"Tales of a Musical Journey" by Irina Gorin, Cyprien Katsaris, Irina Gorin, Tatiana Nikolayeva, Uncategorized, Yeol Eum Son, Yeti mic, Yeti microphone

My Top You Tube Picks for 2013, What are yours?

My note: I’ve listed links to blogs posted about these performers.

PIANO

Grigory Sokolov Complete piano recital, Theatre de Champs Elysee (for astounding fusion of technique/lyricism/wide dynamic palette–having everything and anything at his disposal to draw upon from his rich musical repository)

Irina Morozova: Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, second movement (profound lyricism, singing tone, fluidity, molto cantabile, tasteful rubato, and more)

Yeol Eum Son, Earl Wild Arrangement of Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” (gorgeous, finessed playing with a remarkable palette of colors—immaculate phrasing)

Vitaly Margulis: Chopin Nocturne in Db, Op. 27, No. 2 (heart-fluttering phrases, perfect rubato, OLD WORLD playing at its best)

George Li, Liszt “La Campanella” (a wondrously seasoned and beautiful approach to the piano that belies his youth)

Tatiana Nikolayeva ( Old, time-honored, Romantic era-wrapped Schumann) My heart is throbbing!

Yevgeni Sudbin (Domenico Scarlatti from heaven!)

Angela Hewitt, Bach French Suite in G (Lyrical Bach and quite pleasing)

Glenn Gould, Bach D Minor Concerto (beyond words!)

Murray Perahia, Partita in E minor, BWV 830 (As always, exquisite, captivating playing, mind and heart fused all the way through)

Harpsichord:

Elaine Comparone (Robust, vibrant and the rest)

Keyboard Sonata in G Major by C.P.E. Bach

Domenico Scarlatti Sonata in D Minor, K. 517 (A knock-out performance!)

FAVORITE MASTERCLASSES

Seymour Bernstein, Part 4, “You and the Piano”

Boris Berman


Cyprien Katsaris
Chopin Fantasie Impromptu

Irina Gorin (Wrist Relaxation Exercises)

Blog LINKS:
GYORGY SOKOLOV

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/the-gold-standard-in-piano-playing-sokolov-is-a-legend-in-his-own-time/

IRINA MOROZOVA

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/pianist-irina-morozova-blends-a-satisfying-career-of-teaching-and-performing-videos/

YEOL EUM SON

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/exceptionally-beautiful-playing-on-you-tube-piano/

VITALY MARGULIS

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/the-secret-genius-of-pianist-vitalij-margulis/

GEORGE LI

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/my-interview-with-george-li-a-seasoned-pianist-at-16/

TATIANA NIKOLAYEVA

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/luganskys-piano-teacher-tatiana-nikolayeva-displayed-greatness-in-her-own-right/

YEVGENI SUDBIN

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/yevgeny-sudbin-still-another-russian-pianist-topples-my-day/

ANGELA HEWITT
https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/angela-hewitt-pianist-plays-j-s-bach-beautifully-on-a-fazioli/

MURRAY PERAHIA

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/murray-perahia-pianist-is-in-a-league-of-his-own-videos/


ELAINE COMPARONE


https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/aglow-with-creative-fire-my-nyc-visit-with-harpsichordist-elaine-comparone/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/vibrant-music-making-at-rest-or-at-play/

http://arioso
7.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/a-visit-with-elaine-comparone-at-her-harpsichord-palace-in-new-york-city/

http://www.harpsichord.org

MASTERCLASSES


SEYMOUR BERNSTEIN

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/my-nyc-visit-with-seymour-bernstein-pianist-teacher-author-and-composer/

BORIS BERMAN

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/inspiring-masterclasses-of-boris-berman-russian-pianist-videos/

CYPRIEN KATSARIS

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/cyprien-katsaris-masterclass-chopins-fantasie-impromptu-video/

IRINA GORIN

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/irina-gorin-creator-of-tales-of-a-musical-journey-shares-her-thoughts-about-braving-a-new-piano-teaching-universe/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/irina-gorins-piano-students-shine-again-videos/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/if-this-is-the-russian-singing-tone-school-of-piano-teaching-then-its-a-winner-videos/

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Online Piano Lessons by Webcam: Pros and Cons (Videos)

I’m not about to pitch web-cam driven piano instruction like a CD package promoter of Piano Playing in a Flash. Learning piano is not in the espresso lane. It takes time, patience, and practice.

The question is, can a student gain as much from Online piano study vs. “live” in-person lessons.

For decades I was a tradition-bound teacher with a touchy feely relationship to my instrument. My goal had always been to ignite passion about tone production and phrasing in the presence of my students. (Who would think, otherwise?)

My beloved NYC teacher Lillian Freundlich was my role model. She always sat beside me to monitor tensions that crept into my movements. Quite often she checked my elbows and wrists until I could experience my own sense of physical freedom and Oneness with the piano. Frequently, she sang over my playing in a mother-loving musical transfer that helped me shape phrases.

When I grew up to become a piano teacher, I carried on her legacy, hovering over my students, singing, conducting, and sometimes squeezing myself onto a tight-fitting bench to demonstrate a line or two.

Any other form of mentoring was culture alien.

It was like a hurricane it, when I sprang upon a You Tube of concert pianist, Jeffrey Biegel teaching a young adult student in Singapore. While thousands of miles separated the two, meaningful instruction transpired. Right before my eyes, in less than 30 minutes, the pupil’s phrasing had improved.

I was inspired enough to try out the Millennium piano teaching landscape, having an open mind.

One of my earliest Skyped lessons was transmitted to an adult student whom I’d taught “live” in El Cerrito, California. Since she would be missing a few sessions due to business obligations, a convenient make-up schedule was needed. The Online route seemed like an easy option.

The lesson flowed well and further make-ups ensued. Here’s one example:

Here’s a “live” lesson with the same student as a means of comparison:

The positives of SKYPING

1) I can strategically place my Logitech external webcam so it provides an up-close-and-personal keyboard view of my arms, hands and wrists. This camera placement allows me to demonstrate various phrases for the student.

Likewise, the student can angle her camera for an optimal view of her hands if she has good equipment. Some students rely on the computer’s internal camera which can work if the lap top is moved close enough to their instrument.

(A London-based student uses a SWIX external cam that provides an outstanding view of her hands and keyboard)

When I think about it, this big screen enhancement of our piano-related physiology, provides a minute-to-minute flow of music and ideas that doesn’t require my nudging a student off the bench for a demonstration.

With pupils I had coached from my second piano (a Steinway upright) the distance would be larger than by computer channels, though I could still walk over to the student if she were present.

(MUSIC READER, incidentally, is a program that allows the teacher to post the music a student is playing, and make notations of fingering, dynamics, etc. as the lesson is in progress. It’s another distance-bridger that supports Online lessons.)

2) From a faraway location, an Online pupil can videotape a “live” Skype lesson aiming the camera in the teacher’s direction. (Many students have done this, though I often send them a supplementary video during the week to flesh out the goals of our lesson)

Convenience of Scheduling

3) Online instruction affords flexibility in setting lesson times. For students wanting to sandwich in a lesson over a lunch break or on weekends, even Sundays, it’s mouse click away. No travel, no hassle.

In cities where access to private instruction is limited, web-caming provides an otherwise unavailable learning opportunity.

(In this regard, I’ve fielded inquiries from Vietnam and Malaysia, among other distant countries. Time differences, however, have to be considered.)

In rural areas of the US, the same access can be provided through Online instruction.

Disadvantages

1) Online transmission, no matter what source is used, is not completely free of interference, static, pauses, echoes. (Earphones don’t always solve these problems) In addition, the sound or tone of an acoustic piano is somewhat marred over Skype. Even using Go to Office, tone was somewhat improved though not yet perfected. (For better audio, I use a Yeti mic, instead of my Mac’s internal mic)

While on certain days or times, a complete lesson may flow smoothly without electronic impediment, there will more than likely be periods when both parties will have to sign off, and re-sign on to establish a better connection.

After a while, this is something both student and teacher accept as part of the current landscape, though improvements in technology are in progress.

2) Two pianos cannot not play at the same time, as there may be a time lag that affects synchronized efforts. (Forget duet playing as an option)

3) The etiquette of Skyping or web-caming is that the teacher and student speak or play separately. This requires mutual patience.

4) Singing over a playing is not advised, since it poses the same overlay of complications, though I can’t seem to stop my spontaneous vocalizing Online or offline.

SUPPLEMENTS to web-cam instruction

I find it advantageous to send videos to my Online private students during the week, (at no extra charge) that review the assignment and highlight practicing goals. These run about 15 minutes and are transmitted as UNLISTED or PRIVATE You Tubes.

In a few cases, pupils have sent me video updates of their practicing to which I shoot back a responsive one, or provide a written critique of what has improved and/or needs more focus.

Video sharing is enormously helpful and seems indispensable to Online instruction.

Theory instruction can also be a valued adjunct to private lessons. It can be scheduled mid-week, or at the end of the month to enrich piano study.

Group Webcam Lessons

This is a relatively a new universe of piano teaching. POWHOW features piano lesson sign-ups in a class or private one-to-one setting.

Currently I teach a tone production class that had its maiden voyage a few months ago.

In this setting, I have boxes to tap when checking the progress of individual students, a mind-boggling concept to entertain. Take a look:

On both sides there are mute buttons, and one that permits a student not to be seen by other class members.

Otherwise with individual piano students, there’s only one box to keep track of.

A Word about teaching children Online

I haven’t mentioned my experiences Skyping private lessons to children. This is an area where the verdict is not yet in.

My inclination is NOT to teach raw beginners Online. 5 to 10-year olds need close monitoring and the physical presence of a teacher at the inception of learning. The right chemistry and the quality of a personal/musical relationship with a youngster are paramount to the success of lessons.

In addition, duet playing which is a valuable teaching and ear-training activity in the early years, especially, is not feasible with current technology.

Older children, perhaps, who are at Intermediate or Advanced levels, with good attention spans, would be better candidates for Skyped instruction.

One parent in Oregon hired me to teach his 8-year old, and while these web-cam lessons were productive, it was my decision to ultimately refer her to a private teacher in her area.

Here is one of our SKYPED lessons. In this case, we had set up a video exchange for easy back and forth musical sharing.

***

When all is said and done, Online piano lessons are the wave of the future. Just as cell phones have replaced land lines, taking private and group lessons over the Internet, with improved transmission in the offing, will be considered second nature.

More Examples of Skyped lessons:

Setting up for a Skype lesson to London, England:

A Skyped Lesson to Sydney Australia (piano technique)

Skyping between California and Greece:

Logitech close-up views of the keyboard:

Once again, compare to LIVE lessons (East Bay, California–I’ve relocated to Berkeley!)

Chopin A minor Waltz, No. 19, Op. Posthumous:

Play Through:

RELATED: https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/piano-warm-ups-and-the-art-of-breathing-video/

LINK:

http://www.powhow.com/classes/shirley-kirsten

Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, pianist, piano, playing piano, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Skype, teaching piano, video instruction, video performances, video supplementation of piano lessons, virtual piano lessons, virtual piano teaching, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, Yeti mic, Yeti microphone, you tube, you tube video, yout tube

Skyping piano lessons with an iMac, Logitech cam, and Yeti mic (videos)

Here’s my set-up for Skyped piano instruction.

A travel itinerary minus airport delays and x-ray scanners included stop-offs in Pennsylvania, Sydney, Australia; Portland Oregon, and London, England.

Lessons have been scheduled as needed.

A Power Point-less presentation offers more:

***

A Skype lesson-in-progress to Sydney fleshes out a bi-screen video landscape. (two Logitechs in synch)

I always suggest video supplements to real-time, virtual learning because they allow a closer examination of student problem areas with an eye toward remedies.

Video sharing is even better, where a pupil sends off an Unlisted or Private You Tube playing snippet, and I dash off a video response.

In a word, modern technology in various forms can be enlisted to meet the needs of students who require scheduling convenience amidst a busy work day, or who live in a rural area without easy access to a private teacher.

***

LINK: A Video supplement to a Skyped piano lesson

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/a-video-supplement-to-a-skyped-piano-lesson-instruction-for-minuet-in-g-minor-from-anna-magdalena-bachs-notebook/

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J.S. Bach Fugue/Piano Lesson in Progress, (BWV 847 in C minor) plus Aiden Cat begs for affection, feeling left out (Videos)

Claudia, 11, continued practicing Bach’s Fugue in C minor, (Well-Tempered Clavier) following a break for the Baroque Festival. We had intensified study of the Prelude in preparation for this event.

For today’s lesson, our work encompassed the Fugue opening through measure 20.

The manuscript below incorporates the theoretical mapping of Jose Rodriguez Alvira

http://www.teoria.com/articulos/analysis/BWV847/index.htm

AIDEN CAT

Aiden got into the act following Claudia’s lesson as he felt forlorn and out in the cold. A preceding Skype to Pennsylvania kept him out of the fray, encapsulated in a warm bedroom within easy reach of his food bowl. But that was not enough.

He wanted to make up for lost time with a shower of affection from me. And he deservingly received it…

purrrrrr…..

"Tales of a Musical Journey" by Irina Gorin, iMac, iMac 21, iMac iMovie, Irina Gorin, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, legato playing at the piano, mind body connection, mindful piano practicing, MTAC.org, music teachers association of california, New York City High School of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, phrasing at the piano, pianists, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano blogs, piano instruction, piano instructor, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano lessson, piano pedagogy, piano playing and breathing, piano playing and phrasing, piano playing and relaxation, piano practicing, piano study, piano teacher, piano teachers, piano teaching, piano teaching repertoire, piano warm-ups, Piano World, piano world-wide, pianoaddict.com, Pianostreet.com, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, playing piano, playing the piano, publishersmarketplace, publishersmarketplace.com, relaxed arms in piano playing, Rina takes piano lessons, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, shirley s kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, shirley smith kirsten blog, slow mindful practicing, slow piano practicing, studying piano, supple wrist in piano playing, teaching piano, technique, whole body listening, whole body music listening, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, Yeti mic, you tube, you tube video

Piano Technique: Rina turns 5 and plays two-note Legato slurs (slow motion, soundless replays)

The Good News: Rina just celebrated her big FIFTH birthday, and bestowed a lovely portrait of herself draped in a smile over her precious piano. Thank You for the beautifully framed photo!

***

OTHER:

Today, technology failed me once again, but this time I outsmarted the devilish, on/off again iMac movie program.

So what if Yeti Mic decided to go silent for this footage. I could still use the video frames to demonstrate the forward roll, two-note slur of C to D, played in every octave from middle C up and back. (using fingers 1 to 2, beginning with the Right Hand)

Rina and her parents could watch, gaining a physical understanding of what was taught at today’s lesson.

I thought about Anne Sullivan and the challenges she braved teaching Hellen Keller.

By comparison, mentoring in silence, (on replay) would be a breeze.

To begin the editing process, I HIGHLIGHTED frames where I demonstrated the legato slurs, and then tapped SLOW MOTION 50%. A slower rendering would send Rina’s folks and other viewers scampering off for a McDonald’s Big Breakfast.

I then retained a slow motion replay for frames where I guided Rina’s hands and fingers over the keys. (These examples would help mom practice with her daughter during the week)

The first video, however, in real time, added a few additional teaching maneuvers (still giving viewers the silent treatment)

I encouraged Rina to first relax her arms by imagining they were hanging over a clothesline. This mental image seemed to help her let go of elbows, wrists…and any related tension.

You can clearly observe the positive results in this first video.

I also reinforced the rhythmic value of each note, by pointing to a WHITE CARDBOARD CIRCLE on the piano rack. (C and D were each designated as “LONG SOUNDS,” or notes that were to be held for TWO COUNTS each–otherwise known as Half Notes)

The second upload, incorporated the slow motion effect, and eliminated some of the footage from the first video.

As for playing through the slurs in consecutive octaves across the keyboard, Rina tended to anticipate the forward motion on the second note D, impeding a smooth roll where the wrist naturally springs forward–but NOT with a jerk.

To remedy this problem, I will enlist other forms of mental imagery to slow down her entry into D-perhaps invoking the JELLO keyboard model, or molasses, honey, etc.

The lesson continued with Left Hand two-note slur sequences, fingers 1 to 2, C to B, down from middle C and back up. (not featured in the footage)

Earlier in today’s instruction we had practiced rainbow motions for each note of the music alphabet, played in octave spans– alternating fingers of each hand.

Repertoire:

Rina played “Frere Jacques” in C Major/minor–two hands (LH intoning WHOLE NOTES with melody in RH) and displayed good physical coordination.

She effectively produced three echoes in this piece, increasing her dynamic range.

“Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” followed, played Right Hand alone in Major, and then minor.

Separately, Rina practiced WHOLE notes on C in the LH, counting through them with me.

During the week mom will play the melody as Rina practices her Whole notes. (WHOLE NOTE HOLD DOWN… or 1-2-3-4)

Then the two partners will reverse parts. (I’m not recommending hands together TWINKLE practice as yet)

***

Rina is moving along at a nice pace, making excellent progress. Her attention span is remarkably improved since she first began piano lessons at age 4. I’m using many ideas that Irina Gorin embraces in her excellent instruction, Tales of a Musical Journey.

Alfred Cortot, Arthur Rubenstein, Artur Rubenstein, Artur Rubstein and Chopin, Artur Schnabel, Butterfly by Edvard Grieg, Chopin, Chopin Waltz, Chopin Waltz in Ab Major Op. 69 no. 1, Chopin Waltz in Ab Op. 69 no. 1, Edvard Grieg, Frederic Chopin, iMac, Leonard Pennario, Mary Kunz Goldman, Mary Kunz Goldman authorized biographer of Leonard Pennario, pianist, piano, piano repertoire, piano technique, Piano World, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, playing piano, Romantic era music, Romantic music, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Stephen Hough, tempo rubato, The art of phrasing at the piano, the art of piano playing, Uncategorized, whole body music listening, word press, wordpress.com, Yeti mic, Yeti microphone, you tube, you tube video

Chopin Waltz in Ab Major, Op. 69 No. 1–considerations of mics, recording conditions, and tempo, with performance comparisons

First, I have to admit that my prized Yeti mic suffered yet another break-down. “Break” is to be emphasized. I tripped over the wire on the way to Haddy Haddorff, and the sensitive connector from iMac’s USB port to the mic itself was altered. Yeti wouldn’t register on “Preferences” as an external no matter how I tweaked that little metal doo-dad that plugs into its host. The more I twisted, turned, cajoled, and said any number of prayers, the less anything registered with the powers that be.

So I didn’t want to abandon my recording session in any case, and decided to wing it with iMac’s own built-in job. Ugh! I had awful experiences that preceded this one, so I wasn’t expecting an overnight miracle or transformation.

Just the same, I figured, I’d swoon over the Waltz and hope some Romantic flavor seeped through one way or another. And then I reminded myself of those old, scratchy recordings where Arthur Schnabel played divine Beethoven, or Cortot lectured about Chopin with those hard-to-decipher playing samples. Still, people listened.

What about Grieg performing his “Butterfly” piece under less than perfect conditions, or any number of keyboard legends leaving bare traces of themselves on audio?

So what. While I was far from legendary, I could leave behind a less than perfect mic-ing of the Chopin Ab Waltz.

***

Well, since composing the previous apologia, I remedied the mic, and subbed in this video:

Next consideration: Tempo. So did I care what so and so pianist did with the Waltz in the way of pacing it? I certainly wanted a good example of tasteful rubato, and hunted down a few readings with that in mind. Stephen Hough was the first that popped up on my screen. (radar screen, perhaps) He was flashing back to the past, I think, coming toward the piano with a 40’s era hat. Everything was in black and white evoking an earlier time, but nowhere near the period that Chopin lived.

It was a creative mood painting.

I liked most of what he did in the way of interpretation, dynamics, give and take, but I couldn’t envision myself playing the Ab Waltz quite that fast all the way through, though his reading was very well styled. Would it fit me in the same way? There were sections that seemed a bit too casual, but still valid. He plied the phrases nicely. In all, I like parts of the whole, but the whole had parts I wished were more lingering.

My next stop was Leonard Pennario and his reading which I instantly doted upon. The only question I had related to the tempo change on page two. Suddenly everything took off, though I didn’t notice directions in the score to that effect. Perhaps I had been under the wrong impression all along about that specific section?

Pennario’s interpretation, overall, was my preference as compared to Hough’s. (I did note, however, that both pianists had apparently used different editions because there were some note changes between scores)

Regardless, I felt that Pennario registered a contemplative Chopin with a nice, fluid rubato. His tone was gorgeous, and he well paced the composition playing it significantly slower than Hough.

Finally came Artur Rubenstein, and as expected, I knew that I would embrace his performance. It seemed plaintively beautiful, effortlessly delivered, as if the music were allowed to play itself.

Similarly, I didn’t find any abrupt tempo shifts between sections, though, like Pennario and Hough he quickened the pace on page two, but less conspicuously.

Regardless of whether I favored one of these performances over another, a salient feature of all was the personality and conviction that came through. If nothing else, an individual and creative expression among pianists would be something to emulate.

To summarize, this You Tube outing proved to be a thoroughly valuable learning experience

For certain, tomorrow I’ll try to round up a decent mic and do my best to realize what the composer intended. Best case scenario, it should be without the handicap of a built-in sound system that could compromise a pianist’s playing in an any time or era.