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A Fear-less, Horizontal Approach to Staccato playing

Most piano students become DIS-connected when asked to play staccato. Their full blown trepidation wedded to DETACHMENT is so conspicuously on display during scale and arpeggio playing that a teacher must first devise mental cues to bring the student down to earth, in a comfortably secure traction with the keys. It's no surprise then, that… Continue reading A Fear-less, Horizontal Approach to Staccato playing

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One grand piano in, and another out, but not forgotten

https://youtu.be/6BSvDPdSNt4 My tiny Berkeley apartment had been shrinking by increments with its herd of tight-squeezed grand pianos and digital keyboards. Count in a Baldwin grand acquired in April, 2015; a medium size Steinway grand (5'7") bequeathed by my father after Oberlin graduation, and two side-by-side digital keyboards--YDP 105, and Yamaha Arius 141. The electronics were… Continue reading One grand piano in, and another out, but not forgotten

Alfred Brendel, blog metrics, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, pianist, piano, piano addict, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano lessons, Piano Street, Piano World, piano worldwide, recording, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Mirrors and piano playing

As we age, we're reluctant to look at our reflection in the mirror, but as we grow over time as musicians, the mirror of our playing in recorded "reflections" can foster quality adjustments in phrasing and interpretation. If we nudge ourselves to step back and be "objective" about what we're hearing, we may try to… Continue reading Mirrors and piano playing

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Dining with musician friends at Bacheesos in Berkeley, CA

This was a happy reunion after many long months. The last I caught up with Friedrich Edelmann and Rebecca Rust they were returning from one of their European tours only to land one in Japan, playing for the Emperor and Empress. The happily married bassoon and cello duo, who sometimes add a pianist to the… Continue reading Dining with musician friends at Bacheesos in Berkeley, CA

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Piano Maintenance: Resolving a weighty problem

Chuck Terpo, who continues to finely regulate my Steinway M grand, gave an encore performance yesterday, as he meticulously "lightened" some weighty bass notes. His nifty maneuvers on display in my iPhone generated video, revealed an analytic approach and smooth follow-through. Watch Chuck methodically check the bass range, that was a bit too heavy for… Continue reading Piano Maintenance: Resolving a weighty problem

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Baroque Ornaments, execution, style, context and taste: A Conversation with Elaine Comparone

One of the delights of my trip back to hometown New York City, was an encore visit with Elaine Comparone!

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Sequences and Phrase contouring in J. S. Bach’s French Suite No. 5, BWV 816

An adult student and I explored sequences in the Allemande opener of Bach's French Suite in G as we parceled out the treble and bass lines. (Still another voice that danced from the alto to tenor range, was separately identified and practiced) To craft beautiful phrases in the opening movement that limpidly flows in legato,… Continue reading Sequences and Phrase contouring in J. S. Bach’s French Suite No. 5, BWV 816