Category Archives: Shirley Kirsten

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

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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

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Learning J.S. Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze” (Egon Petri piano transcription)

Egon Petri offers a transcription of J.S. Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze,” (based on the Baroque composer’s “Birthday” Cantata) and it’s drawn a cult of admirers, mostly adult students begging to learn it. The work originally scored for two flutes, … Continue reading

Posted in Bach, Egon Petri, J.S. Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach, piano, piano arrangement, piano transcription, Sheep May Safely Graze, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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 … Continue reading

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One grand piano in, and another out, but not forgotten

My tiny Berkeley apartment had been shrinking by increments with its herd of tight-squeezed grand pianos and digital keyboards. Count in a Baldwin grand acquired in April, 2015; a medium size Steinway grand (5’7″) bequeathed by my father after Oberlin … Continue reading

Posted in pianist, piano, piano lessons, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Steinway A grand piano, Steinway M grand piano, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments