Experimentation is central to piano learning in all its phases, including that which applies to the build-up of trills. Unfortunately, for many students engaged in such a learning process, rapid alternations of notes will often ignite instant panic and fear which tighten muscles, inhibiting a smooth flowing musical line. In some instances, the initial approach… Continue reading Navigating Tricky Trills
Category: Shirley Kirsten blog
Liz, age 8, has her second piano lesson! (With my interspersed thoughts about materials and teaching philosophy)
As I journey along with Liz, my newest piano student, I'm collecting insights about the nature of music learning from the perspective of a child. And by this most recent experience, I've come to realize that the choice of teaching materials is wedded to a mentor's own philosophy about expressive music-making. The samples below represent… Continue reading Liz, age 8, has her second piano lesson! (With my interspersed thoughts about materials and teaching philosophy)
An 8-Year old begins piano lessons!
An exciting musical journey has begun! Liz, an 8-year old who prances by my apartment singing mellifluously, became my newest piano student last night. Her lesson opened with, "Welcome to a universe of the imagination," an inspired framing that kept student and teacher riveted to 45 minutes of collaborative music-making. (The duet form was the… Continue reading An 8-Year old begins piano lessons!
Baroque Ornaments, execution, style, context and taste: A Conversation with Elaine Comparone
One of the delights of my trip back to hometown New York City, was an encore visit with Elaine Comparone!
Scenes from Manhattan
First day in the Big Apple: These are popular picture postcard themes yet worth memorializing. I took this photo set as I trekked from 34th Street and Penn station to the West Side 'Y' gym at 63rd off Central Park. Bogged down with luggage, I approached Columbus Circle at W. 59th Street (off Central Park)… Continue reading Scenes from Manhattan
The piano learning process at all levels of study
In spite of my having studied piano for decades, each learning experience is filled with challenges that I must approach with a glut of patience. A new composition has its own form, architecture, harmonic rhythm, fingering that requires a big reserve of self-acceptance in a deadline-free frame. To the contrary, many of my students, who… Continue reading The piano learning process at all levels of study
The C Major Scale universe: metric and muscle memory; shaping and tapering
The C Major scale is more than meets the "I," if you're the one practicing it!
The business of copying the piano teacher: Who has the final say or PLAY?
The latest provocative teacher exchange is taking place on Facebook at the "Art of Piano Pedagogy" which has now become a private forum. When it comes to teaching philosophies, many are intensely opinionated. From my perspective, I passionately believe in sharing my ground-up musical insights with students to justify my presence at the lesson in… Continue reading The business of copying the piano teacher: Who has the final say or PLAY?
Using piano repertoire as a springboard for a theory lesson: Major, minor and Diminished Chords (Videos)
One of my adult students is working on the gorgeous J.C. Bach Prelude in A minor which has a second page full of "Major," "Minor" and "Diminished" chords. The sonorities progress in sequences, but they also have a secondary dominant relationship to resolving chords. The "harmonic rhythm" moves quickly. While this particular pupil may not… Continue reading Using piano repertoire as a springboard for a theory lesson: Major, minor and Diminished Chords (Videos)
El Cerrito “Sushi” cat is a match for Aiden (Videos)
Aiden took the prize for his mini-choreography of Chopin's C# minor Waltz, http://youtu.be/v38sPHrPSP0 but "Sushi" outdistanced him with an impressive break dance routine on the kitchen floor. http://youtu.be/Z76zHeM2Qwk "Sushi," the house cat in El Cerrito, is always on the move--resistant to stay on the grand piano, or to teeter by the bathroom sink. Aiden, however,… Continue reading El Cerrito “Sushi” cat is a match for Aiden (Videos)