C Major Scale, C major scale at the piano, classissima, classissima.com, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, piano instruction, piano instruction by Skype, piano lessons, piano lessons for adults, piano lessons in Berkeley California, piano lessons in El Cerrito California, piano teachers, piano teaching, piano technique, Piano World, pianoaddict.com, playing staccato at the piano, playing the piano, playing the piano with a singing tone, POWHOW, POWHOW instruction, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, shirley s kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, shirley smith kirsten blog, skype piano lesson, Skype piano lessons, skyped piano lessons, Skyping piano lessons, teaching piano online, teaching piano to adults, the breath and phrasing in piano playing, whole body listening, whole body music listening, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video, you tube.com, yout tube, youtube.com

The C Major Scale universe: metric and muscle memory; shaping and tapering

Most piano students celebrate the C Major scale as an “easy” journey over 8 notes and back.

But as the attached video instruction proves, the ingredients of playing this scale with a fluid, well-shaped legato (smooth and connected) in transition to a crisp and vibrant staccato touch (forte and piano) is a “challenge.”

One of my out-of-state Skype students amply described the terrain as she patiently practiced her 8ths to 16ths, (legato/staccato)

“It’s hard!”

I’d second that for these reasons:

Keeping a steady, singing pulse, ascending and descending requires presence of mind, and a sense of “breathing” through the notes.

Anticipation is out the door as 8ths double to 16ths. What about 32nds?

All the more reason to RELAX and psychologically BROADEN your perspective. Don’t crowd the notes!

Metric memory, especially, is a great asset when memorializing the scale over and again. One doesn’t want a shaky landscape to embed a curvaceous spin from C to C.. or from Sea to Shining Sea.

On a patriotic note, I love oceanic analogies when I play the piano, though more often, I draw upon images of smaller bodies of water, like babbling brooks. (Think of Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet, or rippling piano accompaniments to his Lieder)

Why digress with mental imagery? Because using one’s imagination to play the C Scale will help it rise to the occasion, not crash and burn!

To play a C Major scale beautifully, sing it, shape it, and taper at its conclusion. (A supple forward wrist motion is recommended)

For certain, a lesson-in-progress is worth more than a thousand words:

classissima, classissima.com, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, El Cerrito piano studio, Fresno California, keyboard technique, Lillian Freundlich, mind body connection, molto cantabile, muscular memory, music, music and heart, music and the breath, music teachers association of california, musical phrasing, New York City, New York City High School of Performing Arts, New York University, Oberlin, Oberlin Conservatory, phrasing at the piano, pianist, piano, piano addict, piano instruction, piano instructor, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano pedagogy, piano practicing, Piano Street, piano studio, piano teacher, piano teaching repertoire, piano technique, Pianostreet.com, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, playing piano, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Steinway M grand piano, talkclassical.com, Teach Street, teaching piano, technique, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Piano Instruction: Working on the flexible wrist with a hair band (Videos)

I videotaped Nayelli, age 10, practicing the use of a flexible wrist. I also integrated the hair band (demonstrated by Irina Gorin) into the lesson for the purpose of teaching the dead weight drop into notes with a dipping wrist. All advance the singing tone:


Nayelli plays Faber’s “Scarf Dance”
(Lesson Book 1, Piano Adventures)