piano, piano blog, piano blog by Shirley Kirsten, piano technique

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)

phrasing, piano, piano blog, piano blog by Shirley Kirsten, piano instruction, Uncategorized

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

piano, piano blog, piano instruction

Burgmuller’s Arabesque and Inquietude are teaching treasures

I'm always gratified to have a repository of progressive pieces that roll out smoothly from scale and arpeggio study to a universe of colorful, musical expression. Burgmuller's Op. 100 is such a learner rich album of 25 short works with infused choreographies that advance a musical/technical synthesis. "Arabesque," the second offering, is permeated by ascending… Continue reading Burgmuller’s Arabesque and Inquietude are teaching treasures

piano, piano blog, piano blog by Shirley Kirsten

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”

phrasing, phrasing at the piano, piano blog, piano instrucion, piano teaching, piano technique

Piano Technique: Weight transfer into the keys and voicing

The application of weight that's channeled into the keys through relaxed arms and supple wrists is an important ingredient of musical playing. It supports a variety of colors in "voicing" myriads of notes, while it increases attentive listening skills. Central to the "voicing" process are decisions made about what lines need drawing out, and how… Continue reading Piano Technique: Weight transfer into the keys and voicing

piano, piano blog, piano learning, piano study, piano teachers, piano teaching

Our self-made tutorials grow teaching skills

Ever since I embarked upon my very first lunge at globalizing my ideas over the Internet---devising a "chunking" strategy to play black key weighted scales B, F#, and C# Major, I realized that I was teaching myself while helping others. A "blocking" technique in its infancy, blossomed into more sophisticated analyses of how to approach… Continue reading Our self-made tutorials grow teaching skills

acoustic, acoustic piano, piano, piano blog

A week of digital and acoustic pianos!

Every so often, I find myself at the local piano outlet, tinkering with the latest digitals on and off the shelf. (portables and consoles) And as the weekend rolled in, I was invited to DC Piano by a new student who'd purchased a Kawai CA 58 console electronic without my input. No doubt, my prodding… Continue reading A week of digital and acoustic pianos!