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
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 a stiff hand, then it's all over for the player who will tire quickly while… Continue reading Schumann’s ‘Rocking Horse’ comes with a spring forward wrist
When considering ways to pedal Chopin's ethereal A minor Waltz, I think back to Stephen Hough and his teacher's comments about the learning process: “I don’t care how you’re playing the piece now, what I care about is how you’ll play it in 10 years.” (Gordon Green) Well as a segue way to this posting,… Continue reading Pedaling Chopin Waltz No. 19 in A minor, Op. Posthumous
My first selection is a Juilliard graduation commencement address that's both grounded and inspiring. Joyce Di Donato, mezzo soprano, having received her honorary Doctorate resonates at the podium with wisdom and a touch humor--definitely worth sharing with a universe of musicians who can benefit from a perspective refresher and attitude-changer from time to time. http://youtu.be/qctdpdk-LhI… Continue reading This Week’s Favorite You Tubes!
I took a musical journey down memory lane yesterday, rekindling scenes of childhood as I read through a set of "old" Romantic era compositions. These weren't Robert Schumann's illustrious KINDERSZENEN, but colorful character pieces wrapped into the composer's Album for the Young Op. 68. (As I've said time and again, why give students arrangements of… Continue reading Intermediate Level Piano Repertoire: Album for the Young by Robert Schumann
Chopin cloaked one of his most memorable preludes in lush harmonies that reveal the beauty of a simple melody.
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… Continue reading Piano Instruction: “Ballade” by Burgmuller– phrase contouring and curves of energy (Videos)