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Practicing Contrary Motion Scales (Video tutorial)

I often use scales played in opposite directions to reinforce posture and the body's ability to lean in either direction toward the highest or lowest octave without bench wandering, or dizzying head movements. Since the third octave in these excursions is not within eye range, the advantage of a pull toward the keyboard, (even without… Continue reading Practicing Contrary Motion Scales (Video tutorial)

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Beauty in Simplicity: Robert Schumann’s “Melody” No. 1

Schumann's Album for the Young opens with an ethereal duet that meanders through heart-rending harmonies by its seamless flow of broken intervals and chords in the lower line. (The bass is intentionally composed in an alto range, and read in the left hand with a second treble clef, bringing the duet to poignance by its… Continue reading Beauty in Simplicity: Robert Schumann’s “Melody” No. 1

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Voice parceling in Schumann’s Kinderszenen, “Of Foreign Lands and People”

On first glance, most students will read down the page of Kinderszenen 1, Op. 15, enjoying a melodic flow, with only a passing interest in two additional voices. With this singular focus on the soprano line, the middle voice of relentless triplets can still inadvertently intrude upon the uppermost voice, as thumbs cross over from… Continue reading Voice parceling in Schumann’s Kinderszenen, “Of Foreign Lands and People”

piano, piano blog, piano blog by Shirley Kirsten, piano mentoring

Anti-boredom formula=Daily, attentive, patient, layered practicing

Over decades of teaching children from beginners to advanced levels, I've been struck by those who progress over a lengthy period due to their focused, disciplined, and organized practicing. Each encounter at lessons becomes for them, an awakening, reinforced by deeper probing. If a pupil is willing to partner in such a journey where a… Continue reading Anti-boredom formula=Daily, attentive, patient, layered practicing

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Jeanne Bamberger, 94, shares a rich and abundant musical life

A former student of legendary pianist, Artur Schnabel, Jeanne Shapiro Bamberger sat comfortably at her piano bench, nestled in her Berkeley Hills home. She meticulously traced her East to West Coast journey that's reached beyond the boundaries of piano performance. Through decades of creative discovery, Bamberger has synthesized elements of music and cognition; form, structure,… Continue reading Jeanne Bamberger, 94, shares a rich and abundant musical life

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Trading places with our piano students

As teachers, the empathy we have for a pupil's budding learning process with its slips and slides, is at the foundation of good mentoring. By remembering what it's like to be in the student's position, sitting at the piano under a professional gaze, we can increase our pedagogical effectiveness. If we revisit our own early… Continue reading Trading places with our piano students

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Top FIVE Piano Lesson by SKYPE Interruptions! (Videos)

Group web cam lessons on Bow-wow ( Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota) Top Notch Tone Tutorial Class 1) out-take http://youtu.be/fONbHGw8zXM 2) out-take http://youtu.be/Fy-6SkVFqMQ 3) Cat jumps out the window (United Kingdom) http://youtu.be/df7Pfg0Fcnc 4) 5 month-old Baby on lap (Alaska) http://youtu.be/D1HDoNAI75A 5) Earthquake! (Brazil) http://youtu.be/I-dbDgapMmA