Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Steinway, Steinway model 1098 for sale, Steinway piano, Steinway piano model 1098, Steinway studio upright

My singing Steinway studio upright is a parting sorrow

Steinway upright dolled up

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 the camera was aimed straight at me–and once the piano made history when I briefly fell asleep during a “Fur Elise” lesson, nearly bonking my nose against the rack rim.

But most memories have been bundled in musical warmth and gratitude.

The Steinway beauty, inside and out, is a model 1098 manufactured in 1992. It has a wealth of resonance, added to an even, smooth “feel” across the keyboard.

May it live forever in the heart of its future caretaker, bringing musical love and joy to a new household.

On display:

Beethoven “Fur Elise”


John Peters, Registered Piano Technician comments on the upright:

shirley_kirsten@yahoo.com

serial number 524279

hammers and pins view

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Piano Mania! and the Bezerkeley arrival of Steinway 1098!

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 is a relationship, easily characterized as neurotic that plays out with Knupfer and Pierre-Laurent Aimard. The pianist is gearing up to record Bach’s Art of the Fugue and requires “voicing” for Clavichord, Harpsichord and Organ by individual sections. Try transforming an acoustic piano into a 17th century artifact using more imagination than hands-on intervention, though in truth, Stefan has something up his sleeve that no other tech can dream up. (He’s a problem-solving dynamo)

http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/movies/pianomania-by-lilian-franck-and-robert-cibis-review.html

The assortment of pianos Knupfer deals with is mind-boggling. Steinway grands are numbered like thoroughbreds at the Kentucky Derby.

The numbering, so conspicuously referenced in James Barron’s The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand(book and documentary) also applies to my own assortment of pianos.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/01/books/review/Morris.t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Picture this, before I escaped from Fresno to Berkeley, California–

A living room hodge podge of acoustics: (and one digital)

The aerial view:

Fast forward to the latest piano shuffle in Bezerkeley, a sized-down space, that forced two acoustics out the door–one on loan to a piano teacher in Fresno.

The other, a Baldwin Grand, 1929, is housed up in the El Cerrito Hills! (my second E. Bay piano studio) Skyped piano lessons are launched at my Berkeley pad.

piano room where I teach El Cerrito

But Hallelujia! Yesterday, Steinway 1098, a bright-sounding studio upright made it’s maiden voyage to my apartment, displacing Yamaha Arius 141 that was shuttled off to the kitchen! The latter incensed Jakov Corsa, Facebook friend, who just purchased Arius 161, and considers it having altar status. (Kitchen?)

Well, it was better than relocating an electronic to the bathroom, if you consider the economy-sized layout of my digs. (By the way, a hamper joins the blended family, with an ironing board neatly folded into a custom-made cabinet–It’s ready for deployment) Talk about an all-purpose kitchen!

Yamaha Arius 141 in kitchen

Almost center-stage, but still UP-staged by my Steinway Grand, M, 1917, NO. 185152, is 1098, delivered expertly and with panache by Greg McCrea, AA Pianos, Oakland. (Check Yelp and you’ll need no further help)

McCrea piano movers

AA piano movers McCrea

DSC05400

DSC05402

Sitting pretty, all dolled up, and ready for action!

Steinway dim lighting

How’s this for lighting and color framing!

pretty Steinway with blanket

A few camera pans around the room

2 Steinway pianos

Mac back and Steinway pianos

The back story. I purchased Steinway 1098 in Fresno about 7 years ago. A friend spotted an ad for a Steinway upright in the FURNITURE section of the Fresno Bee classifieds. Naturally, I raced to see/play it, and my curiosity was rewarded by years of playing pleasure. The seller, a native Italian, planned relocation to the homeland and desperately needed to find a good home for her sweetheart. I guess it was love at first sight and sound! A match made in heaven!

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Claudia’s piano lesson in progress: Preparing the Chopin A minor Waltz no. 19, Op. posthumous and Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” for the MTAC Fall Festival

I returned to the iMac21 for this videotaping in the company of my nifty Yeti mic. (I’m waiting for Y to speak in Star Wars lingo, or double as a cleaning robot)

Everything was definitely effortless this time because I opted NOT to edit. I just let the lesson segment run its course without fussing over those yellow editing squares that derange the sound and video tracks. With my novice exposure to technology, playing with footage on iMovie was a crap shoot.

This time I clicked “new project,” named it, created an “event” and headed for the camera icon, which triggered a capture option, etc.

It all went smoothly.

Backdrop: Claudia just turned 11 and began lessons with me at 6. She had previously studied for a year or so, in Hawaii. After five years of studying piano in Fresno, her musical progress is apparent. Just a few weeks ago, I posted a snatch of her first recital at my home when she was 6. She played for a total of 10 minutes at that recital, while Michael an adult student who had the courage to participate, suffered his ill fated head bump that set his Clementi sonatina back a bit.

In the footage below, Claudia worked on her phrase shaping and melodic contouring in the Chopin Waltz. In a separate clip, she focused on Beethoven’s “Fur Elise.”

“Fur Elise”

RELATED:

Claudia’s musical memories album:


https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/a-piano-students-milestones-and-memories-in-photos-and-video/

Chopin Waltz in A minor, played in the company of Aiden cat:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5MLPxKFl2c

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/profile-of-a-courageous-adult-piano-student-with-a-video-out-take/

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More Lesson-in-Progress excerpts, Chopin Waltz in A minor, No. 19, Op. Posthumous (Video)

Preserving teaching moments on video allows students an opportunity to review what transpired at their lesson as a springboard to improve practicing during the week. In this particular situation, I was able to e-mail the You Tube link to Claudia, 10, and Claire 8, both of whom are studying the Chopin A Minor Waltz No. 19.

Claudia was seated at the Steinway grand yesterday as she played the composition behind tempo. (We always begin our lessons with a slower paced approach to repertoire and then inch up)

The sticking points in this Waltz related to lightening the second and third beats in the bass and playing phrases with a singing tone legato, going across with fluidity. Some tempo rubato was integrated into the practice tempo, though not exaggerated. (The tendency, in my opinion, is for students to take too many liberties in this interpretive realm making Chopin’s music sound overly melancholy and contrived.)

Resolution of phrases with tapered endings needed a wrist forward motion in the treble to soften the impact at cadence points so pertinent measures were practiced.

The video had a few mappings: progressing toward the Peak or Climax of the piece when it transitioned to the parallel Major (A) by way of “secondary dominants,” continuing with a graceful return to a portion of the opening theme, followed by a heart-warming Codetta.

Wrist forward practice was revisited along with refinement of pedaling.

RELATED:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/piano-technique-spot-practicing-a-nagging-e-major-arpeggio-in-chopins-waltz-no-19-in-a-minor-measures-21-24-video/

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Skyped Piano Lessons: Using video supplements as reinforcement (Video sent to an 8-year old student)

Today I Skyped a third piano lesson between California and Oregon, and learned that the student I was mentoring was not 10-years old as I had thought all along, but only 8!

Dad told me she had 10 months of lessons altogether, wherein I became involved only weeks ago at the father’s invitation. But the first phase of my musical relationship to the child involved a video exchange through a common private You Tube channel.

That process remained in place after I purchased and set up my iMac 21 for SKYPE.

In the past few weeks, many videos have been uploaded and sent back and forth, which in my opinion have significantly advanced the student’s progress. The participation of the father has also been pivotal to gains the child has made. He is very involved in the real-time lessons, and in the video exchange.

When his daughter practices between lessons, I am sent a video(s) of her session, and will comment on various phrases, measures. I then shoot back a responsive video underscoring my points.

So far I have found Skyped lessons to be valuable in fostering progress in conjunction with video supplementation.

Today I sent the video below to dad as reinforcement of the five-finger technical work we commenced today. It is no.1 of Dozen a Day, Bk. 1 “Walking and Running.” (Edna Mae Burnham) I expanded the exercise to include 32nds legato followed by Staccato Forte/Staccato piano.

In general I use these Pentascales to advance the singing tone and a supple wrist, and I take the student through all keys, “Parallel” Majors and minors. (Not the “relative” minors for this routine) At today’s lesson we embarked upon C Major and minor in parallel and contrary motion.

The balance of the Skyped lesson focused on the Chopin Waltz in A minor, No. 17 and the Clementi Sonatina, Op. 36 no. 3, first movement, Spiritoso.

Down the line I plan to introduce TWO octave scales through the FJH Classic Scale Book (McArthur and McLean) alongside the pentascale warm-ups. These pursuits will be videotaped and shared.

This 8-year old is not typical of students I have in this age category. She is very focused, physically adept, and musically inclined. The lesson plan is therefore adapted to her specific strengths and weaknesses and not standardized.

Teaching that is standardized does not make adjustments for individual needs.

RELATED:
Correction needed below: student is 8 years old!

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/an-8-year-olds-playing-before-and-after-skype-lessons-plus-video-supplementation-chopin-waltz-in-a-minor-no-19-videos/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/between-california-and-oregon-skyping-chopin-with-a-ten-year-old-student-video-of-lesson-in-progress/

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The view in my living room with an iMac, Tripod, Three Pianos, and Aiden cat

This about sums it up. Now that the iMac arrived right after Haddy Haddorff replaced a digital keyboard, Aiden cat found space for himself dwindling, yet he still managed to plop himself right in the middle of the muddle.

RELATED:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5MLPxKFl2c

Aiden cat sits in on a concert…

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More ideas about Piano Technique and Mental Imagery (Playing into a Bowl of Molasses)

Continuing my practice of videotaping my Thursday evening lesson, I reviewed the footage and discovered some catch words that helped me clarify ideas about technique and fluency.

While it may sound a bit outlandish to think of the piano as a “bowl of molasses,” the image alone helped my adult student approach the keys with more of a delayed entry, avoiding a skimming the surface type of playing that never quite gets the player “grooved” or “connected into” the notes. I like the volume or density of molasses.

Listening to the end of a note, before playing the next through an E minor Arpeggio in tenths, imbues a consciousness about playing deep into the keys, sculpting, feeling the “jello” that Irina Gorin references. It’s fundamental to producing a beautiful singing tone.

Other images or catchwords that I used to aid fluidity of technique: “roll” into the scale; Don’t Anticipate–Be in the here and now; think Slowly through fast passages; feel the rolling turnaround at either end of the scale, “BREATHE.”

So molasses slows things down, and allows for some key depth exploration without a premature release to other notes. This applies to passages in slow, fast or moderate tempo.

Fast Melody

For the rippling strings of 32nds in Allegro that can be practiced in a scale framework, the principle of attentive listening from note to note should be framed as “fast melody.” Melodic contouring blends well with a bowl of molasses even though the latter would seem to drastically slow things down.

But for most piano students who tend to race over the keys losing their breath and composure, some key catchwords might neutralize the frenzy.

In this teaching segment, the student and I are playing the Dominant 7th Arpeggio B, D#, F#, A in contrary motion, Thumbs at B (an octave above middle B)

The next video extracted from the same lesson, draws on more catchwords to aid fluidity of technique: “roll” into the scale; Don’t Anticipate–Be in the here and now; think Slowly through fast passages; feel the rolling turnaround at either end of the scale, “BREATHE.”

Molasses also applies here, because it suggests density, and precludes the tracing paper, skimming on top of the keys touch and tone.