I've picked the first two pages of Mozart's Sonata in Bb Major, K. 281, last movement, Rondeau, Allegro to explore breathing and blocking techniques in the learning process. (These principles can be applied to practicing music from a variety of eras) Starting a composition is often taken for granted. Sometimes students will land on a… Continue reading Piano Practicing: Breathing into phrases and blocking out passages (Mozart Sonata, example)
It hasn't left Berkeley yet, but I'm sure my second singing nightingale will in time find the right owner. I've down-sized since my recent move--going from 3,000 sq feet, to 1500 to 700. Might as well live in a Pod. Most readers and You Tubers watched me demonstrate for my students on the upright, as… Continue reading My singing Steinway studio upright is a parting sorrow
The high point of my trip to NYC was inhabiting a paradise of pianos on "piano row." That's what they call "West 58th" between Broadway and 7th Avenue. In the imposing shadow of Carnegie Hall that envelops the neighborhood, Klavierhaus manages to retain its unique character amidst a glut of piano restorers such as Beethovens… Continue reading The premier piano “haus” on W. 58th!
Pianomania! is an apt title for a documentary about Stefan Knupfer, Steinway piano technician, who gallops upstairs and downstairs in a premier "Vienna concert haus," trying to meet the needs of performing pianists, recording artists, et al. They demand the kind of perfection in voicing, tuning, aesthetics that's often beyond human capability. One classic example… Continue reading Piano Mania! and the Bezerkeley arrival of Steinway 1098!
I wish I could order an instant make-over for gorgeous-sounding pianos that suffer rejection because of imperfect exteriors. By example, one of my students who'd grown attached to her respectable-looking, 70′s era, walnut console piano, was devastated when her family whisked it away during a move to a bigger house. Apparently, the instrument's wood grain… Continue reading Pianos, Old Age, and Cosmetic Imperfection
In J.S. Bach's Two-part Inventions both voices overlap and imitate each other creating counterpoint. The SUBJECT of no. 4 contains a d-minor Harmonic form scale whose 6th note, B flat does NOT continue in an upward motion to the leading tone, C# or 7th note, but instead, the C# is displaced down to the lower… Continue reading Piano Lesson: Analyzing/playing Bach Invention in D minor, No. 4, BWV 775 in slow tempo (Videos)
These are excerpts from today's lesson where we covered: 1. Broken chord blocking; refreshing inversions of the Tonic as applied to practicing Fur Elise. 2. Voice balancing: fleshing out the treble (soprano) melody, on page 2 (F Major section) Using supple wrist and hand rotation; relaxation of arms. 3. C section--with repeated bass notes, alternating… Continue reading Piano Lesson: An adult student continues her Beethoven “Fur Elise” learning process (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)
I couldn't resist an opportunity to conduct my student playing the Bach Invention 13 in A minor today. She's preparing two selections for a competitive Baroque event coming up in two weeks, and the second offering is the Prelude in C minor BWV 847. Claudia, 11, rehearsed the Invention a few times with a few… Continue reading The piano teacher as conductor–sometimes shaping gestures help a student phrase better (Video)
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)