As I grappled with matters of tempo, mood, and interpretation in learning a Baroque era work, I found a kindred spirit in Seymour Bernstein who openly shared his introspective thoughts about re-thinking a well-known composition in the piano literature. Encapsulated in an e-mailed communication to his league of followers, Bernstein addresses the common temptation among… Continue reading Pianist, Seymour Bernstein revisits the Schumann Arabesque at age 90
I've picked the first two pages of Mozart's Sonata in Bb Major, K. 281, last movement, Rondeau, Allegro to explore breathing and blocking techniques in the learning process. (These principles can be applied to practicing music from a variety of eras) Starting a composition is often taken for granted. Sometimes students will land on a… Continue reading Piano Practicing: Breathing into phrases and blocking out passages (Mozart Sonata, example)
The C Major scale is more than meets the "I," if you're the one practicing it!
Decisions, decisions about whether to pedal through Bach's ethereal Prelude no. 1 in C Major, BWV 846 (The Well-Tempered Clavier)
One of my adult students is working on the gorgeous J.C. Bach Prelude in A minor which has a second page full of "Major," "Minor" and "Diminished" chords. The sonorities progress in sequences, but they also have a secondary dominant relationship to resolving chords. The "harmonic rhythm" moves quickly. While this particular pupil may not… Continue reading Using piano repertoire as a springboard for a theory lesson: Major, minor and Diminished Chords (Videos)
These are two supplementary videos that I created for adult students between lessons. As previously mentioned, they clarify and reinforce the content of our class, and map out ways to practice. I. ROTATION at the turnaround of a B minor Arpeggio Exploring the curve at the very top of the figure with an energy boost… Continue reading Piano Technique: Focusing on Rotation in arpeggios, and building up a scale (Videos)
Rina may not know the words "pentascales" and "tenths," but she has the intelligence to notice when her fingers move up and down together, playing the same notes an "octave" apart. With a sound knowledge of the music alphabet in both directions, she has good cognitive reinforcement. (She also knows "running notes" or 8ths, "long… Continue reading Growing piano technique in baby steps: Rina, 5, advances to hands together five-finger positions (adding in 10ths)