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

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 stream of alternating notes that’s shapeless and out of breath, ignoring an internal flow and contour.) If we listen to birds chirping with their never-ending auditory appeal, we might gain valuable insight into trill production.

Here’s Joyce working on trills with a student at the Royal College of Music in London. It’s a nice point of departure for a musical transfer to the piano.

Below is a brief supplementary trill instruction followed by my teacher snatches from a LIVE interchange with an adult student at her Walnut Creek home. In the latter, I demonstrate on her magnificent vintage Steinway A. (1911)

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My teacher examples, that are LIVE lesson recorded excerpts are meant to assist the student’s practicing during the week: