In spite of my having studied piano for decades, each learning experience is filled with challenges that I must approach with a glut of patience. A new composition has its own form, architecture, harmonic rhythm, fingering that requires a big reserve of self-acceptance in a deadline-free frame. To the contrary, many of my students, who… Continue reading The piano learning process at all levels of study
Piano students, by and large, don't relish playing scales. They would rather eat spinach than practice what they view as tedious, finger-trippers. I have a different perspective. For me, scales are my playground and workout space. They keep me in shape, fine tuning my ears to their internal undulations and curvy turnarounds. They translate from… Continue reading Piano Technique: Rotation, Turnaround, and Curve around of scales, with application to repertoire (Videos)
I would hate to pigeon hole all "transfer" students in one way or another. It would be unfair, and unfortunately many piano teachers shy away from prospects who were immersed in learning environments where little progress was made over a period of years. Some reluctant piano instructors might say, "there's just too much work involved… Continue reading The Transfer Piano Student
This pupil is into her fourth year of study and plays the Chopin Waltz in A minor, and Beethoven's "Fur Elise." Here is a sample of our weekly warm-up routine using pentascales (five finger positions) in Major and minor, followed by a designated 4 octave scale built up from quarters, to 8ths, to triplets, to… Continue reading Warm-up routines with an adult piano student (Video)
Today, I launched the piano Olympics.. well not really. No one in this studio of hard-working adults and children is competing for a medal, but just the same, I have shimmering GOLD stickers that are individually awarded to deserving students. Today, Marie earned her sparkling medallion and proudly displayed it after some prodding. In addition… Continue reading An Adult “Piano Student of the Week” lands the Gold!
Ilyana, 9, explored the supple wrist entry into chords at Forte (Big) and piano (soft) dynamic levels as the warm-up segment of her lesson. In addition she did some breathing exercises to give life and lift to her sonorities. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvF1aAsSI_w More about chord playing and the singing tone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAo0580F-wU Playing through Burgmuller's "Ave Maria" (from… Continue reading Piano Technique: chord playing with a supple wrist and natural, infused long breaths (Burgmuller’s “Ave Maria” as example)
More often than not, pianists acquire insights about piano technique through self-exploration and analysis. (trial and error attempts) Others have had mentors who demonstrated physical approaches to the piano that paved a learning path for the next generation of students. And finally, pupils, themselves have always provided a window for teachers to clarify their own… Continue reading Piano Technique: Forearm and finger emphasized staccato (Videos)