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Individualizing Piano Study: How to avoid Method Book dependency

Over decades of teaching, I've come to the conclusion that each student needs a custom designed long-term lesson plan. Method books only go so far. Often they stratify the learning process, keeping students in an interminably drawn out, regressive C Major universe. For the most part, flats and sharps with Letter Name identifications are regarded… Continue reading Individualizing Piano Study: How to avoid Method Book dependency

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Piano Students as Composers: Stimulating a Creative Teaching and Learning Environment

This morning, as I foraged through piles of folders, I stumbled upon one of my articles that was published in the California Music Teacher (MTAC Magazine) in 1985. At the time, I had just released my music book, "Piano Duets and Solos by and for Children," which included a lengthy introduction titled, "How to Help… Continue reading Piano Students as Composers: Stimulating a Creative Teaching and Learning Environment

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Music Theory and Piano Study: It doesn’t have to be drudgery

Music Theory doesn't have to be drudgery If I turn the clock back to my early days as a piano student, I can say without a doubt that I absolutely HATED “Music Theory” or anything remotely related to it. And I can clearly thank my very pedantic teacher, Mrs. Schwed for this aversion. She made… Continue reading Music Theory and Piano Study: It doesn’t have to be drudgery

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Bach to Nature, Part 2: The Avian Shuffle

I returned to Oso De Oro Park in Fresno, California to film geese, ducks, and gulls doing their lighthearted shuffles. A Baroque March framed the landscape. These birds produced quite a show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z67Y7QM5jGI Back story: The gates to the lake area were closed, so I was under a considerable handicap in catching the scenes I… Continue reading Bach to Nature, Part 2: The Avian Shuffle

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Domenico Scarlatti Sonata in A, K. 113–in leaps and bounds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh09WH_g7wo I can always use an extra pair of hands to navigate the Baroque composer's technically challenging sonata It's a real workout playing Domenico Scarlatti's essercizi or sonatas. The impossible leaps, crossed hands, trills and syncopation that permeate the composer's music require a daredevil to take on the challenge. Scarlatti will sometimes defy a player… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti Sonata in A, K. 113–in leaps and bounds

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Performance Anxiety and the Pianist

For too long performance anxiety was a taboo subject, always swept under the rug. I remember grappling with paralyzing jitters during my years at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. My piano teacher at the time, a seasoned professional, would always say the same thing: "Honey, the music is bigger than you… Continue reading Performance Anxiety and the Pianist

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Practicing Bach Inventions 4 and 13 with my 10 year old piano student

We had fun videotaping part of a lesson from a different camera angle. My student and I sat in front of our separate pianos, collaborating on two Bach Inventions. (Number 4 in D minor and number 13 in A minor) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y3CaCycoHE In the first segment, my pupil is playing through the d minor Invention, mostly… Continue reading Practicing Bach Inventions 4 and 13 with my 10 year old piano student