One of my students recommended a book by George Leonard that globalizes the idea of gaining Mastery in any field of endeavor through a love of "plateaus." (These are pauses in forward-moving progress that can either frustrate a learner, or motivate him to forge onward with an all-embracing love of the "journey.") The author begins… Continue reading Piano Study: Process not Mastery
The subject of reviewing pieces from a pianist's repertoire with the intent of considering new interpretations, whether subtle, or with bold strokes of tempo revision, mood, dynamics, etc. is part of a dynamic creative process. And with this particular focus on musical development and changes in perception, I probed Seymour Bernstein about his side-by-side you… Continue reading Revisiting pieces we have studied in the past
On first glance, most students will read down the page of Kinderszenen 1, Op. 15, enjoying a melodic flow, with only a passing interest in two additional voices. With this singular focus on the soprano line, the middle voice of relentless triplets can still inadvertently intrude upon the uppermost voice, as thumbs cross over from… Continue reading Voice parceling in Schumann’s Kinderszenen, “Of Foreign Lands and People”
I've come to realize after decades of teaching, that one size does not fit all--meaning, there's no full proof curriculum design that applies across the board to students who come to the studio with varying strengths and challenges. (I omit the characterization of "weak"--ness, even if it demands a time-honored pairing with its potent opposite)… Continue reading Piano Lessons: Meeting a student’s individual needs
I find myself reconnecting with my late teacher, Lillian Freundlich, when I borrow her approach to scale development. In this undertaking, she would always check my wrists and elbows through note groupings that were ignited by a basic roll-in energy. A scale could not start with a bang, but instead, it had a smooth, slope-like… Continue reading Piano Technique: Building scales to speed and fluency
There's nothing like a Big Mac blitz of pulsating pixels in checkered, multi-colored patterns, building to an eye-catching display of blinking lights that forewarns of a computer shutdown. A lyrical Schumann tableau, Face time streamed from Australia, becomes muted by a choir of cackling parakeets whose primal sense of impending doom is on full screen… Continue reading Computer crashes and recovery!
It's inevitable that I'll introduce a technique-heavy blog with a time worn story about an authoritarian piano teacher who fist-drummed beats to my very shaky C Major scale. (I was 7) The only perk paired with the metronome mandatory, 4-octave lesson opener, was my being able to pick the latest scale practiced. (Without a hint… Continue reading Scales and Arpeggios are front and center with their telltale history of avoidance