I often enjoy a splurge of self-produced technique videos to assist my teaching, and to clarify my latest insights. This week I examined Staccato playing, using weight transfer for dynamic variation, as I employed a legato "floating arm" as a model for snipping out a stream of well-connected, scale-wise detached notes. In this undertaking, I'd… Continue reading Piano Technique Tutorials abound this week!
For the past year I've devoted many daily hours to the study J.S. Bach's six French Suites while simultaneously keeping pace with my students' passage through diverse repertoire. The decision to take on this additional musical challenge apart from meeting my basic teacher obligations of being present at lessons; knowing the material assigned, and dispensing… Continue reading Our individual musical study grows our piano teaching
It's easy to be dismissive of the Classical era Minuet form, though in the hands of a wunderkind like Mozart, a set of these 3/4 meter Binary dances springs to life with a myriad of embedded learning and performance challenges. For example, the Minuet in F Major, K. 2 composed by Mozart at age 6,… Continue reading W.A. Mozart Minuets: Valuable Journeys of Discovery
Piano teachers often welcome the opportunity to use student repertoire requests as a springboard to nourish new learning adventures. Such pupil-driven musical endeavors can lead to deep-layered immersions in short, Romantically framed character pieces. The value of dipping into miniature variety compositions encompasses taking on a learning challenge in compact form. For example, Schumann's Album… Continue reading The value of studying short Romantic era Character pieces
Five words resonated profoundly through a Masterclass given by Pianist, Andras Schiff at the Juilliard School. They framed a myriad of movements in Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras. Three students offered selections by Bach, Schubert and Schumann. (The event was Live-streamed) While Beethoven did not grace the program, Maestro Schiff's mentoring had far-reaching implications for… Continue reading “Listen to the Long Notes”
A North Carolina ONLINE piano student comes to Berkeley, California for a LIVE lesson right before the Super Bowl!
I've picked the first two pages of Mozart's Sonata in Bb Major, K. 281, last movement, Rondeau, Allegro to explore breathing and blocking techniques in the learning process. (These principles can be applied to practicing music from a variety of eras) Starting a composition is often taken for granted. Sometimes students will land on a… Continue reading Piano Practicing: Breathing into phrases and blocking out passages (Mozart Sonata, example)
It's not easy to plan a one hour piano lesson to include ear training, solfege and transposing. (They belong together, bundled with Theory, and enrich the learning environment) At the Oberlin Conservatory, Theory, Keyboard Harmony, and Eurhythmics were taught separately. Our piano teachers (applied study) adhered to their rigid routine, rarely fitting solfege, sight-reading, improvising,… Continue reading Ear Training and Transposing are intrinsic to piano lessons (examples from an Adult lesson in progress)
I enjoy my weekly journey to a home way up in the Hills of El Cerrito (neighbor to Berkeley) There, I teach Lucy and Fritz who play a lovely, resonant Baldwin Acrosonic that I advised mom to purchase (over at DC Pianos) Acros happen to be among my favorites in the spinet/console category. The Back… Continue reading Sister and brother piano lessons in the Hills
The video attached to this writing validates the beauty of music-making on a well-maintained, though 1940s vintage era acoustic piano. Baldwin Acrosonics were the Cadillacs of the spinet and console variety pianos. They had a noticeable innovation compared to their sister-size instruments. (A deeper sound chamber, especially noted in the consoles that measured 40" or… Continue reading Into the Hills with the Sound of Music –a Baldwin Acrosonic “acoustic” sings