It takes patience to approach a piece well behind tempo, tuning in to every nuance and turn of phrase. With ears alert and sensitive, the player tries to create a feeling state where he's submerged in sound to the exclusion of all else. At the pinnacle of concentration, he's "in the zone," attaining Maslow's "peak… Continue reading Piano Instruction: The Virtues of Slow Motion Practicing and Attentive Listening
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)
Last weekend I journeyed to the Fresno State University Music Building to monitor Room 1 for the Celebration Festival sponsored by the Fresno branch of the Music Teachers Association of California. Every February students from our city and surrounding areas are invited to play one or two pieces in a selected cubicle, (basically a music… Continue reading The MTAC Celebration Festival, Anna Magdalena Bach, and Meeting Keith Snell (VIDEO)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQiaWoJaUfQ Domenico Scarlatti never fails to come up with a flashy pyrotechnical escapade that can make or break a player in progress. I know, because I've walked the plank with this piece until I was able to reverse my fortune and run with it happily into the horizon. Any number of times those repeated notes,… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti Sonata (Toccata) in D minor, K. 141 with reams of repeated notes (VIDEO)
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!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh09WH_g7wo I can always use an extra pair of hands to navigate the Baroque composer's technically challenging sonata It's a real workout playing Domenico Scarlatti's essercizi or sonatas. The impossible leaps, crossed hands, trills and syncopation that permeate the composer's music require a daredevil to take on the challenge. Scarlatti will sometimes defy a player… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti Sonata in A, K. 113–in leaps and bounds
I was about to throw my camcorder across the room as the supposedly fully charged battery was flickering and about to shut down! There was no reason for the cam to go on strike, especially within minutes of Evan's arrival. He was the last piano student of the day, and had just entered my studio… Continue reading Grieg’s music survived a failing lithium battery!