The MTAC Baroque Festival and Daniil Trifonov's recital at Fresno State cap this weekend's events, giving our city a warm cultural embrace amidst its Bulldog-driven sports fever! First on the line-up, Claudia, 11, will play the Yamaha concert grand piano at the University's recital hall today.(The Steinway is sequestered) She'll offer two Bach selections: Invention… Continue reading A Music Packed Saturday and Sunday! (Video) and NEW PHOTOS!
Claudia has made significant gains this year. She's shaping her phrases more, and becoming ear-attentive and physically responsive to the music she plays. Today, she made additional headway with J.S. Bach's Prelude in C minor, BWV 847. Coming into her lesson with two introductory readings, she was bobbing her head up and down, reinforcing beats… Continue reading Down to the wire: An 11-year old piano student prepares for a competitive Baroque event (VIDEO) with a tender flashback
Today, September 5th, is Claudia's 11th Birthday! She started lessons with me in 2006 when she had just turned 6 after coming to California from Hawaii. I remember her as a shy but wide-eyed child who had studied piano for a year or so. Students who begin piano lessons at a tender age and stay… Continue reading A piano student’s milestones and memories in photos and video
For some unexplained reason, my earliest piano studies never included the art of phrasing. My primer teacher stressed naming notes, finding them, affixing correct fingering and counting out robotic beats. I knew nothing about feeling a melodic landscape; putting the vocal model center stage in my playing, and breathing through contoured musical lines. My pieces… Continue reading The Art of Phrasing at the Piano: Starting the process with Beginners (Videos)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGJ_4CS_c4M Beethoven didn't attach "Moonlight" to this first movement of his very popular C# minor Sonata. (Music critics often invented these tags that stuck over centuries) The composer, himself, said his opening was like a fantasy, "quasi una fantasia," and he took particular care to compose his Adagio Sustenuto movement in alla breve, which meant… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Teaching Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata, Movement 1 (VIDEO)
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)
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!