When I first stumbled upon "The Harmonic Player," No. 12, from Tchaikovsky's Op. 39 Children's Album, my first thought was, "Why on earth did the great composer include such tirelessly redundant music with an unimaginative harmonic scheme and belabored melody." For certain, as a stand-alone, it could be easily passed over--- dismissed as a throwaway… Continue reading Tchaikovsky’s “Harmonica Player” fits snugly between a Song and Dance
I made a promise to myself well before the New Year, that I would learn one new Tchaikovsky composition each day from the composer's Op. 39 Children's Album. (24 tableaux) Not that I'm recommending to piano students that they assimilate new music at lightning speed, but for me the challenge was to make a spurt… Continue reading Favorite Tchaikovsky piano pieces and their pedagogical value
I asked a few piano teachers and a harpsichordist if they felt playing passages, phrases for a student was a viable way to teach, and why? Seymour Bernstein, author, With Your Own Two Hands, rendered a riveting opinion: "I have never taken a lesson with a pianist-teacher who didn’t demonstrate musical and technical points under… Continue reading Should a teacher demonstrate phrasing and interpretation for a student?
Native Russian, Samuel Maykapar (b.1867, d. 1938) composed a set of gorgeous, program-inspired pieces, that are carefully phrased, articulated, and fingered. The music is ear-catching in the spirit of Dimitri Kabalevsky and William Gillock as all three composers were highly expressive and imaginative within a pedagogical framing. Maykapar aims to teach an ebullient, crisp staccato… Continue reading A Russian composer’s colorful pieces with a strong teaching dimension
Rada Bukhman, a Vancouver-based piano teacher with native Russian roots, has produced a 212-page soft cover volume that entices with its interspersed selections of compositions at various learning levels. The text offers a variety of fascinating topics, "Developing Initial Musical Skills: on the Nature and Development of a Musical Ear, on Rhythm, Preparatory Stage, Sight-Reading"… Continue reading An interview with Rada Bukhman, pianist, teacher, author, about the “Russian School of Piano Playing”