What am I doing up at 2 a.m.? To put it simply, answering an adult student's inquiry about the theoretical analysis of J.S. Bach Invention 13 in A minor. At our last lesson, I had tweaked her curiosity about the harmonic dimension of the last two pages where modulations abound (especially measures 9-18) Yet as… Continue reading Theory embedded in phrasing/musical expression
It's not easy to plan a one hour piano lesson to include ear training, solfege and transposing. (They belong together, bundled with Theory, and enrich the learning environment) At the Oberlin Conservatory, Theory, Keyboard Harmony, and Eurhythmics were taught separately. Our piano teachers (applied study) adhered to their rigid routine, rarely fitting solfege, sight-reading, improvising,… Continue reading Ear Training and Transposing are intrinsic to piano lessons (examples from an Adult lesson in progress)
Today I Skyped a third piano lesson between California and Oregon, and learned that the student I was mentoring was not 10-years old as I had thought all along, but only 8! Dad told me she had 10 months of lessons altogether, wherein I became involved only weeks ago at the father's invitation. But the… Continue reading Skyped Piano Lessons: Using video supplements as reinforcement (Video sent to an 8-year old student)
I was thinking of Palmer's edition of Chopin, an Introduction to His Music, and when I first purchased it years ago there was no inserted CD of recorded selections contained in the album. With subsequent published editions, a CD popped into an envelope, beckoning a player to sample another pianist's interpretation of music he had… Continue reading Should piano students listen to recorded performances of pieces they are first beginning to learn?
I first came to know this piece when a fifth grader at P.S. 122 in the Bronx was selected to play it at our student assembly. The ebb and flowing beauty of this work was so poignant, that I stored it away in my memory until I was able to personally experience this composition years… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Debussy Arabesque No. 1 (Video)–and playing through the whole composition
The student I'm currently teaching by Skype has received a number of supplemental videos from me that target problems universal to those learning Clementi Sonatina, Op. 36, No. 3. In this video, geared for teachers as well as students, I define areas in the first movement, Spiritoso, that need particular focus for improvement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_q_vUSLIDI As… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Common student problems related to playing Clementi Sonatina, Op. 36, No. 3, Spiritoso (Video)
“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Thomas Edison Blood, sweat and tears and all that invested energy are supposed to produce extraordinary results. We marvel at geniuses in musical, literary, artistic and scientific fields wondering about the ingredients of their individual journeys. How much was hard work, the rest divinely inspired? What about "mood?"… Continue reading Inspiration and the Piano Student