I'm always gratified to have a repository of progressive pieces that roll out smoothly from scale and arpeggio study to a universe of colorful, musical expression. Burgmuller's Op. 100 is such a learner rich album of 25 short works with infused choreographies that advance a musical/technical synthesis. "Arabesque," the second offering, is permeated by ascending… Continue reading Burgmuller’s Arabesque and Inquietude are teaching treasures
With one big eyeful of Friedrich Burgmuller's "La Candeur" (Frankness), one observes repetitious strands of melody that can be stultified by a rigid 4/4 framing. The erroneous "study" or etude effect, furthered by a beat-hammering mentor, can thrust a struggling player into an inescapable auto-pilot zone Yet, the opening measures, with twin note groupings, can… Continue reading Repeated groups of notes, metrical framing, and phrase contouring
I'm reluctant to compare the rise of younger and younger athletes to Olympiad performance levels with pyrotechnic displays of pianistic virtuosity at the Cliburn International Junior Competition, but we're witnessing an era of precocious technical development in our piano playing universe. Just perusing a set of filmed profiles that are featured lead-in's to 23 Preliminary… Continue reading A bedazzling Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition 2019!
When my blog well runs dry, I have only to draw on a reservoir of wise words from pianist/teacher/author/composer, Seymour Bernstein. And if replenishment is an overarching need coupled with inspiration, this referenced interview provides both in bucketsful. Intro: In 2018 Seymour had the honor of being guest artist at the Young Artist World Piano… Continue reading Seymour Bernstein’s legacy to piano students and teachers
Our Bodies and the Piano might be a Millennial companion to Our Bodies, Ourselves. It can take the subject of our physical relationship to the pianoforte out of closeted neglect. If we turn back the clock to our earliest lessons, perhaps few of us can recall specific directions or advice about how to sit at… Continue reading Piano posture, keyboard transit, floating arms and more
I posed the following question to six well-regarded pianists/teachers whose responses were varied and informative. "If after you have performed a concerto, or composition many times over, or if you are learning new repertoire, or are revisiting works in your recital repertoire, will you search for other performances on the concert stage, (or by CD)… Continue reading Should pianists consult performances of others to grow their learning process?
One of my students recommended a book by George Leonard that globalizes the idea of gaining Mastery in any field of endeavor through a love of "plateaus." (These are pauses in forward-moving progress that can either frustrate a learner, or motivate him to forge onward with an all-embracing love of the "journey.") The author begins… Continue reading Piano Study: Process not Mastery