Chopin, Frederic Chopin, phrasing at the piano, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano lessons, Shirley Kirsten

Phrasing at the Piano: Direction and Destination

Often I query my students about the "destination" and "direction" of phrases within a particular composition. Naturally, my questions are a reflection of a need to clarify what arrivals are significant in the transit of notes. Part of this exploration encompasses the awareness of sub-destinations that are on the way to the peak or climax… Continue reading Phrasing at the Piano: Direction and Destination

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The Ingredients of beautiful phrasing

In the course of three piano lessons, spacing, shaping, voicing/balance, grouping, harmonic rhythm analysis, relaxed breathing, singing tone and pulse, etc. were resonating interdependently through beautiful phrases. And with the introduction of two minor scales as a springboard to the repertoire segment, the SPACING of notes, without anticipation or anxiety with a lightness of being… Continue reading The Ingredients of beautiful phrasing

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Piano Lesson from the Big Apple by iPhone!

It's one thing to fly from California to New York, taking in awesome views from the plane. But would I lay back and lapse into surrendering a week of piano instruction just because I had a NYC based family obligation? No way! As long as I had my iPhone as backup, I would try to… Continue reading Piano Lesson from the Big Apple by iPhone!

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An adult piano student explores phrase shaping in Chopin’s A minor Waltz, Op. Posth.

I'm always warmed by lovely, contoured phrasing, especially when it's produced by an adult student who's reached a new level of aesthetic consciousness through especially attentive and consistent practicing. This particular player has increased her sensitivity in shaping the Chopin A minor Waltz melody with curves, dips, loops, and tapering, while her left hand that… Continue reading An adult piano student explores phrase shaping in Chopin’s A minor Waltz, Op. Posth.

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“Clouds,” “cushions,” and “veils” permeate a Chopin Lesson (Waltz in A minor)

Floating arms, supple wrists, delicate relaxed ornaments and trills, and an oxymoron-driven, perfect parachute landing flowed into a lesson last night with a musically responsive adult student. The keyboard was transformed into a soft cushion receiving fingers energized with bigger channeled energies traveling down buoyant arms through springy wrists. Most of all, imagination fed a… Continue reading “Clouds,” “cushions,” and “veils” permeate a Chopin Lesson (Waltz in A minor)

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Aiden cat, our loving companion and musical mascot

He might as well be human. Left with me by one of my daughters over 4 years ago, this atypical cat had a history of jumping into the shower, then going to sleep on his owner's head. When brushed, he molded himself in his caretaker's lap, enjoying each of her lavish strokes. A pedicure that… Continue reading Aiden cat, our loving companion and musical mascot

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The very first Chopin Waltz that I teach: #19, Op. Posth. in A minor (Video instruction)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ--gGIwgAA After decades of teaching the Chopin Waltzes, I've come to the conclusion that the A minor, No. 19, Op. Posthumous is the best student introduction to the form as the composer cultivated it. While many other Waltzes in Chopin's collection are far more substantial and technically challenging, No. 19, is in my opinion, easiest… Continue reading The very first Chopin Waltz that I teach: #19, Op. Posth. in A minor (Video instruction)

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The Joy of Teaching Piano to Young Children (Videos)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyY3XSl5Wuc Starting a very young child on a musical journey is joyful, exciting and challenging. The first baby steps taken at the piano will be memorable for both teacher and student, so careful thought and preparation are needed. At the very outset, I believe in nurturing an awareness of the singing tone and how it… Continue reading The Joy of Teaching Piano to Young Children (Videos)

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Leaving the barbaric age of middle C

Don't be fooled by the music teaser. The subject of this blog becomes clearer as it progresses. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIOewMxAUZQ Sometimes words fail me when I try to describe the beauty of a great piece of music. I just want to play the composition and let it speak for itself. But being the eternal teacher of a… Continue reading Leaving the barbaric age of middle C

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Aiden the Cat Swoons over Chopin’s music (on You Tube)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5MLPxKFl2c I was joined by a surprise visitor while videotaping myself playing the Chopin Waltz in A minor, a composition discovered long after the composer's death. (Cataloged as "Opus Posthumous") I had been tirelessly recording the piece for about 20 times in the sanctity of my piano room, while Aiden had been shuttled off to… Continue reading Aiden the Cat Swoons over Chopin’s music (on You Tube)