adult piano instruction, piano, piano blog, piano teaching, singing tone legato

Creating a seamless, singing tone legato through arpeggios and scales

My students are often amused by my prompts that frequently include "oohs," "ahhs," and "wah's," among other spaced out sounds, to prevent consonant sounding notes or hard-liners from interrupting a smooth, "sighing" stepwise descent to the tonic. And from this universe of impromptu effusions, I've created a self-styled language, that, at times, has incorporated barnyard… Continue reading Creating a seamless, singing tone legato through arpeggios and scales

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Piano Technique: A Bouncy Scale workout with forward arm rolls and supple wrist motions–Enjoy the romp! (Videos)

Scales can be a great workout routine if you let your arms loose, dip your pliant wrists and go with the flow. And it's a great cardio. (No treadmill or weights required) Just apply principles of balance and buoyancy. Here are snatches from an adult student's lesson (Legato and staccato playing with slow motion replays)… Continue reading Piano Technique: A Bouncy Scale workout with forward arm rolls and supple wrist motions–Enjoy the romp! (Videos)

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Abby Whiteside and playing beyond the fingers as a point of departure (Videos)

From WIKI: Abby Whiteside (1881–1956) was an influential American piano teacher. She challenged the finger-centric approach of much classical piano teaching and instead advocated a holistic attitude in which the arm and torso are the conductors of a musical image conceived first in the mind and soul. This quote is riveting: "Why spend dull hours… Continue reading Abby Whiteside and playing beyond the fingers as a point of departure (Videos)

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Teaching Gillock’s delightfully appealing, Later Elementary Level music: “The Glass Slipper” (Video)

I have no reservation about the immense teaching value of William Gillock's music from elementary through advanced levels. And while the titles in the first few volumes appeal to children, the pieces can be universally enjoyed by piano students of all ages. In this spirit, I picked out "The Glass Slipper" from Accents on Gillock,… Continue reading Teaching Gillock’s delightfully appealing, Later Elementary Level music: “The Glass Slipper” (Video)

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Playing through Chopin’s B minor Waltz with its sighing motif (Video commentary)

Last night I sat myself down at my imperfectly regulated Steinway M grand and managed to sigh several times through torrents of phrases crafted by design and inspiration to tug at the heartstrings. And in the video below, I journeyed in baby steps through this intensely emotional landscape pinpointing how I could flesh out the… Continue reading Playing through Chopin’s B minor Waltz with its sighing motif (Video commentary)

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A Skyped supplement to piano lessons (Video)

Here's an example of a Bay area student taking a Skyped piano lesson to supplement her regular weekly meetings with me. These work well, particularly if a pupil has to catch up from a vacation period absence, or needs reinforcement of technique, and/or an added revisit of a piece in progress. In this segment, the… Continue reading A Skyped supplement to piano lessons (Video)

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Mozart memories, reflections and revisits (Videos)

Andante: second movement, Mozart Sonata K. 545 played on my Steinway, 1917, M. http://youtu.be/PPYKK3hOjnk **** My relationship to Mozart and his music began with the violin. At the Merrywood Music Camp in Lenox, Massachusetts, only a stone's throw from Tanglewood, I encountered Eugene Lehner, first violist of the Boston Symphony when I played second violin… Continue reading Mozart memories, reflections and revisits (Videos)

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Ethereal piano playing: Another Irina, with an i in the middle, brings heaven to earth

This is the special month of Irina, Irena, and still another Irina. The latest messenger of beauty via You Tube is Irina Morozova. And as fate would have it, one of my readers, owner of a Knight piano treasure, e-mailed me a sample of her Bach-Siloti, which sent me feverishly finger-tapping the search window for… Continue reading Ethereal piano playing: Another Irina, with an i in the middle, brings heaven to earth

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When a piano student is not working up to potential, the meeting and e-mail that are needed…

I was reminded by a reader of my post titled, "When love for the piano dies.." and in that particular writing I focused on situations where certain pressures brought by parents and/or the piano teacher can trigger practicing avoidance, leading to the obvious, piano lesson termination. In these scenarios, mom or dad may live through… Continue reading When a piano student is not working up to potential, the meeting and e-mail that are needed…

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Piano Technique: Braving the slippery slope of black keys, practicing the F# Major Arpeggio (VIDEO)

Why all the prejudice against black notes? I, for one, avoided them like the plague for years. And my teachers were enablers, keeping me and other students contentedly in C Major to avoid widespread unrest. Their benign neglect of the blacks, in the the end, came at great cost. We teetered on the edge when… Continue reading Piano Technique: Braving the slippery slope of black keys, practicing the F# Major Arpeggio (VIDEO)