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
There appears to be a stigma attached to parceling out a brand new piece in deliberately slow tempo, where a player threads through separate lines with a commitment to expression framed by an ultra-relaxed singing pulse. In the best realization of such immersion, the music becomes magnified to a new level of awareness, albeit in… Continue reading Why is practicing slowly so unpopular?
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)
I find my current musical journey down memory lane to be joyful and challenging--especially as I cut and paste the Mozart Rondo: Allegro, K. 311 pages to fit comfortably on the piano rack. (Deja Vu, Haydn C Major Hoboken XVI35--Haydn pinned and unpinned) I wrote to a musician friend during the height of my frustration.… Continue reading Revisiting an old piano piece learned years earlier
Rina takes to piano like a duck in water. Yesterday, she began her lesson with a five-finger romp through D Major and minor, adding chords to her repertoire. Did I say "chords?" It's every child's dream to play more than one voice at a time, to fully appreciate the piano as an orchestral instrument. I… Continue reading Rina, 5, moves right along in her piano studies (Videos)
Rina may not know the words "pentascales" and "tenths," but she has the intelligence to notice when her fingers move up and down together, playing the same notes an "octave" apart. With a sound knowledge of the music alphabet in both directions, she has good cognitive reinforcement. (She also knows "running notes" or 8ths, "long… Continue reading Growing piano technique in baby steps: Rina, 5, advances to hands together five-finger positions (adding in 10ths)
Scales can be a great workout routine if you let your arms loose, dip your pliant wrists and go with the flow. And it's a great cardio. (No treadmill or weights required) Just apply principles of balance and buoyancy. Here are snatches from an adult student's lesson (Legato and staccato playing with slow motion replays)… Continue reading Piano Technique: A Bouncy Scale workout with forward arm rolls and supple wrist motions–Enjoy the romp! (Videos)