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Piano Instruction: Practicing the “windy” chromatic scale of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise”

After a stream of graceful arpeggiated triplets, a "windy" sounding, descending chromatic scale leads artfully back to the opening theme that concludes "Fur Elise." The traditional chromatic fingering I've inserted in the score corresponds to the 1/2-step sequence beginning on Bb: Black/white, Black/white Black/White/White etc. 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, 2, 1 etc. Video Instruction… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Practicing the “windy” chromatic scale of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise”

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A Power Piano Powhow Launch! (LIVE webcam class instruction)

My first POWHOW class, "Top Notch Tone Tutorial," brought a group of piano enthusiasts who appeared in their own unique "boxes" eager to learn about touch, tone, and nuance. An inspired pooch even chimed in off camera, but was quickly re-routed to BOW-WOW Dog Discipline 101. EXCERPTS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvPMflpfDUA *** The PIANO basics were top priority:… Continue reading A Power Piano Powhow Launch! (LIVE webcam class instruction)

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Piano Instruction: “Ballade” by Burgmuller– phrase contouring and curves of energy (Videos)

Burgmuller's Ballade from his Opus 100 Progressive Piano Pieces is often coined "spooks" because of its Halloween-like opener. Composed in 3/8 time, it moves along in ONE, though the performer should not over-emphasize the first beat in each measure. The way the composer slurs and phrases notes suggests another approach. Thinking LONGER lines and phrases… Continue reading Piano Instruction: “Ballade” by Burgmuller– phrase contouring and curves of energy (Videos)

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Piano lesson-in-progress: Shaping a solo for the right hand in Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” ( a “vocal” transition) Videos

Marie, an adult student practiced measures 32-40 of "Fur Elise," enlisting the model of a singer who shapes and nuances phrases with meticulous breath control. While pianists are not operatic performers, they must imagine that their arms, wrists and fingers are making a vocal transfer to the keyboard thereby overcoming a physical distance from the… Continue reading Piano lesson-in-progress: Shaping a solo for the right hand in Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” ( a “vocal” transition) Videos

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Learning a new piano piece quickly and thoroughly (Videos)

I challenged myself to quickly learn the shortest Scarlatti sonata on record (K. 431 in G) and share the principles of developing this piece to a level of fluidity with interested students. Perhaps it would help them navigate a new musical landscape. *** Looking over the two-page Scarlatti score, we notice a preponderance of broken-chord… Continue reading Learning a new piano piece quickly and thoroughly (Videos)

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Rina, 5, and a review of her staircase activity: The Playground as Piano Teacher (VIDEOS)

I updated the last blog-embedded video that previewed staircase activity planned for Rina's next lesson. It explored the tricky last line of Reinagle's Minuet which has a mix of rhythms and more complex melodic motion compared to the first three staves of music. What I added to the footage, however, was my plan to insert… Continue reading Rina, 5, and a review of her staircase activity: The Playground as Piano Teacher (VIDEOS)

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Quality spot-practicing by an adult student: Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” (Video)

Marie, a motivated adult student, revisited piano studies after a decades-long hiatus. When she resumed lessons about 6 years ago, she made "Fur Elise" her goal-setting piece. Following long-term scale and arpeggio exposure accompanied by a detailed focus on minuets, short character works, sonatinas and the Chopin Waltz in A minor No. 19, Op. Posthumous,… Continue reading Quality spot-practicing by an adult student: Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” (Video)