adult piano students, arioso7, blog, blogger, blogging, blogging about piano, blogs about piano, Circle of Fifths, classissima, classissima.com, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, El Cerrito piano lessons, El Cerrito piano studio, finger staccato, fingering and phrasing at the piano, fingering and piano technique, Journey of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, keyboard technique, MTAC, Oberlin, Oberlin Conservatory, pianist, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano blogs, piano instruction, piano instructor, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano practicing motivators, piano scales and arpeggios, piano study, piano teacher, piano technique, piano technique and the singing tone, piano warm-ups, Piano World, piano world-wide, pianoaddict.com, playing legato at the piano, playing piano with expression, playing staccato at the piano, playing the piano, playing the piano with long nails, POWHOW, POWHOW instruction, POWHOW piano instruction, POWHOW.com, practicing scales and arpeggios, rotation in piano playing, rotation in piano practicing, whole body listening, whole body music listening, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video, yout tube, youtube.com

Piano Technique: Focusing on Rotation in arpeggios, and building up a scale (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 to transition smoothly in the descent (legato and staccato playing in two dynamic ranges)

II. The roll-in, wrist forward motion when starting the arpeggio, or coming around in a sequence of playings

C Major Scale

I. Blocking (separate hands)–block out “tunnels” through which the thumb passes (D,E and then GAB with thumbs played softly in between)

II. Find common fingers and notes between the hands (such as 3’s on E and A) Same for common thumb points.

III. Scope out the “bridge” over the octave, B, C, D and note how the fingers of each hand are in “mirror” or reciprocal relationship with each other. (practice finding these “neighborhoods.”)

IV. Format the scale once internal relationships are explored (Practice legato to staccato)

Practice the scale with a singing-tone Mezzo Forte (and don’t forget curve around “rotation” at the top before the descent)

Two octaves, quarter notes
Two octaves, 8th notes, with wrist dips in pairs of notes
Three octaves, rolling triplets
Four octaves, 16ths (legato)
Four octaves 16ths staccato (Forte)–Staccato is “a snip away from legato.”
Four octaves 16ths staccato (piano)

LINK:

http://www.powhow.com/classes/shirley-kirsten

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Growing piano technique in baby steps: Rina, 5, advances to hands together five-finger positions (adding in 10ths)

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 sounds”–half notes, “short sounds”– quarters, and “half-note dot” is a dotted-half note.)

But note-name recognition and having a concept of rhythmic values are just part of the learning process. She needs to cultivate the singing tone wedded to limpid phrasing–a dimension of playing we’ve explored from day one embracing Irina Gorin’s Tales of a Music Journey philosophy.

In this regard, Rina is working on softening the impact of her thumbs, so she can nicely roll into her LEGATO five-finger positions and smoothly taper them. (LEGATO means smooth and connected, finger-to-finger)

She has progressed from having played each hand alone through five notes ascending and descending, in a “conversational” way, to synchronizing both hands at the same time in parallel motion.

She also creates an “echo” effect on a repeat and we make sure to include the parallel minor in her playings. (Black notes also belong to the keyboard family)

Next, I thought to introduce a bit of “magic.”

How about starting the Right Hand on E while the Left Hand remained on bass C. (still five notes up and down but spaced in 10ths)

Rina took to it like a duck in water especially with an enticing harmonic landscape.

Here are two snatches from her lesson, starting with the first (both hands playing same notes in legato)

In the second video, she plays in 10ths:

Our next piece is “Little March” by Daniel Gottlob Turk. This follows Minuet by Reinagle of which Rina is separately studying the bass part. In addition she’s rendering it in the “minor,” enlisting a “B flat.” (She performed the melody on our recent Spring Recital) The Reinagle piece came with its own new landmark: Rina played detached and legato notes in one selection.

I’ve prepared a video to assist mom with ear-training experiences for “Little March” during the week. Rina will be saturated with listening; doing hand signals for melodic shape; singing notes and then rhythms. (phrase one) This is the first stage of her learning process.

***

LINK:

Rina plays at the Spring Recital


https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/rina-5-performs-at-our-spring-recital-after-8-months-of-piano-lessons-video/

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Excerpts from my POWHOW TOP NOTCH TONE TUTORIAL! (webcam piano instruction)

Snatches from our first class! We’re working on sculpting a beautiful musical line in a five-finger position.

RELATED:

http://www.powhow.com/classes/shirley-kirsten

A POWER Piano POWHOW LAUNCH:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/a-power-piano-powhow-launch-live-webcam-class-instruction/

AVOIDING PENCIL POINT PLAYING


https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/piano-technique-avoiding-pencil-point-playing/

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A Power Piano Powhow Launch! (LIVE webcam class instruction)

My first POWHOW class, “Top Notch Tone Tutorial,” brought a group of piano enthusiasts who appeared in their own unique “boxes” eager to learn about touch, tone, and nuance. An inspired pooch even chimed in off camera, but was quickly re-routed to BOW-WOW Dog Discipline 101.

EXCERPTS:

***

The PIANO basics were top priority:

Where to sit on the bench; relaxed, round, hand position; approach to the keys from lap to keyboard as prep for the main Event.

Detached note playing with supple wrist motion, separate fingers of each hand. Imagining a beautiful tone, and singing along.

Playing groups of two notes (8ths) with a dipping wrist, and follow-through forward motion.

Finally, grouping four notes at a time in “doubleleedle” tempo (twice as fast as 8ths but framed by a well-controlled tempo) The flexible, “spongy” wrist helped with phrase-shaping.

It was a joyful romp over C, D, E, F, and G of each hand, adding in the “sad minor” with Eb for mood contrast.

Not to forget our CONTRARY MOTION escapade, with fingers going in opposite directions.

A brief encounter with “monkey swing out” elbow motions assisted with tapering phrases gracefully.

To wrap things up, we played various measures at different dynamic levels: First LOUD (Forte) to soft, (piano) then soft to LOUD.

**

Coming up: The Trampoline effect, and how to produce a bouncy “staccato.”

Join the fun and sign up for piano classes that interest you.

I’VE ADDED PRIVATE INSTRUCTION TO MY POWHOW ROSTER!

Feel free to contact me with suggested ideas, days and times.


http://www.powhow.com/classes/shirley-kirsten

PIANO TECHNIQUE: AVOIDING PENCIL POINT PLAYING:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/piano-technique-avoiding-pencil-point-playing/

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Piano Instruction: Pastorale in D Major, K. 415 by Domenico Scarlatti, a stepwise approach

The Pastorale in D, included in Margery Halford’s Scarlatti, An Introduction to his Keyboard Works, poses significant musical challenges. In the technical realm, the composer has a tricky landscape of two-note legato figures as offbeats in the treble, and these are set against bass, dotted quarter rhythms. (This counterpoint is later inverted in the middle section)-Note that 12/8 meter is felt in 4.

Intertwined with this mosaic are a series of apoggiaturas, or non-harmonic tones that resolve into the bass chords through redundant two-note groupings. These passing harmonic clashes in duple 8ths are strongly “motivic” meaning they reflect the composer’s main idea in its smallest form.

In realizing these redundant figures, the pianist has to carefully lean on the dissonant note, and artfully resolve it. A supple wrist helps to shape down these slurs.

In my video instruction, I show ways to practice the Pastorale, starting with separate hands, isolating voices, blocking, and tracking harmonies. The application of a flexible wrist is naturally indispensable to this whole learning process, and playing with a singing tone should underlie all practicing.

LINKS:

LIVE webcam instruction at POWHOW

http://www.powhow.com/classes/shirley-kirsten

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Scarlatti Sonata in G, K. 431 Tutorial

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/learning-a-new-piano-piece-quickly-and-thoroughly-videos/

Scarlatti Minuetto in C, L. 217 Tutorial:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/piano-instruction-domenico-scarlatti-minuetto-in-c-l-217-videos/

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Piano Instruction: “Ballade” by Burgmuller– phrase contouring and curves of energy (Videos)

Burgmuller’s Ballade from his Opus 100 Progressive Piano Pieces is often coined “spooks” because of its Halloween-like opener. Composed in 3/8 time, it moves along in ONE, though the performer should not over-emphasize the first beat in each measure.

The way the composer slurs and phrases notes suggests another approach.

Thinking LONGER lines and phrases gives this piece the Romantic era polish it deserves. (A descending, Forte C minor arpeggio, for example, can use this overall curve down without redundant rhythmic accents or punctuations in every measure)

In the video below, I demonstrate the CURVES of melody as they appear in the Left Hand with light chords in the Right, and how the contrasting middle section is a fluid, lyrical line with subdued after beats. (Play like a vocalist)

To render this piece with finesse involves using a supple wrist. On big, resounding chords, approaching these from below with the flexible wrist avoids a pencil point impact.

In the Codetta (starting measure 88) with its stream of rapid 16ths from forte to piano, the dipping wrist on every C after 6 notes, keeps the passage bristling with a looping energy, that allows a controlled, dynamic tapering.

A lesson-in-progress with Albertina, 13 who will play this piece on our Spring Recital.

Play Through:

LINKS:

http://www.powhow.com/classes/shirley-kirsten

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/piano-technique-avoiding-pencil-point-playing/

Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, pianist, piano, piano instruction, piano lessons, piano teaching, piano technique, playing piano, POWHOW, POWHOW.com, practicing arpeggios, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, word press, word press.com, you tube, you tube video

Piano Technique: Practicing an E Major Arpeggio during a lesson-in-progress (Video with tips on creating a rolling contour)

This piano student will gain a lot by reviewing footage taken at her lesson. It provides a practicing framework that zeroes in on the physical/musical aspects of creating a contoured arpeggio.

Here’s video where I’m teaching Sakura, 13, who’s studied piano with me for 3 years.

We worked on rolling, relaxed arms, supple wrists, and transitions from legato to staccato playing.

LINKS:

LIVE webcast classes at POWHOW.com

http://www.powhow.com/classes/shirley-kirsten