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The Anatomy of a Scale

If you want to pick your brain, ultra-analyzing a scale: finding symmetries, asymmetries, reciprocals, common tones with common fingers, upside down, inside-out relationships between the hands, and anything else that will solidify it, you might add an extra few senility-proof years to your life. Example: I can't remember my neighbor's first name, or my best… Continue reading The Anatomy of a Scale

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Piano Technique: Playing scales without bumps or accents

It's common for piano students to divide their scales into well-boxed rhythmic compartments, emphasizing the fundamental beat that interrupts a smooth flowing legato (connecting from note to note). Sometimes players are unaware of their reinforced "beat" counting impulses and need occasional reminders of what's communicated to the listener. (who happens to be the innocent bystander… Continue reading Piano Technique: Playing scales without bumps or accents

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Piano Technique: Stabilizing tempo, presence of mind, and breathing through scales and arpeggios

This has to be one of my favorite reciprocal teaching/learning videos because it fleshes out the importance of breathing through scales with mindful concentration. Framed by a singing pulse, the scale becomes a model for all playing. Here's B minor in Contrary Motion (legato) with my annotations that reference the BREATH and mindfulness. https://youtu.be/kVmCWbA32bg Important… Continue reading Piano Technique: Stabilizing tempo, presence of mind, and breathing through scales and arpeggios

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Piano Technique: When an adult student is in the Zone!

It's always valuable to snatch a lesson segment when a student gets it just right and has the equivalent of a runner's high at the keyboard. It's certainly instructive for both teacher and pupil to observe what conditions predisposed a pupil to a level of ONEness of body, mind and spirit. Last night, Jocel displayed… Continue reading Piano Technique: When an adult student is in the Zone!

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Piano Technique: Attaining speed and clarity

Last night, one of my adult students observed me doing a quick glide warm-up over a two-octave scale before we officially started our lesson. Uncannily, his inquiry about how I managed to attain fluency at peak tempo, turned out to be the focus of our first fifteen minutes together, and it got me thinking about… Continue reading Piano Technique: Attaining speed and clarity

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Piano Technique: Wrist dipping and thumb twiddling

With creative juices flowing during a piano lesson by Skype, a teacher can toy with various mental images by webcam that assist fluid technique. "Wrist dipping" through a five-finger position in rapid rhythm required focus on how to avoid the inevitable accent that occurs on framing thumb and pinky. "Soft" landings were therefore isolated and… Continue reading Piano Technique: Wrist dipping and thumb twiddling

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Piano Technique: Self-created Scale and Arpeggio Prep

Over months and years, I've devised various technique framed routines that happen to be bi-products of trial and error excursions over the keyboard. To the extent that I put myself under self-analysis following a stint of formal piano study, I was able to discard a lion's share of the factory-generated, Conservatory-based litany that encapsulated certain… Continue reading Piano Technique: Self-created Scale and Arpeggio Prep