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Our individual musical study grows our piano teaching

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

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An adult and child share common goals in playing piano artistically

There's no big ocean of divide in working with children and adult piano students. In fact, today I found common threads running through two lessons: one with a local beginner, age, 8--the other, a seasoned adult. Liz, 8, completed her fifth week of instruction, with my imbued emphasis on how to produce a singing tone.… Continue reading An adult and child share common goals in playing piano artistically

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Deviating from the Piano Method Book to custom fit the child

In the course of page turning through The Music Tree, Time to Begin, I'm in agreement pedagogically with the early exposure of twin black note playing, enlisting alternating hands, using fingers 2 or 3. This route also provides a sound vehicle for teaching fundamental note values: quarters and half notes, with a pre-notational designation of… Continue reading Deviating from the Piano Method Book to custom fit the child

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The “upper arm roll” and undulating wrist in piano playing

Many piano teachers call the same physical approach to various passages by a different name. I find myself in harmony with author, teacher, composer, Seymour Bernstein when he demonstrates the "upper arm roll" in Part 4 of his recorded series, "You and the Piano." https://youtu.be/lNYH8GQrdrc As it plays out in one my teaching videos, I… Continue reading The “upper arm roll” and undulating wrist in piano playing

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Finding a melodic thread in a sea of fast notes

Compositions that are laden with myriads of fast paced notes often pose a problem for students whose immediate response is to efficiently "type" them out. Implementing such a mechanical approach often excludes an awareness of a melodic strand that will need to undergo shaping and contouring. One particular piece comes to mind that offers an… Continue reading Finding a melodic thread in a sea of fast notes

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A “cool” dip into Quicktime for wrist, finger, and forearm staccato practice

Amazing how 90-degree temperatures in the East Bay can wreak havoc over Face Time transmissions. It nearly made Online mentoring come to a grinding halt yesterday! except that a Quick Time saving grace Lesson Preserver came to the rescue! *** In my Scotland travels, I'm accustomed to subbing in the iPhone for the iMac because… Continue reading A “cool” dip into Quicktime for wrist, finger, and forearm staccato practice

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No dumbing down piano study for adult students

I'm ready for a shower of criticism on this one. After all, some adults want their favorite transcription of the Elvira Madigan theme song, (aka Mozart's Concerto No. 21 in C, Andante) to encapsulate their musical journey---at least for part of the time. And that's OK if the transcription route of top ten, poorly transformed… Continue reading No dumbing down piano study for adult students