We are taught as piano students to have respect and reverence for what the composer notates in his score as pertains to tempo, dynamics and other embedded forms of expression. (i.e. directives such as poco rit., calando, note slurred legato and non-legato, etc.) Yet, these are only framings that give life to expression only when… Continue reading Creative phrasing or reading between the lines
Ever since I embarked upon my very first lunge at globalizing my ideas over the Internet---devising a "chunking" strategy to play black key weighted scales B, F#, and C# Major, I realized that I was teaching myself while helping others. A "blocking" technique in its infancy, blossomed into more sophisticated analyses of how to approach… Continue reading Our self-made tutorials grow teaching skills
As teachers, and eternal students of the piano, we often have epiphanies that are worth jotting down at peak moments of enlightenment. Certain words, attached to insights that spring up in the course of lessons become thematic, resonating beyond a particular composition under study. To this effect, over months and years, I've heard myself redundantly… Continue reading Piano Playing time zones: Past, Present, and Future
Today, I stumbled upon a You Tube video that intertwined the ravages of the A-bomb, with a remarkable visit to Japan made by Martha Argerich. (It's titled The Piano That Loved Chopin: Akiko's Piano) The short but riveting film centers upon a vintage upright piano (made in the USA) that survived a fiery World War… Continue reading Akiko’s Piano
I've often been asked about the nuts and bolts of assessing a piano, even before a technician lays his hands on it. (A Registered pro will explore facets of internal assembly while my journey of discovery is intuitively tactile and tonal, forged on behalf of students searching for an alternative to the digital universe.) The… Continue reading Evaluating an Acoustic piano before purchase
Every so often, I find myself at the local piano outlet, tinkering with the latest digitals on and off the shelf. (portables and consoles) And as the weekend rolled in, I was invited to DC Piano by a new student who'd purchased a Kawai CA 58 console electronic without my input. No doubt, my prodding… Continue reading A week of digital and acoustic pianos!
Many students complain about getting stuck at junctures of scales, or in the midst of passagework in a variety of pieces. As mentor, having observed these glitches from an objective distance over cyber or through person-to-person contact at my studio, I've concluded that note-to-note "vertical" playing can snatch continuity from the mind down to the… Continue reading Piano Practicing: Phrasing in Groups of notes