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Piano Technique: Are arpeggios “boring?” I don’t think so!

I belong to a myriad of LINKED IN, PIANO groups of all shapes and sizes. One, right now is applying the adjective, “BORING” to ARPEGGIOS. Another recently castigated SCALES!

Yet anyone who’s bounced around the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic keyboard literature, KNOWS that it’s permeated with scale passages and arpeggios.

That’s a no brainer!

In the last week, my review of Mozart’s Rondo in D, K. 311, produced so many scale passages it was dizzying.

And just today, a student found herself practicing a 3-octave E Major arpeggio lifted right out of the Chopin Waltz in A Minor, no. 19.

This heart-throbbing piece is so popular, that anyone thinking they can play it with pleasure, without practicing the E MAJOR arpeggio, to say the least, is in denial.

Rather than harp on why I disagree with a cadre of teachers, amateurs, professionals, who happen to love bashing arpeggios, I say watch this video and make up your mind.

chopinwaltzAminp2

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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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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