I've often met very skilled sight-readers who were not necessarily adept at playing their assigned pieces smoothly with good fingering and well shaped phrases. It's because they viewed the first "read through" as a primary goal. They had gotten so used to a superficial overview of a piece, that to go to the next step,… Continue reading Sight-reading is an appetizer to main course detailed practicing
I vowed at some point to do a hands-on follow up to my sight-reading post, and tonight was my chosen time to brave the virgin territory of two compositions from "Anna Magdalena's Notebook," edited by Keith Snell. I randomly picked "Polonaise in G minor" BWV 119 (Anonymous) and another of the same form, BWV125 by… Continue reading Sight-reading through two pieces: Putting myself in the hot seat! (Videos)
If I could devise a recipe for an ideal piano lesson, it would contain the following ingredients: A 15-minute warm-up including a scale (one or two plus octaves in parallel and contrary motion) played legato and staccato--adding 3rds, 10ths, and 6ths depending on student level, with an additional assortment of arpeggios. For a Beginner, practicing… Continue reading The Ideal Piano Lesson as the main course
Singing has always been a basic, if not primitive form of communication between parent and infant. A tender melody often lulls a colicky baby into blissful sleep along with rhythmic rocking motions. As the tyke eventually babbles and coos high-pitched sounds that prime his vocal cords, mom or dad will respond in the same squeaky voice… Continue reading Piano Study and the value of SINGING against a cultural backdrop of vocal inhibition
As a teacher, I've often pondered this question, concluding that there are varying answers which depend on the advancement and motivation of individual students. Certainly no fixed formula addresses the length of time a pupil needs to fully realize his potential when practicing a given composition. By way of example, I have an adult student,… Continue reading How long should a piano student stay with a piece?
A universal complaint among piano students relates to sight-reading. They find themselves stumbling through the first playing of a brand new piece, not knowing if an end is in sight. The faltering, (wrong note, right note in treble and bass clefs) can keep a "reader" so contained in one measure at a time, if not… Continue reading How to Improve Sight-reading at the Piano