classissima, classissima.com, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, Robert Schumann, Romantic era piano repertoire, Schumann, Shirley Kirsten

What’s Frightening about Schumann’s “Frightening? ” (Kinderszenen, Op. 15, no. 11)

What convinces most pianists that Schumann's "Furchtenmachen" (Frightening) is an expression of fear or perhaps more specifically anxiety, are the markedly impulsive sections that contrast with lyrical, reflective ones. And not to be overlooked, are the interjections of syncopated SF's (accentuated outbursts) that are quite STARTLING and must be well communicated in measures 21-24, as… Continue reading What’s Frightening about Schumann’s “Frightening? ” (Kinderszenen, Op. 15, no. 11)

Jewish New Year, music, piano blog, piano blogging, Ruth Rubin, Shirley Kirsten, Yiddish Songs, Yiddish Theater

The Jewish New Year ushers in poignant musical memories

We sometimes think of our childhood in musical terms. Seymour Bernstein mentions hearing Schubert's Standchen that brought him to tears. Otherwise his home was bereft of music, let alone the time-honored Classics. It was mostly silent. I was bathed in Yiddish melodies that my South Bronx grandmother (bubbe) sang in her beautifully tremulous voice, but… Continue reading The Jewish New Year ushers in poignant musical memories

adult piano instruction, adult piano lessons, legato, online piano instruction, piano, piano blog, piano pedagogy, piano teaching, piano technique, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, staccato

A “cool” dip into Quicktime for wrist, finger, and forearm staccato practice

Amazing how 90-degree temperatures in the East Bay can wreak havoc over Face Time transmissions. It nearly made Online mentoring come to a grinding halt yesterday! except that a Quick Time saving grace Lesson Preserver came to the rescue! *** In my Scotland travels, I'm accustomed to subbing in the iPhone for the iMac because… Continue reading A “cool” dip into Quicktime for wrist, finger, and forearm staccato practice

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Getting immersed in LEARNING Bach’s F minor Fugue, BWV 881 (Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2)

My journey through the Baroque master's Fugue no. 12 has been a labor of love though the form enshrined by J.S. Bach can be intimidating by its structural nit-pickings. Wikipedia, for example, cites BWV 847 in C minor, (the Fugue) as a model of internal order, with a carefully marked out Subject;  Answer (a fifth… Continue reading Getting immersed in LEARNING Bach’s F minor Fugue, BWV 881 (Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2)

piano, piano blog, piano playing, piano teaching, piano technique, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, staccato, word press, you tube

A Teacher/Student fueled discovery about Staccato playing

I never cease to be amazed by a mutual discovery process that's ongoing between me and my adult students. Without our learning partnership, we would not have periodic awakenings that feed our reciprocal musical development. Case in point, is the attainment of Staccato refinement in its most crisp and animated form. In the past month,… Continue reading A Teacher/Student fueled discovery about Staccato playing

arpeggios, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, piano, piano technique, scales

Piano Technique: When an adult student is in the Zone!

It's always valuable to snatch a lesson segment when a student gets it just right and has the equivalent of a runner's high at the keyboard. It's certainly instructive for both teacher and pupil to observe what conditions predisposed a pupil to a level of ONEness of body, mind and spirit. Last night, Jocel displayed… Continue reading Piano Technique: When an adult student is in the Zone!

classissima.com, early music education, Irina Morozova, music education, piano blog, piano instruction, piano lessons, piano pedagogy, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, teaching piano to young children, The Special Music School/Kaufman Center

A six-year old child is awakened to the singing tone and how to produce it

The earliest exposure to the piano in the primary lesson learning environment comes with an opportunity to teach the singing tone-- to sensitize young ears to the instrument's capacity to resonate with beauty. It's not just an ear-training experience. The exploration of physical/musical expression, with imagination intertwined, can fill a very young child's lesson with… Continue reading A six-year old child is awakened to the singing tone and how to produce it