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The value of studying short Romantic era Character pieces

Piano teachers often welcome the opportunity to use student repertoire requests as a springboard to nourish new learning adventures. Such pupil-driven musical endeavors can lead to deep-layered immersions in short, Romantically framed character pieces. The value of dipping into miniature variety compositions encompasses taking on a learning challenge in compact form. For example, Schumann's Album… Continue reading The value of studying short Romantic era Character pieces

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Ornaments, Romantic Style: Don’t be enslaved, but master them

There's nothing more inhibiting to piano playing than being boxed in by ornaments--tied down by their inertia and lack of smooth resolution. For certain, if you're threatened by them, or anticipate the worst possible outcome, ENTRAPMENT, then it guarantees a hasty entry and debilitating departure. Sadly, breath-LESS and anxiety-prone pianists often impede their journey, leaving… Continue reading Ornaments, Romantic Style: Don’t be enslaved, but master them

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Reviewing Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor, Op. Posthumous (MOVIE THEME, THE PIANIST)

http://youtu.be/y7Kry7-jrME We have to give credit to movie-makers for putting this hauntingly beautiful composition on the popular marquee of Classical music favorites. It shares notoriety with Mozart's middle movement theme of Concerto no. 21 in C, which recurred throughout the film, Elvira Madigan. Chopin's Nocturne in C# minor was a perfect match for Roman Polanski's… Continue reading Reviewing Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor, Op. Posthumous (MOVIE THEME, THE PIANIST)

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Two musical Eulogies for Newtown’s fallen

Two musical offerings are grief-filled expressions of enduring loss in Newtown, Connecticut.

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Old World piano playing (1949) with a pronounced wrist break

The supple wrist amounts to a "wrist break" that is discouraged among partisans of the Taubman approach. In the main, they adhere to a forearm-driven piano technique along with rotation, and relaxation . The videos embedded, however, contradict such rigid thinking about the wrist, as demonstrated by the performance of a Polish pianist (1949) A Chopin Mazurka is energized by redundant wrist breaks without incurred injury. As one colleague related in reference to Taubman/Golandsky, "how could decades of Russian teaching so easily be tossed aside."

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Piano Technique: Burgmuller’s Tarentelle, Op. 100-Fueling and shaping fast passages with a dipping, supple wrist (Videos)

Most piano students will have been assigned a Burgmuller selection or two during their formative years of study. And most likely, these would have been snatched from the composer's Twenty-Five Progressive Pieces, Op. 100 that advance by steps in difficulty, though it can be argued that all contain unique technical challenges. Composed in the Romantic… Continue reading Piano Technique: Burgmuller’s Tarentelle, Op. 100-Fueling and shaping fast passages with a dipping, supple wrist (Videos)

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Piano Technique: Re-arranging hands for speed and agility in Burgmuller’s “La Chasse” (The Chase) Videos

I used Burgmuller's "La Chasse" (The Chase) as my springboard for this particular discussion. The opening section of this composition, at break neck speed, quickly builds to a forte dynamic with an ensuing spill of staccato broken octaves, against a chordal Left Hand carrying a melody. It's plainly a bummer! For some players, the only… Continue reading Piano Technique: Re-arranging hands for speed and agility in Burgmuller’s “La Chasse” (The Chase) Videos