Category Archives: Shirley Kirsten

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 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

Mirrors and piano playing

As we age, we’re reluctant to look at our reflection in the mirror, but as we grow over time as musicians, the mirror of our playing in recorded “reflections” can foster quality adjustments in phrasing and interpretation. If we nudge … Continue reading

Posted in Alfred Brendel, blog metrics, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, pianist, piano, piano addict, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano lessons, Piano Street, Piano World, piano worldwide, recording, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Patience reminders for impatient adult piano students

I was about to lose patience with a student this past week who lost patience with himself in the early practicing phase of a Bach Prelude. It was a common circumstance. An expectation was built into the adult psyche over … Continue reading

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Schumann’s “Almost Too Serious” (Kinderszenen No. 10) requires get serious, step-wise practicing

When I first looked at a “seriously” complex page of dizzying tied-over (syncopated) notes in Schumann’s “Almost Too Serious,” (Fast Zu Ernst) I had a knee-jerk avoidance response–that is until I tapped into a permeating melodic thread that I isolated … Continue reading

Posted in blogmetrics, blogmetrics.org, Kinderszenen, piano blog, piano blogging, Robert Schumann, Schumann, Shirley Kirsten, word press, you tube | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments