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Performance Anxiety and the Pianist

For too long performance anxiety was a taboo subject, always swept under the rug. I remember grappling with paralyzing jitters during my years at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. My piano teacher at the time, a seasoned professional, would always say the same thing: "Honey, the music is bigger than you… Continue reading Performance Anxiety and the Pianist

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Teaching Piano to Teenagers: Classical, Pop, Taylor Swift, Liz on Top of the World and more (Videos)

There's always room for flexibility in choice of repertoire, especially when teaching teenagers. Alex, 18, had taken lessons during primary school, took a long break and returned to the piano as a senior in high school. His first request was to study "Liz on Top of the World," by Dario Marianelli from the movie, "Pride… Continue reading Teaching Piano to Teenagers: Classical, Pop, Taylor Swift, Liz on Top of the World and more (Videos)

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A Table Style Piano with Three Leaves–the whole story in lurid detail

Two days following my encounter with the towering no name upright, I was drawn to a Fresno Bee Classified ad, that listed an antique ”Counsel piano” for sale at “$1500 or best offer.” (First thing that popped into my head was Indian pow-wow- tribal "council?") What on earth was a Counsel? I snatched up my… Continue reading A Table Style Piano with Three Leaves–the whole story in lurid detail

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More piano teaching favorites: Burgmuller’s 25 Progressive Pieces, op. 100

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ncr1BMTtvOQ Burgmuller, a German composer living in France during the Romantic era composed these delightful programmatic pieces in order of "progressive" difficulty; I've chosen 3 favorites to showcase: "Arabesque," "La Chasse" (The Chase) and "L'Harmonie des Anges" (Harmony of the Angels) Arabesque ("beautiful decoration") is a sprightly, fast paced miniature in "A" minor, that basically… Continue reading More piano teaching favorites: Burgmuller’s 25 Progressive Pieces, op. 100

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Housing my Dream Pianos

I grew up in the Marble Hill projects of the Bronx and lived on the ninth floor. The walls of our housing development were so paper thin that when I practiced on my Sohmer 1922 studio upright, my first dream piano, it would elicit nerve-racking thumps from the neighbor down below. To my embarrassment, I… Continue reading Housing my Dream Pianos

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A Day with Two Piano Finalists

A Kawai and Chickering were in a tight race, until one took off and surpassed the other. My whole Saturday was consumed with evaluating two pianos: a practically brand new "Kawai" 5'1" grand and a larger, nearly 5'8" size "Chickering," 1980. The Kawai captured my interest because a smaller studio upright of the same brand… Continue reading A Day with Two Piano Finalists

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Teens, popular music then and now, Taylor Swift, throw in Five for Fighting “100 Years”

Today was by no means a first for me, a long-haired musician raised on Bach, Beethoven and Brahms teaching a teen some pop tunes by John Ondrasik and Taylor Swift while I sailed through the universe of "Liz on Top of the World" with another student. Videotaping portions of piano lessons was the natural result… Continue reading Teens, popular music then and now, Taylor Swift, throw in Five for Fighting “100 Years”