If a student is well-prepared, having devoted quality time during the week to practicing scales, arpeggios, and pieces assigned, a lesson can contain a nice balance of ingredients. Barring holidays, long distance travel and time zone changes, most pupils will devote 15 to 20 minutes of their lesson to technique, and the remaining 40 minutes… Continue reading A balanced piano lesson of Technique and Repertoire
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
I sometimes offer a bit of counseling to my brood of adults who often fall into a pit of pervasive self-punishment. The beating up myself student, will often berate himself/herself for having played a scale or piece better before the lesson began. The pupil reasons, if only the teacher disappeared or never showed up, he/she… Continue reading Adult piano student stumbling blocks and overcoming them
Yu has been my Skype student for a few years now and she's made big gains in producing a singing tone with supple wrists, relaxed arms, and hand/finger weight transfer. Today she assiduously practiced her F# Major Scale and Arpeggio, energizing forearm and wrist staccato. Using "cupped hands" for her power driven forearm staccato on… Continue reading A London piano student fine tunes her F# Major scales and arpeggios (staccato and legato)
One of my favorite verbal prompts to students who have a choppy approach to scales and arpeggios, is: "drag" your fingers from note note--"feel" the weight transfer with imagined resistance. I often talk about flowing "vowels" not consonants through an arpeggio. Other mental images are equally effective: Think of the piano as a bowl of… Continue reading Piano Technique: Playing LEGATO can be a drag!
The theme of today's Online lesson beamed from North Carolina was following the decay of a note from the end of a phrase into the next measure with a thread of continuity. To have good conjunction between phrases one has to listen in two directions: from the before to the after, without forgetting the BEFORE.… Continue reading Good phrasing: listen for the decay, and psyche out your piano
Joyce Di Donato, "lyric-coloratura mezzo-soprano," is my model for trilling. In an embedded you tube video, the opera singer emphasizes the undulating character of a beautifully executed trill that leans on the upper note. (Too often pianists deliver a robotic stream of alternating notes that's shapeless and out of breath, ignoring an internal flow and… Continue reading Piano Technique: Trills and the vocal model