I borrowed a few hours from my Haydn immersion to review a Beethoven Sonatina that is absolutely charming but very challenging. One would think that such a work labeled -mini, by its "-ina" suffix spelled an easier passage to the final cadence by comparison to a composition in SONATA form. Not so. For example, many… Continue reading Navigating a robust Beethoven Sonatina (not the one everybody plays)
Claudia is one of the old-timers around here at age 11. She came to study piano with me when she was just 6 and in those days, I gave her Noona's "The Red Drum," in addition to selections from Book One, Royal Conservatory of Music, University of Toronto: Hook "Minuet," Schein "Allemande," Telemann "Dance" in… Continue reading “Piano Student of the Week,” Claudia S. practices Bach and improves her playing (Video)
The student I'm currently teaching by Skype has received a number of supplemental videos from me that target problems universal to those learning Clementi Sonatina, Op. 36, No. 3. In this video, geared for teachers as well as students, I define areas in the first movement, Spiritoso, that need particular focus for improvement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_q_vUSLIDI As… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Common student problems related to playing Clementi Sonatina, Op. 36, No. 3, Spiritoso (Video)
I begin by playing the Sonatina, first movement and then I map out the composition to advance thoughtful learning and memorization. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNuMbp_q9X0 RELATED: https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/memorization-at-the-piano-how-to-improve-your-skills/
Over decades of teaching, I've come to the conclusion that each student needs a custom designed long-term lesson plan. Method books only go so far. Often they stratify the learning process, keeping students in an interminably drawn out, regressive C Major universe. For the most part, flats and sharps with Letter Name identifications are regarded… Continue reading Individualizing Piano Study: How to avoid Method Book dependency
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ--gGIwgAA After decades of teaching the Chopin Waltzes, I've come to the conclusion that the A minor, No. 19, Op. Posthumous is the best student introduction to the form as the composer cultivated it. While many other Waltzes in Chopin's collection are far more substantial and technically challenging, No. 19, is in my opinion, easiest… Continue reading The very first Chopin Waltz that I teach: #19, Op. Posth. in A minor (Video instruction)
Scale practicing examples: https://youtu.be/SJGbnFQB8L8 https://youtu.be/Bo1ptHbMu9M https://youtu.be/W3N_9Me7hXQ *** The Backdrop: As a young piano student living in New York City, I remember my reluctance to prepare a mandatory scale each week for my lesson. In fact my first teacher had so many students, she always seemed to forget the scale she had assigned to me, so… Continue reading Why Play Scales?
There's always room for flexibility in choice of repertoire, especially when teaching teenagers. Alex, 18, had taken lessons during primary school, took a long break and returned to the piano as a senior in high school. His first request was to study "Liz on Top of the World," by Dario Marianelli from the movie, "Pride… Continue reading Teaching Piano to Teenagers: Classical, Pop, Taylor Swift, Liz on Top of the World and more (Videos)
To El Cerrito and back, and what happens in between, in greater detail.