As we age, we're reluctant to look at our reflection in the mirror, but as we grow over time as musicians, the mirror of our playing in recorded "reflections" can foster quality adjustments in phrasing and interpretation. If we nudge ourselves to step back and be "objective" about what we're hearing, we may try to… Continue reading Mirrors and piano playing
If you want to pick your brain, ultra-analyzing a scale: finding symmetries, asymmetries, reciprocals, common tones with common fingers, upside down, inside-out relationships between the hands, and anything else that will solidify it, you might add an extra few senility-proof years to your life. Example: I can't remember my neighbor's first name, or my best… Continue reading The Anatomy of a Scale
It took the awesome skills of a former Alabaman to resurrect my once beloved M from the dead. The keyboard had been an injury risk for months, plundered by too many technicians with pet regulation formulas and experimental impulses. After 6 months of rotating down weights and disappearing aftertouch, the black keys sat out of… Continue reading My Steinway M piano is back!
I used to customarily record segments of lessons in progress that required sensitive editing before I uploaded them to you tube. It was not only a big job, but much of the video time was taken up with students lumbering through difficult passages, needing more settled post-lesson time to sift through teacher corrections, comments. Therefore… Continue reading Piano Lesson summary videos cut to the chase
During my recent NYC touchdown for the occasion of my mother's memorial service, I found a weekend interval to make side trips to Faust Harrison Pianos' remarkable showrooms and factory. Serendipitously drifting into an inviting space on Piano Row's West 58th, just a block from Carnegie Hall, I was surrounded by Steinway grands that were… Continue reading My visit to Faust Harrison Pianos in Manhattan, and White Plains, New York
It's one thing to fly from California to New York, taking in awesome views from the plane. But would I lay back and lapse into surrendering a week of piano instruction just because I had a NYC based family obligation? No way! As long as I had my iPhone as backup, I would try to… Continue reading Piano Lesson from the Big Apple by iPhone!
One of the joys of teaching piano is to experience awakenings with our students as we experiment with phrasing, and refine original perceptions. And while a piano teacher is considered a mentor to a student, he/she clearly realizes that roles are easily reversed when a pupil inspires further experimentation and clarification. In exploring the Romantic… Continue reading Experimentation and refinement are the ingredients of music teaching and learning
I found the perfect solution to practicing the Schubert Fantasie in F minor without my duet partner, since she's absent for 6 days of the week. While we rehearse on Thursdays, the piano bench literally shrinks putting us both at risk for hand collisions and body blows. In truth, the pushes and shoves have more… Continue reading Going Solo with the Schubert Fantasie for 4-hands
My two J's, back-to-back adult pupils, had a rollicking time practicing their arpeggios from legato to staccato. Both had epiphanies about wrist, forearm, and finger staccato in their transitions from whirly, swirly playing to crisp releases. For J(2) "weeping willow" arms allowed a stream of uninterrupted funneled energy that fueled his C Major romp over… Continue reading Two Adult Piano Students have an Arpeggio fun fest!
Floating arms, supple wrists, delicate relaxed ornaments and trills, and an oxymoron-driven, perfect parachute landing flowed into a lesson last night with a musically responsive adult student. The keyboard was transformed into a soft cushion receiving fingers energized with bigger channeled energies traveling down buoyant arms through springy wrists. Most of all, imagination fed a… Continue reading “Clouds,” “cushions,” and “veils” permeate a Chopin Lesson (Waltz in A minor)