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
It's always disheartening when students forego their scales and arpeggios at lessons, choosing instead, to dive immediately into repertoire. In their zeal to immerse themselves in the Masterworks, they neglect a pivotal Circle of Fifths journey that's wedded to keyboard geographies, key relationships, and much more. As a child, I reviled scales like most beginning… Continue reading Piano Technique: Practicing well-shaped scales and arpeggios (videos)
As I sit under a webcam mounted on a 7 foot tripod, I have an uneasy feeling that the cam will dislodge, reviving the nightmare of my head injury, sustained in a backwards fall on June 29th. What made things worse for my noggin was a jagged incline that caused brute force contact with the… Continue reading Before and After the Fall, Music Heals
I couldn't resist juxtaposing the importance of learning new and challenging music with an "eye" toward how we can best accomplish our short and long-term goals within our teaching milieu. (The EYE metaphor becomes CLEARER and dual serving as the posting progresses.) *** So many music teachers have a tight schedule of back-to-back students that… Continue reading Keeping up our skills as piano teachers, with an “eye” to taking on challenges
As mentors, we can easily recall our student days when well-practiced pieces tanked upon arrival at our piano teacher's home. Even ascending the staircase to the threshold of the apartment, our heart rate quickened, and we felt cold, clammy and faint. It was automatic over-drive for the first 20 minutes--an adrenaline crisis of magnitude. Yet… Continue reading Student: “I get so nervous when I play for you!” The Teacher responds!
Every winter holiday season most music teachers are asked by parents to devote at least a few weeks to the absorption of Christmas and related celebratory selections. In the traditional musical cosmos, "Silent Night," "Deck the Halls," "Hark the Herald Angels" and "Jingle Bells," are popular learning requests. This year, my 9-year old student who… Continue reading Piano Lessons during the holidays: Inserting a creative composing dimension to chord exploration
Dynamics cannot always be taken literally when a player embarks upon serious study of a particular composition. In fact, what often governs the shaping of phrases through many measures even with composer inserted soft (piano) or loud (Forte) directives, are harmonic rhythm and metrical considerations. So while a set of measures might attach a Crescendo… Continue reading Reading Between the Lines: Making decisions about Dynamics