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Sound imagination and tactile, tonal expression at the piano for diverse compositional eras

Often a posted comment about a You Tube video inspires a blog topic that is of interest to pianists and teachers. One such public addition to my Channel quickly streamed into a comparison between two well-known compositions in the piano repertoire. The commenter was asking about the grade "level" of Debussy's The Girl with the… Continue reading Sound imagination and tactile, tonal expression at the piano for diverse compositional eras

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Piano repertoire: Review and Refresh

Striking a balance between learning new pieces and keeping a connection to older ones, requires a commitment to well-parceled, organized practice time. It presents a challenge that invites a particular focus on preserving familiarity with repertoire that can easily slip into obscurity during months or years of neglect. As time passes, tactile estrangement grows. A… Continue reading Piano repertoire: Review and Refresh

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Piano Pedagogy article by Byron Janis in the Wall Street Journal

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-power-of-pedagogy-1472507353 This latest piece on how to teach piano (creatively) is gathering attention far and wide, most notably as an eye-catching feature in the Wall Street Journal. And if I'm not mistaken, an article on the joys of returning to the piano as an adult accorded a similar flood of adulation and empathy in this… Continue reading Piano Pedagogy article by Byron Janis in the Wall Street Journal

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The piano playing speed zone: Letting Go but Staying in Control

At some point, piano students will face the challenge of playing a super fast-paced piece without having it fall apart. And while such a task may seem daunting, the player can begin to allay his fears by devising a parceled out practicing strategy. The best panic attack prevention, (at the sight of a MM quarter=… Continue reading The piano playing speed zone: Letting Go but Staying in Control

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Unlocking Schumann

My first thought last night as I was revisiting "Gluckes Genucht" after resting it for months, was that this tableau like others in Kinderszenen, Op. 15, beg for hand, arm, wrist flexiblity as antidotes to tension-driven lockdowns. The after beats, for instance in Genucht. (I'll leave out the "Happiness" aspect for a moment) can easily… Continue reading Unlocking Schumann

Kinderszenen, piano instruction, piano lessons, piano teaching, Robert Schumann, Schumann

When Upbeats have a new meaning and importance

For most piano students, an upbeat is considered a lighter springboard to a more predominant DOWN-beat, as if the UP in music should always be taken LIGHTLY. (except in Jazz framings where syncopations are characteristic of the genre.) *** We can universally agree that in the patriotic Star Spangled Banner, the dotted 8th/16th upbeat is… Continue reading When Upbeats have a new meaning and importance

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What’s Frightening about Schumann’s “Frightening? ” (Kinderszenen, Op. 15, no. 11)

What convinces most pianists that Schumann's "Furchtenmachen" (Frightening) is an expression of fear or perhaps more specifically anxiety, are the markedly impulsive sections that contrast with lyrical, reflective ones. And not to be overlooked, are the interjections of syncopated SF's (accentuated outbursts) that are quite STARTLING and must be well communicated in measures 21-24, as… Continue reading What’s Frightening about Schumann’s “Frightening? ” (Kinderszenen, Op. 15, no. 11)