Category Archives: piano technique

Piano Technique: Remediating peak octave scale paralysis (Staccato)

Choking up is probably the best description of what often happens to final scale octaves and their turnaround. Students get anxious at the terminus, and tend to crowd notes as if they’re racing to the finish line, when in fact, … Continue reading

Posted in piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano technique, Shirley Kirsten | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Boris Berman: How to connect with the music after over-practicing

I think Maestro Berman said it well, yet from my own experience, over-practicing is less a problem than failing to listen attentively through every phase of learning a composition. If a student does not fine tune each repetition, but considers … Continue reading

Posted in adult piano instruction, blogmetrics, blogmetrics.org, Classical music blog, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano learning, piano teaching, piano technique, practicing fast passage at the piano, Shirley Kirsten | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Piano Technique: Playing LEGATO can be a drag!

One of my favorite verbal prompts to students who have a choppy approach to scales and arpeggios, is: “drag” your fingers from note note–“feel” the weight transfer with imagined resistance. I often talk about flowing “vowels” not consonants through an … Continue reading

Posted in legato playing, piano instruction, piano lessons, piano lessons by Face Time, piano lessons by Skype, piano technique | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Piano Technique: Trills and the vocal model

Joyce Di Donato, “lyric-coloratura mezzo-soprano,” is my model for trilling. In an embedded you tube video, the opera singer emphasizes the undulating character of a beautifully executed trill that leans on the upper note. (Too often pianists deliver a robotic … Continue reading

Posted in classical music, how to trill on the piano, Joyce Di Donato, opera, operatic trills, piano blog, piano blogging, piano technique, piano trills, Shirley Kirsten, vocal model for piano playing, W. A. Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Piano Technique: Playing scales without bumps or accents

It’s common for piano students to divide their scales into well-boxed rhythmic compartments, emphasizing the fundamental beat that interrupts a smooth flowing legato (connecting from note to note). Sometimes players are unaware of their reinforced “beat” counting impulses and need … Continue reading

Posted in adult piano instruction, adult piano lessons, arpeggios, blogmetrics, blogmetrics.org, imagination and piano technique, pianist, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano lessons, piano teaching, piano technique, playing scales, scales, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, smoothing out piano technique | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Piano Technique: Stabilizing tempo, presence of mind, and breathing through scales and arpeggios

This has to be one of my favorite reciprocal teaching/learning videos because it fleshes out the importance of breathing through scales with mindful concentration. Framed by a singing pulse, the scale becomes a model for all playing. Here’s B minor … Continue reading

Posted in arpeggios, blog, blogger, blogmetrics, classissima, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano technique, scales, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Piano Technique: When an adult student is in the Zone!

It’s always valuable to snatch a lesson segment when a student gets it just right and has the equivalent of a runner’s high at the keyboard. It’s certainly instructive for both teacher and pupil to observe what conditions predisposed a … Continue reading

Posted in arpeggios, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, piano, piano technique, scales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment