I couldn't resist an opportunity to conduct my student playing the Bach Invention 13 in A minor today. She's preparing two selections for a competitive Baroque event coming up in two weeks, and the second offering is the Prelude in C minor BWV 847. Claudia, 11, rehearsed the Invention a few times with a few… Continue reading The piano teacher as conductor–sometimes shaping gestures help a student phrase better (Video)
It's holiday time, and we're all eating with gusto. In honor of Thanksgiving, we completely let go, pardoning ourselves of any rigid diet that would preclude an all out splurge. So now, enter the piano, as a feast of delights waiting for the player to partake without a hint of holding back. It seems like… Continue reading Playing piano and getting into the spirit (Video with Aiden cat joining in)
Blocking out the lush harmonic progressions of Bach's C Major Prelude is an important first step in learning it. A melodic line that sings through these sonorities, albeit, in waves of broken chords, is the composer's stroke of genius. The chord inversions are perfectly in place to flesh out a divinely "voiced" melody in the… Continue reading Practicing the Bach Prelude in C from the Well-Tempered Clavier, by a process of chord blocking (Video)
On a whim, I decided to keep my Mac at a distance from the Steinway, walk over to the piano without being too conspicuous, and offhandedly play the Bach Prelude in C from the Well-Tempered Clavier. Since I hadn't yet mastered the editing side of iMovie, I figured a majestic lead into the playing would… Continue reading A different view of Bach and the piano (Prelude in C) Video
Today I Skyped a third piano lesson between California and Oregon, and learned that the student I was mentoring was not 10-years old as I had thought all along, but only 8! Dad told me she had 10 months of lessons altogether, wherein I became involved only weeks ago at the father's invitation. But the… Continue reading Skyped Piano Lessons: Using video supplements as reinforcement (Video sent to an 8-year old student)
Studying piano, playing through the great piano literature, requires revisiting, re-doing and refining our work. This undertaking should not carry a value judgment that what preceded was poor or inadequate. Those adjectives do not belong to the process of learning. After all, we do not fault babies for crawling before walking because we realize it's… Continue reading Piano Practicing: Re-doing and Refining
I love to scan the Boards at Piano World, UK Forums, Piano Street, Piano Addict, and other stop-off points such as My Music Life Blogspot and Color in my Piano to get a feel for the concerns of piano students at all levels of study. This form of feedback that flows in and out of… Continue reading The Piano Universe of Discussion Boards, Digital Feedback, and Self-analysis (Video)
Face the music! Most new Conservatory grads with fancy Bachelor of Music, Performance-Piano Degrees bound in leather must improvise when catapulted into the competitive job market. With only a tiny space on the world stage reserved for budding soloists, many aspiring concert pianists will teach privately, wait tables, babysit, or become high school choir accompanists.… Continue reading What can you do with a Performance-Piano Degree?
I remember Art Linkletter's show, "Kids Say the Darndest Things," which made me think of a few adult piano students and their hauntingly memorable words. Yesterday, for example, I was forewarned by a 70-year old pupil, that I should expect a call from her during the night about the key of "F# minor." What impending… Continue reading Adult piano students say and do the darndest things.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZxNy1VeOjk up tempo: http://youtu.be/t-3D6-s5qok Be prepared to exercise your eyeballs minus head movements when tackling large leaps, especially those hand-over-hand acrobatics that are intrinsic to many of Domenico Scarlatti's sonatas. In the first video I've isolated a few of these jumps from Sonata K. 113 in A Major, demonstrating what I've found to be the… Continue reading Piano Technique: Big Leaps, Crossed Hands, and shifty eyeballs (with slow motion video replay)