Looking back to my earliest piano lessons in an early 20th century townhouse attic space in the Bronx, off Kingsbridge Road, I recall my happiest moments floating through all white key melodies. It was a Diller-Quaile par duo journey with Mrs. Vinagradov, a very warm and encouraging Russian teacher, who sang line by line lyrics… Continue reading Navigating those skinny black keys without fear!
With gratitude to our mentors who light a path of learning with love, inspiration, knowledge, commitment and enduring patience. *** SEYMOUR BERNSTEIN http://seymourbernstein.com/ https://youtu.be/k-XngqDcJdg My intent in teaching is to make the pupil better than they are by leading them through musical and technical obstacles and helping them find solutions right there at the lesson.… Continue reading Teaching approaches: Seymour Bernstein, Marianna Prjevalskaya and Karen Magruder
I've come full circle back to a "signature" piece that has grown over decades as I've worked with students discovering its many challenges. The so-called "facile" Sonata in C, K. 545, by W.A. Mozart that's quickly retrievable from my memory-labeled archive, is not "easily" dismissed as a thinly composed romp through C Major. With its… Continue reading Weaving threads of melody through W.A. Mozart, K. 545-Allegro
My students continue to teach me as we move along at a pace that does justice to the unfolding of a work over time without a rush to destination. For each pupil the journey is different and varied, without definitive markers of absolute progress. Having said that, a movement that is brisk (as metaphor to… Continue reading Thinking in One through a brisk 3/8 movement (Clementi)
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!
One of the prevalent concerns of students, especially adults, surrounds the length of time they've invested in learning a particular composition. For some, an internalized goal of technical/musical "mastery" attaches a self-imposed deadline to completion. Boxed into this self-affixed learning time frame, is the end game of neatly shelving a composition as impetus to move… Continue reading The multi-step process of piano learning: but who’s counting?
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