This past week brought a nearly insurmountable challenge to help a 90-year old sell her 7-foot Baldwin grand piano. Sight unseen, I'd enlisted a volunteer effort while facing a built-in pressure cooker deadline of 30 days to sale. The owner's move to Assisted Living could not include a lion's size instrument. With less than a… Continue reading Piano Adventures!
Expressing Mozart's piano music beautifully is a composite of many ingredients that include vocal modeling; an understanding of form/structure and harmonic elements; sound imaging, and in the cosmos of the imagination, exploring how to produce what we want to hear. In our ongoing phase of "experimentation," we delve through a terrain of unclarity, seeking ways… Continue reading Playing Mozart: Phrasing and Nuance
Once I sold my beloved Steinway 'A' grand that had eaten into the space of my neighbor's apartment where it had been well cared for over a year's time, I felt obliged to replace it. The 'A' had been the first piano for a beginning student who lived at the end of our walkway. For… Continue reading Seek and Ye shall find the right FREE piano!
Sometimes winners of piano competitions are not true messengers of great musical artistry. They might succeed in pleasing a panel of judges who often reward interpretive conformity and convention bundled in pyrotechnical displays, bestowing the Gold medal upon the least offending contender. Yet such a career launch may be short-lived once the round-by-round environment is… Continue reading Alessandro Deljavan is a uniquely gifted pianist
Most piano students become DIS-connected when asked to play staccato. Their full blown trepidation wedded to DETACHMENT is so conspicuously on display during scale and arpeggio playing that a teacher must first devise mental cues to bring the student down to earth, in a comfortably secure traction with the keys. It's no surprise then, that… Continue reading A Fear-less, Horizontal Approach to Staccato playing
https://youtu.be/6BSvDPdSNt4 My tiny Berkeley apartment had been shrinking by increments with its herd of tight-squeezed grand pianos and digital keyboards. Count in a Baldwin grand acquired in April, 2015; a medium size Steinway grand (5'7") bequeathed by my father after Oberlin graduation, and two side-by-side digital keyboards--YDP 105, and Yamaha Arius 141. The electronics were… Continue reading One grand piano in, and another out, but not forgotten
As we age, we're reluctant to look at our reflection in the mirror, but as we grow over time as musicians, the mirror of our playing in recorded "reflections" can foster quality adjustments in phrasing and interpretation. If we nudge ourselves to step back and be "objective" about what we're hearing, we may try to… Continue reading Mirrors and piano playing
Livia Rev, a seasoned pianist, ripened by her 99 years on earth, drew my attention during a You Tube search for performances of Chopin's Nocturne in F Major, Op. 15. (It was at a time when I was studying and teaching the composition.) The middle section of this work has a notable turbulent emotional shift… Continue reading Livia Rev, pianist, ripens with age
Berkeley, California boasts a repository of uniquely talented musicians some of whom have a wide array of interests and activities that elevate them to renaissance status. Bruce Loeb is one of those exceptionally diversified, high achievers with a C.V. to substantiate. His vast list of identities includes silent film accompanist, vocal coach, piano teacher, composer,… Continue reading Bruce Loeb: A Silent Film Accompanist and much more!
As my local and Online piano students gear up for their bi-annual music sharing this coming Saturday over Skype, a commonly expressed concern is how to harness the imagination to feed a musical journey right from the opening measure of a piece to its final cadence. The challenge for everyone embodies a centered period of… Continue reading Imagination fuels expressive piano playing