Sometimes we learn a floating, flowing path to beauty through the unfortunate school of HARD knocks. To this effect, I recall my esteemed Oberlin Conservatory piano teacher dealing in mindless, stressful repetitions of meaningless exercises that caused joint pain and unremarkable displays of flat-lined, tightly squeezed playing. His teaching, to an extreme level of adherence… Continue reading Piano Technique: No Pain, Much Gain
I remember my days at the Oberlin Conservatory pumping out meaningless Schmitt finger exercises, often holding notes down, while a selected persecuted finger had to brave the pain is gain ritual. (tap, tap, tap, tap, and move on to the next unlucky digit) Looking back, it was a wasted effort which had NO relationship to… Continue reading Piano technique is about flexibility not finger strength
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)
A few years ago, I received a telling message through my Authors Den website. John Bidwell, a spirited short story writer and poet, shared more than a literary connection with me. He waxed poetic about his late mother and father, Eleanor and David, who were pianists and 1950's classmates at Oberlin. (my alma mater) A… Continue reading A Love Story Woven on a Chopin Canvas
Friendship is forever. Coming back to New York City was living proof of it.
These are two supplementary videos that I created for adult students between lessons. As previously mentioned, they clarify and reinforce the content of our class, and map out ways to practice. I. ROTATION at the turnaround of a B minor Arpeggio Exploring the curve at the very top of the figure with an energy boost… Continue reading Piano Technique: Focusing on Rotation in arpeggios, and building up a scale (Videos)
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… Continue reading Growing piano technique in baby steps: Rina, 5, advances to hands together five-finger positions (adding in 10ths)