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A Perky Finale to Clementi Sonatina in C Major, Op. 36, No. 1

https://youtu.be/U4-A28lJfrQ A fun-filled romp through a short Rondo form last movement invites a mood lift of One beat per measure, rather than a rigid progression of 3/8ths counted methodically. In this sense, I'm reminded of Vivace movements (very brisk) from Classical era symphonies that are conducted with a single stroke of the baton, measure by… Continue reading A Perky Finale to Clementi Sonatina in C Major, Op. 36, No. 1

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Correction of 2/19/2021 video embeds for Subscribers who were sent a version by WordPress that left one out.

I published a blog on 2/19/2021 that should have been sent to my blog subscribers with two embedded you tube videos that were post-lesson tutorials. (RE: Chopin Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72, No. 1) Unfortunately, Word Press support, aware of the issue, was unable to resend subscriber mailings so that both videos would be… Continue reading Correction of 2/19/2021 video embeds for Subscribers who were sent a version by WordPress that left one out.

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Post piano lesson video tutorials of Chopin Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72, No.1

I frequently send my students video reviews of main ideas that have been explored during their lessons. These recaps imbue stepwise learning strategies while promoting thoughtful practicing sessions between meetings. Over time, they grow a consciousness of melodic contouring, harmonic rhythm, choreographies, and fingering choices, imparting a solid foundation from which to grow independent wells… Continue reading Post piano lesson video tutorials of Chopin Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72, No.1

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Tchaikovsky’s Morning Prayer: A fusion of vocal model ingredients, rhythmic color, and harmonic movement

As I approach the opening tableau of Tchaikovsky's memorable "Morning Prayer," (Op. 39), I draw on the vocal model to shape the very top soprano line that's embedded in a Russian church choir setting. But sculpting the melody is not achieved by intuition alone. It requires an understanding of how rhythmic "color," and harmonic flow… Continue reading Tchaikovsky’s Morning Prayer: A fusion of vocal model ingredients, rhythmic color, and harmonic movement

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J.S. Bach Invention No. 8: A Harmonic Analysis opportunity

As I reviewed J.S. Bach's ebullient Two Part Invention in F, BWV 779, I quickly realized that it would be an ideal springboard to teach basic essentials of keyboard harmony, not to mention, fundamentals of two-part "counterpoint." In this endeavor, my video tutorial follows: https://youtu.be/0Yx_kC1UoKU The extraction of ascending broken chords and descending scales (Major… Continue reading J.S. Bach Invention No. 8: A Harmonic Analysis opportunity

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Small hand challenges playing Gershwin’s Prelude No. 2

As teachers, we're in a position to advise our students about navigating big stretches that may not comfortably fit hands that are small or even moderate in size. George Gershwin's Prelude No. 2, a bluesy lullaby, is exemplary in requiring artful phrasing of relentless measures that have these wide interval spans beyond the reach of… Continue reading Small hand challenges playing Gershwin’s Prelude No. 2

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A Teacher’s Challenge: Navigating Piano music with Awkward fingerings

I often wonder why our music mentor community does not openly share a collective frustration with editors who permeate piano compositions with impossible fingerings. These sources of disarray can be Masterworks by Scarlatti, Mozart, Schumann, Schubert, et al, tarnished with "un-pianistic" maneuvers that beg for labor intensive revisions. Often a preponderance of these Internet driven… Continue reading A Teacher’s Challenge: Navigating Piano music with Awkward fingerings

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Gems of wisdom about piano playing from Lisitsa!

My hopes were dashed for posting a Back to Bach blog when I sprang upon a 4 minute feast to my ears! It was so pertinent to our lives as music teachers, where we must put words to real time demonstrations at the piano-- searching for the right balance that will amply communicate an idea… Continue reading Gems of wisdom about piano playing from Lisitsa!

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Self-learners transition to Piano lessons

Over decades of teaching, I've observed that "autodidacts" who embark upon formal lessons, experience a common awakening related to the piano as a "singing" instrument with its well of tone/touch discovery. Their epiphanies about the cosmos of piano tone and color are also shared among some transfer pupils who were previously unexposed to varying dimensions… Continue reading Self-learners transition to Piano lessons

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Beauty in Simplicity: Robert Schumann’s “Melody” No. 1

Schumann's Album for the Young opens with an ethereal duet that meanders through heart-rending harmonies by its seamless flow of broken intervals and chords in the lower line. (The bass is intentionally composed in an alto range, and read in the left hand with a second treble clef, bringing the duet to poignance by its… Continue reading Beauty in Simplicity: Robert Schumann’s “Melody” No. 1