries to realize third beat accents with a tight jolt of a stiff hand, then it's all over for the player who will tire quickly while… Continue reading Schumann’s ‘Rocking Horse’ comes with a spring forward wrist

adult piano instruction, adult piano pupils, adult piano students, Kinderszenen, piano blog, piano blogging, piano pedagogy, piano transcriptions, Robert Schumann, Scenes of Childhood, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Traumerei, wordpress, you tube

No dumbing down piano study for adult students

I'm ready for a shower of criticism on this one. After all, some adults want their favorite transcription of the Elvira Madigan theme song, (aka Mozart's Concerto No. 21 in C, Andante) to encapsulate their musical journey---at least for part of the time. And that's OK if the transcription route of top ten, poorly transformed… Continue reading No dumbing down piano study for adult students