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How to win Friends and influence People on LinkedIn

LinkedIn

After a major workout at the gym this afternoon, I sat down at my computer, flooded by waves of LinkedIn “endorsements.” A new gush of approbations encompassed bird-watching, percussion, band conducting, coin-collecting, baby-sitting and chess-playing. Was I in the midst of a mega makeover not of my choosing?

I felt guilty about being showered with praise for my non-existent skills and hobbies, so I fired back “endorsements” to senders, blindly tapping any and every reciprocal sphere of activity in sight whether it applied or not to my so-called “connections.”

For my former Amtrak train buddy, “Tim,” who’d spent the better part of 3 hours troubleshooting web problems at Williams-Sonoma.com, I tapped in a “pet-loving” endorsement (after all, he’d raised three cats, two, eaten by coyotes) Another prompt whizzed onto the screen testing my eye hand/coordination skills. Why not mouse click, “knows about jet engine repair.” I’d vaguely remembered Tim having delivered a mega-complex analysis of what happened to the Airbus A320 that crash-landed safely on the Hudson River and how the Canadian geese got stuck in the engine. Oops the “bird-watching” endorsement just evaded me, slipping quickly into the “diaper-changing” universe. Why not go for it, since my traveling companion had often boasted about his new grandson. Surely, he’d aced the skills necessary to keep the infant dry and comfortable.

NO sooner than I’d clicked this warm and fuzzy endorsement, another popped up, pertaining to a complete stranger. How did an “Australian Alligator trainer” land in my Network? (Friend? acquaintance? business associate? High School classmate? friend of a friend, employer?) In a mega memory recall effort, I mind-snatched the “connection” to an Aussie Online piano student who had an Engineering degree.

Quickly I tapped “knows Calculus” before my computer flashed “media/communications,” and “shrimp farming”–what the heck, it was the thought that counted not whether these latest skills on the rifle range of choices were a perfect fit for the latest in-or-out-of network newcomer.

In either case, my “connections” were spiraling out of control while my SQUARE of endorsements was bulging at the seams.

Suddenly, a new round of endorsements catapulted onto the screen. A Hindu Elephant vet and a New York City Bank President endorsed me for “fashion design,” and “face-painting” while I snapped back “knows Farsi,” and “rips people off.” Oops, wrong endorsement! How could I delete the last one, before I’d earn an instant “dis-connect.”

My PROFILE PAGE rhombus of skills was surely headed for a fatal blow with a falling dominoes effect!

OMG! My NYC High School of Performing Arts Math Teacher, “Shirley Katz,” had just become the latest “connection,” endorsing me for “horseback riding” and “pizza-pie-making.” True, I’d aced the Intermediate Algebra Regents, which nourished my skills to carefully measure out cups and half-cups of flour; teaspoons and tablespoons of olive oil, but I hadn’t saddled up on a horse since I was 6 (at the Van Cortlandt Park Bronx trail) And I nearly got kicked in the face by a Palomino when I wasn’t looking.

Without a second thought, I shot back three consecutive endorsements for KATZ: “knows diplomacy,” “has more passes than flunks,” and “shows up at all Performing Arts High reunions.”

Finally, these endorsements gelled with the right person and I was thankfully off the hook. To cut my losses and preserve my gains, I shut down the darn computer and headed for the piano where I felt really CONNECTED!

***

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Ear Training and Transposing are intrinsic to piano lessons (examples from an Adult lesson in progress)

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, composing etc. into the time-limited hour. Yet, the cross-fertilization of course work, expanded our musical horizons.

The New York City High School of Performing Arts, my alma mater, offered a valuable/mandatory Sight-singing course that continued from 10th grade through senior year. It was enormously relevant as the movable DO (solfeggio) helped me navigate complex scores, and peel away voices.

Piano students who just stick to the music without being exposed to theory, ear-training and other mind-enriching escapades, are basically short-changed. They often view their pieces as finger challenges only–easily becoming Treble clef fixated, tacking on bass lines without a second thought. Naturally, their sight-reading suffers because they’re not internalizing interval movement in various voices, or sensing harmonic flow.

In an effort to stem the tide of such top layer, tracing paper learning, I’ve made a concerted effort to delegate at least 15 minutes of my students’ lesson time to ear training and transposing. (One of my source materials is Fundamentals of Piano Theory by Snell and Ashleigh) Snell and Ashleigh

As an example, I videotaped an adult student transposing snatches from the Preparatory Level workbook, page 45.

for transposition using solfege

***

I’ve tossed in a spot-practicing segment where the ADULT student is smoothing out a tricky set of measures in the RONDO: Allegretto, Mozart Sonata, K. 545. (Repertoire should be a springboard for sight-singing, ear-training and theory adventures since they’re interwoven)

(I often slip into solfeggio in parceling voices)

***
LINKS:

Solfeggio and Transposing

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/piano-instruction-solfeggio-and-transposing-video/

The Importance of Sight-singing, Ear-training and Theory in piano study
https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/the-importance-of-sight-singing-ear-training-and-theory-in-piano-study/

Using Piano Repertoire and as a springboard for a theory lesson

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/using-piano-repertoire-as-a-springboard-for-a-theory-lesson-major-minor-and-diminished-chords-videos/

How to Improve Sight-Reading

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/how-to-improve-sight-reading-at-the-piano/

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A sentimental journey taken with Mozart

urtext Mozart sonatas

A dear musician friend took off for the Catskills with Haydn. His music would fill her cabin space that came equipped with an old grand piano.

My journey ran parallel, only Mozart took the reins.

Wolfgang Amadeus filled my Berkeley apartment with strains of Sonata no. 9 in D, K. 311. It was a revisit after decades past my student days at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. Murray Perahia was a year ahead of me at the time, and a pace-setter. He was strides ahead of us, fledglings, as he read Brahms symphonies at the piano. It was phrase perfect.

I was 13, embarking upon my studies with Lillian Freundlich, who led me by the hand through the great Classical piano literature.

She taught me about the singing tone, how to produce it–and had me drop one note at a time with supple wrists and relaxed arms– Mozart was our vehicle and he could not speed off in a superficial spree of top layer, fingered passages. I had to get into the keys, and draw out the richness of the composer’s operatic musical metaphor. Wolfgang would resonate in all vocal ranges. (The piano, after all, was NOT a percussion instrument) It had an immense reservoir of cantabile.

**

Lillian played quite beautifully herself. In fact she sang over most of her own music-making, just as Glen Gould was known to do.

Seated at her 1940s Mason and Hamlin grand that upstaged the neighboring Steinway, I felt her looking over my shoulder, drowning out my phrases, shaping lines with her vocal nuances. She sometimes shook her head in a steady beat to prevent me from running off somewhere within my vacillating tempo. She was always there to ground me.

It’s been years! Time waits for no one..

And Mrs. Freundlich is long gone. Yet her presence remains. I felt it keenly when I scooped up an old Mozart Sonata Urtext edition and thumbed my way to Sonata K. 311–the very first one I learned with Lillian.

DSC05395

After 3 hours of careful review, as if I never really left the piece, but merely lifted it from my unconscious, I was uploading the masterwork to you tube.


My REVISIT–At first in slow tempo, (self-instruction)


A brisk play through:

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Growing piano technique in baby steps: Rina, 5, advances to hands together five-finger positions (adding in 10ths)

Rina may not know the words “pentascales” and “tenths,” but she has the intelligence to notice when her fingers move up and down together, playing the same notes an “octave” apart. With a sound knowledge of the music alphabet in both directions, she has good cognitive reinforcement. (She also knows “running notes” or 8ths, “long sounds”–half notes, “short sounds”– quarters, and “half-note dot” is a dotted-half note.)

But note-name recognition and having a concept of rhythmic values are just part of the learning process. She needs to cultivate the singing tone wedded to limpid phrasing–a dimension of playing we’ve explored from day one embracing Irina Gorin’s Tales of a Music Journey philosophy.

In this regard, Rina is working on softening the impact of her thumbs, so she can nicely roll into her LEGATO five-finger positions and smoothly taper them. (LEGATO means smooth and connected, finger-to-finger)

She has progressed from having played each hand alone through five notes ascending and descending, in a “conversational” way, to synchronizing both hands at the same time in parallel motion.

She also creates an “echo” effect on a repeat and we make sure to include the parallel minor in her playings. (Black notes also belong to the keyboard family)

Next, I thought to introduce a bit of “magic.”

How about starting the Right Hand on E while the Left Hand remained on bass C. (still five notes up and down but spaced in 10ths)

Rina took to it like a duck in water especially with an enticing harmonic landscape.

Here are two snatches from her lesson, starting with the first (both hands playing same notes in legato)

In the second video, she plays in 10ths:

Our next piece is “Little March” by Daniel Gottlob Turk. This follows Minuet by Reinagle of which Rina is separately studying the bass part. In addition she’s rendering it in the “minor,” enlisting a “B flat.” (She performed the melody on our recent Spring Recital) The Reinagle piece came with its own new landmark: Rina played detached and legato notes in one selection.

I’ve prepared a video to assist mom with ear-training experiences for “Little March” during the week. Rina will be saturated with listening; doing hand signals for melodic shape; singing notes and then rhythms. (phrase one) This is the first stage of her learning process.

***

LINK:

Rina plays at the Spring Recital


https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/rina-5-performs-at-our-spring-recital-after-8-months-of-piano-lessons-video/

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Grammy award winner Murray Perahia shines at Zellerbach Hall! Encore, Schubert Impromptu Op. 90 in Eb in two “live” performances (Videos)

Murray Perahia, Poet of the Piano

Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley is a regular stop for Murray Perahia, who happens to be my former classmate at the New York City High School of Performing Arts (The “FAME I wanna live forever school”).

I’ve already reminisced about “P.A.” and Murray’s inspiring musical presence: https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/murray-perahia-pianist-is-in-a-league-of-his-own-videos/

For those of us who shadowed him after classes, grabbing any opportunity to partake of his amazing talent during chamber music rehearsals and more, we were amply rewarded:

He fed our own practicing with that extra dose of inspiration.

So seeking more of the same decades later, I made the jaunt to Zellerbach in Berkeley accompanied by two adult piano students who planned for an afternoon of exquisite music-making.

They were not disappointed. (Perahia’s program featured the J.S. Bach’s French Suite in G; Beethoven Op. 90 Sonata in E; Brahms Klavierstucke; Schubert Sonata in A, and various Chopin works)

The tour de force, encore, a Perahia favorite that caps many of his solo recitals, was the Schubert Impromptu in Eb, Op. 90

Venue: Zellerbach in Berkeley, California (CAL Performances) Video begins in the black, but eventually adjusts. I added a few annotations about interpretation.

RELATED:

My NYC High School of Performing Arts Yearbook and What I Found:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/my-new-york-city-high-school-of-performing-arts-fame-yearbook-and-what-i-found/

Recommended:

Murray Perahia rehearses Mozart Concerto No. 21 in C Major, and speaks to Sir Dennis Forman:

Murray Perahia’s Brahms/Handel Variations wins a Grammy! (Listen and watch Perahia discuss and play portions of the composition)

Murray Perahia website:

http://www.murrayperahia.com

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Irina Morozova’s inspiring words flow through a lesson with an adult student (Beethoven’s Fur Elise-in-progress) Video

“From watching great pianists it is obvious that they incorporate quite different movements to achieve the same goals, because people do not play piano with fingers but rather with the mind and the ear. Again, it is the clear image of what kind of sound one wants to achieve, combined with the knowledge of how to get it….”

To frame a lesson with these ideas, helps to infuse it with the spiritual, analytical, and nonverbal elements of exchange.

Within this paradigm, one of my adult students continued her study of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise.” (C section, treble chord voicing with bass tremolo)

LINK:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/pianist-irina-morozova-blends-a-satisfying-career-of-teaching-and-performing-videos/

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Piano Lesson: The challenge of playing a slow movement

I chose Muzio Clementi’s popular Sonatina in C, Op. 36, No. 1 to flesh out the contrasting middle movement designated ANDANTE by the composer. It’s definitely a challenge to play just 6 lines of music with beauty and finesse.

As a start, the player is exposed to realizing rolling triplet 8th-notes in the left hand against a flowing treble melodic line with interspersed trills. These “decorations” or embellishments move rapidly through principal notes lending a shimmer to them. One can choose less repercussions (in 16ths) for the trill or try the alternate group of more notes in 32nds. (Indicated in the score)

I personally believe that more repercussions give the movement a gem-like character in the Classical style. Mozart’s music, for example, sparkles with trills. Why not give Clement the same deference.

The video below offers a step-wise approach to learning the Andante movement. As expected, the rolling forward motion of the wrist helps to phrase the bass and treble. In addition, striking a nice balance between voices is a significant dimension of a satisfying performance.

This movement may have a tendency to drag, but in truth, Andante, if taken literally, comes from the Italian ANDARE, “to walk.” Andante being the gerund, WALKING does not mean lumbering along.

The triplets should therefore, pleasingly move with grace giving support to a fluidly played melody. And between the hand-crossovers of triplets, the ongoing legato must be preserved.

Where parallel 6ths are introduced, one should think of a single melodic tone through each group of three, best illustrated in the instructional footage.

Molto Cantabile (cultivation of the singing tone) is one’s best frame in playing this movement with beauty and refinement.

Playing through in tempo: