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W.A. Mozart Minuets: Valuable Journeys of Discovery

It's easy to be dismissive of the Classical era Minuet form, though in the hands of a wunderkind like Mozart, a set of these 3/4 meter Binary dances springs to life with a myriad of embedded learning and performance challenges. For example, the Minuet in F Major, K. 2 composed by Mozart at age 6,… Continue reading W.A. Mozart Minuets: Valuable Journeys of Discovery

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Centering the beat for cohesion in scale playing

"...No matter what the mood to be conveyed, or how sensitive the playing, it is the rhythm that binds the expression." Mildred Portney Chase, Just Being at the Piano Most students, including myself, sometimes find ourselves running away from our initially centered, fundamental beat through scales, which causes an uncomfortable disruption of the phrase. And… Continue reading Centering the beat for cohesion in scale playing

arpeggios, Classical music blog, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano lessons, piano teaching, piano technique, scales, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten

Piano Technique: Self-created Scale and Arpeggio Prep

Over months and years, I've devised various technique framed routines that happen to be bi-products of trial and error excursions over the keyboard. To the extent that I put myself under self-analysis following a stint of formal piano study, I was able to discard a lion's share of the factory-generated, Conservatory-based litany that encapsulated certain… Continue reading Piano Technique: Self-created Scale and Arpeggio Prep

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Piano Technique: Respiration NOT perspiration

My students remind me to breathe long, natural breaths when playing through scales and arpeggios from moderate to brisk tempos. Through a selective process of elimination, we've collectively come to the conclusion that SWEATING it out, or driving technique to the ground, gritting teeth, or otherwise fighting a noteworthy terrain is counter-productive. In the final… Continue reading Piano Technique: Respiration NOT perspiration

Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California

Pianists, back pain, and my personal rehab bundled into a BALL

Eight weeks ago, as I started my scale warm-up routine, I felt sudden, excruciating, spasmodic pain in my lower back, and I couldn't move in any direction without feeling a knife deeply embedded in my spine. It was an "e-m-e-r-g-e-n-c-y!"that I registered by text message. My Nokia cell was thankfully beside me on the piano… Continue reading Pianists, back pain, and my personal rehab bundled into a BALL

classical sonata, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, testing for buzzes in a piano

Piano buzzes can wreak havoc!

We all know about the note zinging nuisance that plagues students and teachers at inopportune times. Like getting ready to perform on the big Spring recital.. A run over the 88's has a MIDDLE C blockade. The noise has infiltrated the most celebrated note in the method book cosmos, making the BLACK ones feel cheated… Continue reading Piano buzzes can wreak havoc!