adult piano instruction, arpeggios, legato, piano instruction, piano pedagogy, piano technique, scales, staccato

Piano Technique in the PLAY-ground: Thumb to thumb swings and more

The playground can be the best music teacher. Thumb swinging, for example, to smooth out shifts through scales, is practiced by an adult student. (She had initially lost her "feel" for spacing between long and short tunnels, through which her thumb passed). A blocking approach preceded the swing routine that carefully marked out groups of… Continue reading Piano Technique in the PLAY-ground: Thumb to thumb swings and more

French Suites by Bach, J.S. Bach, piano, piano instruction, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten

Practicing J.S. Bach’s Gigue from French Suite No. 5 in G, BWV 816

My "block-headed" journeys continue. They take me through landscapes of chordal outlines solidifying my learning. In J.S. Bach's A minor Invention 13 I'd recently absorbed organized clusters of notes in my palms as they moved in harmonic rhythm, while featherweight thumbs became little rulers, measuring and spacing out distances between inverted chords. Once unraveled, these… Continue reading Practicing J.S. Bach’s Gigue from French Suite No. 5 in G, BWV 816

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Piano Technique: Be a Blockhead when learning Bach

Blocking techniques can help to solidify tricky passages in Bach's A minor Invention (13), especially if intelligent decisions are made about landscaping broken chords with thumb shifts weaving through them. Examining measures 9 through 13 for example, I devised a blocking routine that helped me gain note security while contouring phrases with a supple wrist.… Continue reading Piano Technique: Be a Blockhead when learning Bach