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!
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
If you want to pick your brain, ultra-analyzing a scale: finding symmetries, asymmetries, reciprocals, common tones with common fingers, upside down, inside-out relationships between the hands, and anything else that will solidify it, you might add an extra few senility-proof years to your life. Example: I can't remember my neighbor's first name, or my best… Continue reading The Anatomy of a Scale
It took the awesome skills of a former Alabaman to resurrect my once beloved M from the dead. The keyboard had been an injury risk for months, plundered by too many technicians with pet regulation formulas and experimental impulses. After 6 months of rotating down weights and disappearing aftertouch, the black keys sat out of… Continue reading My Steinway M piano is back!
I used to customarily record segments of lessons in progress that required sensitive editing before I uploaded them to you tube. It was not only a big job, but much of the video time was taken up with students lumbering through difficult passages, needing more settled post-lesson time to sift through teacher corrections, comments. Therefore… Continue reading Piano Lesson summary videos cut to the chase
During my recent NYC touchdown for the occasion of my mother's memorial service, I found a weekend interval to make side trips to Faust Harrison Pianos' remarkable showrooms and factory. Serendipitously drifting into an inviting space on Piano Row's West 58th, just a block from Carnegie Hall, I was surrounded by Steinway grands that were… Continue reading My visit to Faust Harrison Pianos in Manhattan, and White Plains, New York
It's one thing to fly from California to New York, taking in awesome views from the plane. But would I lay back and lapse into surrendering a week of piano instruction just because I had a NYC based family obligation? No way! As long as I had my iPhone as backup, I would try to… Continue reading Piano Lesson from the Big Apple by iPhone!
An adult student and I explored sequences in the Allemande opener of Bach's French Suite in G as we parceled out the treble and bass lines. (Still another voice that danced from the alto to tenor range, was separately identified and practiced) To craft beautiful phrases in the opening movement that limpidly flows in legato,… Continue reading Sequences and Phrase contouring in J. S. Bach’s French Suite No. 5, BWV 816
Today began on a high note. Ethan Hawke's documentary about Seymour received a rave review in the New York Times. It was the latest in a series superlatives that synchronized perfectly with the film's debut in New York City at the Lincoln Center Festival amidst whispers about a probable Oscar nomination. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/27/arts/ethan-hawke-films-seymour-an-introduction.html?_r=0 To many film… Continue reading The latest about Seymour Bernstein, the Hawk(e), and two colorful Birds
In the universe of playing incorrect notes, I tell students to chill out, and approach a particular glitched passage in an organized manner. (This does NOT include PLAYING the so-called wrong note again ON PURPOSE to eliminate it) When an unintended error is magnified by PLAYING IT again, the brain REGISTERS that action as legitimate.… Continue reading Piano Practicing: What to do when you make a mistake