Category Archives: Shirley Kirsten

A Jet-setting adult student makes time for piano

No need to say Play it Again Sam, to Sam P. who’s been a super dedicated piano student ever since he approached me for lessons in Berkeley, nearly 4 years ago. And if we factor in a significant interruption of … Continue reading

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Piano Lessons during the holidays: Inserting a creative composing dimension to chord exploration

Every winter holiday season most music teachers are asked by parents to devote at least a few weeks to the absorption of Christmas and related celebratory selections. In the traditional musical cosmos, “Silent Night,” “Deck the Halls,” “Hark the Herald … Continue reading

Posted in Christmas music, piano, piano blog, piano instruction, piano teaching, Shirley Kirsten | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Piano Technique: Soft staccato scales with projection, springboard energy, resilience, and shape

One of the biggest weaknesses that present in soft dynamic range staccato scales, is a lack of projection. Students often snuff out notes, play them in a whisper without a tenacious spring UP character, or a necessary rebound effect from … Continue reading

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A 9-year old’s “complete” piano lesson integrates theory and ear training

After 9 months of study, “Liz” whom I’ve followed at regular recorded intervals since her first lesson in mid-February, has been exposed to multi-tiered music learning that’s incorporated a Theory and Ear Training dimension. (Note the choice of Frances Clark’s … Continue reading

Posted in piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, Shirley Kirsten, teaching piano to children | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Phrasing at the Piano: Direction and Destination

Often I query my students about the “destination” and “direction” of phrases within a particular composition. Naturally, my questions are a reflection of a need to clarify what arrivals are significant in the transit of notes. Part of this exploration … Continue reading

Posted in Chopin, Frederic Chopin, phrasing at the piano, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano lessons, Shirley Kirsten | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A 9-year-old piano student devises a plan to improve her practicing

Into her seventh month of music study, Liz has more clearly defined her approach to practicing various pieces by devising a well-written outline of phrase-loving reminders. And though her vocabulary is an understandable offshoot of her teacher’s, with its emphasis … Continue reading

Posted in piano, piano instruction, piano lessons, piano teaching, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

What should be natural is hard for many piano students

I often think about artificial barriers that many students erect when practicing. Of the adults whom I’ve mentored (and learned from) over the years some have had a formidable line of defense against “hitting” wrong notes. In many cases they’ve … Continue reading

Posted in piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano technique, Shirley Kirsten, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments