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Video supplements for piano students assist practicing

Whether giving piano lessons LIVE or by SKYPE, sending students video excerpts of their lessons-in-progress, or creating a short film that zeroes in on a particular technical challenge, is always helpful.

In the old days when I studied with Lillian Freundlich in NYC, a reel-to-reel tape recorder was the standard for memorializing lessons. No tripod or camcorder was in sight, so it was an interminable wait to the next lesson for clarification about trills, mordants, fingerings, etc.

In the Millennium it’s a different world, with Macs, Ipads, Smart Phones etc. as standard fare. Students will even mount their technology on the piano rack while practicing. (A ticking metronome is activated by iPhone)


This past week, I tabled my camcorder beside the El Cerrito Baldwin grand, and collected footage of J.C. Bach’s Prelude in A minor played by an adult student.


Since the piece is composed of woven broken chords throughout, it was useful to have the pupil block out sonorities before unraveling them.

(The challenge most face in this undertaking, is keeping a supple wrist to avoid a hard crash on the keyboard, so various mental images along with physical demonstrations often soften the impact)

The first image enlisted was playing into a bowl of “jello,” followed by “molasses,” but in the last analysis, “quicksand” worked best.

For another pupil, I created a video segment as prep for his playing a C Major scale up and down in one octave. After having added in a snatch of triplets to 16ths as applied to the Mozart Minuet in F, K. 5, I sent it out as a portable assist for a diligent student who practices over his lunch break at work.

In summary, videos prepared by teachers plus resources found on You Tube enrich the practicing environment and help pupils progress from week to week.

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Piano Technique: Practicing dip/roll motions, and dead weight fat lady to skinny dipper for diminuendo (Videos)

I show my 13-year old student, Albertina how to dip/roll the last measures of Burgmuller’s frenzied Ballade, while applying weight control to taper a phrase. (diminuendo)

We’re on the final lap of preparation for Saturday’s Spring Recital!

ONLINE Webcam piano classes and Instructional schedule:

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Beethoven Fur Elise, Fur Elise by Beethoven, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Ludwig Van Beethoven, pianist, piano instruction, piano lessons, POWHOW, POWHOW instruction, teaching piano, video instruction, videotaped instruction, you tube

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

Through a lesson-in-progress with an adult student, I fleshed out ways to phrase, shape, and smooth out these referenced measures permeated by rolling triplet figures.(79-85)