Category Archives: Robert Schumann

The piano playing speed zone: Letting Go but Staying in Control

At some point, piano students will face the challenge of playing a super fast-paced piece without having it fall apart. And while such a task may seem daunting, the player can begin to allay his fears by devising a parceled … Continue reading

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Unlocking Schumann

My first thought last night as I was revisiting “Gluckes Genucht” after resting it for months, was that this tableau like others in Kinderszenen, Op. 15, beg for hand, arm, wrist flexiblity as antidotes to tension-driven lockdowns. The after beats, … Continue reading

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When Upbeats have a new meaning and importance

For most piano students, an upbeat is considered a lighter springboard to a more predominant DOWN-beat, as if the UP in music should always be taken LIGHTLY. (except in Jazz framings where syncopations are characteristic of the genre.) *** We … Continue reading

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Schumann’s “Almost Too Serious” (Kinderszenen No. 10) requires get serious, step-wise practicing

When I first looked at a “seriously” complex page of dizzying tied-over (syncopated) notes in Schumann’s “Almost Too Serious,” (Fast Zu Ernst) I had a knee-jerk avoidance response–that is until I tapped into a permeating melodic thread that I isolated … Continue reading

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What’s Frightening about Schumann’s “Frightening? ” (Kinderszenen, Op. 15, no. 11)

What convinces most pianists that Schumann’s “Furchtenmachen” (Frightening) is an expression of fear or perhaps more specifically anxiety, are the markedly impulsive sections that contrast with lyrical, reflective ones. And not to be overlooked, are the interjections of syncopated SF’s … Continue reading

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Untangling hands and subduing AFTER beats in Robert Schumann’s music

When a pianist tackles a piece like “Am Kamin,” (“At the Fireplace”) from Schumann’s signature childhood reminiscence, Kinderszenen, he/she must artfully navigate the musical terrain, avoiding hand pile-ups and after-beat pounding. A gorgeous Romantic era, lyrical melody that threads though … Continue reading

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Schumann’s ‘Rocking Horse’ comes with a spring forward wrist

Schumann’s Kinderszenen album, (Scenes of Childhood) includes a child-inspired Rocking Horse piece that enlists spring forward wrist motions to help frame its character. If the pianist tightens up and tries to realize third beat accents with a tight jolt of … Continue reading

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