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A 9-year old’s “complete” piano lesson integrates theory and ear training

After 9 months of study, "Liz" whom I've followed at regular recorded intervals since her first lesson in mid-February, has been exposed to multi-tiered music learning that's incorporated a Theory and Ear Training dimension. (Note the choice of Frances Clark's Time to Begin as a 6 month Primer, with my imposed creative modifications that expanded… Continue reading A 9-year old’s “complete” piano lesson integrates theory and ear training

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The business of copying the piano teacher: Who has the final say or PLAY?

The latest provocative teacher exchange is taking place on Facebook at the "Art of Piano Pedagogy" which has now become a private forum. When it comes to teaching philosophies, many are intensely opinionated. From my perspective, I passionately believe in sharing my ground-up musical insights with students to justify my presence at the lesson in… Continue reading The business of copying the piano teacher: Who has the final say or PLAY?

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Rina, 5, practices “The Hunting Call” by Gurlitt

Rina grabbed an opportunity to sit at the "big" piano yesterday afternoon to practice Gurlitt's "The Hunting Call." A sparkling little piece, Gurlitt's gem is the third in a sequence that I pulled from Faber's Developing Artist series, Preparatory Piano Literature. The others have included Reinagle's G Major "Minuet," and Turk's "Little March" that primed… Continue reading Rina, 5, practices “The Hunting Call” by Gurlitt

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Rina, 5, moves right along in her piano studies (Videos)

Rina takes to piano like a duck in water. Yesterday, she began her lesson with a five-finger romp through D Major and minor, adding chords to her repertoire. Did I say "chords?" It's every child's dream to play more than one voice at a time, to fully appreciate the piano as an orchestral instrument. I… Continue reading Rina, 5, moves right along in her piano studies (Videos)

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Piano Technique: Rotation, Turnaround, and Curve around of scales, with application to repertoire (Videos)

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)

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Rina, 5, plays “Little March” by Turk–10 months of piano lessons–and a flashback to my childhood

Rina marches forward making great progress. For a child of 5, her gains are remarkable. By comparison, my early piano studies were unremarkable. When I embarked upon lessons at age 6, I lived in the Marble Hill Projects, (Bronx, New York) in a small apartment that had no piano. As a consequence, I had to… Continue reading Rina, 5, plays “Little March” by Turk–10 months of piano lessons–and a flashback to my childhood

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Piano Lessons: Catching up with Rina, age 5

Rina has reached a turning point in her piano studies, just 10 months into them. She's playing the Reinagle Minuet, coordinating bass and treble lines. This is NOT ROTE playing, or any Suzuki variant. Rina knows the music alphabet forward and in reverse; understands up and down, steps and skips, and plays LEGATO five-finger positions… Continue reading Piano Lessons: Catching up with Rina, age 5