piano blog by Shirley Kirsten, piano blogger, piano blogging

Jeanne Bamberger, 94, shares a rich and abundant musical life

A former student of legendary pianist, Artur Schnabel, Jeanne Shapiro Bamberger sat comfortably at her piano bench, nestled in her Berkeley Hills home. She meticulously traced her East to West Coast journey that's reached beyond the boundaries of piano performance. Through decades of creative discovery, Bamberger has synthesized elements of music and cognition; form, structure,… Continue reading Jeanne Bamberger, 94, shares a rich and abundant musical life

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Our individual musical study grows our piano teaching

For the past year I've devoted many daily hours to the study J.S. Bach's six French Suites while simultaneously keeping pace with my students' passage through diverse repertoire. The decision to take on this additional musical challenge apart from meeting my basic teacher obligations of being present at lessons; knowing the material assigned, and dispensing… Continue reading Our individual musical study grows our piano teaching

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Exploring modulations, secondary dominants and sequences in a J.S. Bach keyboard learning journey

https://youtu.be/5otIFs_zdok Without doubt, the French Suites and other keyboard works of J.S. Bach require a multi-dimensional learning approach. It's not enough to enter the universe of the great Baroque master with a singular intent to absorb counterpoint, or parcel voices, sing them, juggle them, properly finger each hand, and in some cases divide one voice… Continue reading Exploring modulations, secondary dominants and sequences in a J.S. Bach keyboard learning journey

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Piano Lessons during the holidays: Inserting a creative composing dimension to chord exploration

Every winter holiday season most music teachers are asked by parents to devote at least a few weeks to the absorption of Christmas and related celebratory selections. In the traditional musical cosmos, "Silent Night," "Deck the Halls," "Hark the Herald Angels" and "Jingle Bells," are popular learning requests. This year, my 9-year old student who… Continue reading Piano Lessons during the holidays: Inserting a creative composing dimension to chord exploration

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A 9-year old’s “complete” piano lesson integrates theory and ear training

After 9 months of study, "Liz" whom I've followed at regular recorded intervals since her first lesson in mid-February, has been exposed to multi-tiered music learning that's incorporated a Theory and Ear Training dimension. (Note the choice of Frances Clark's Time to Begin as a 6 month Primer, with my imposed creative modifications that expanded… Continue reading A 9-year old’s “complete” piano lesson integrates theory and ear training

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What we learn from our piano students

Mentoring is a perfect complement to a life-long musical journey that includes practicing, growing repertoire, and accruing insights about the multi-dimensional aspects of artistic awareness. And what better way to enhance the development of a teacher, than to have a regular opportunity to assist students in their unique growth process. From our seat away from… Continue reading What we learn from our piano students

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Playing J.S. Bach with an awareness of Harmonic Rhythm

In working through Bach's two-part Invention No. 13 in A minor, an adult student and I explored harmonic resolutions and their influence on phrasing. *** While many pupils expect cadences to be predictable resting points where pianists typically taper a musical line, they soon discover with teacher prompts that in the course of a composition,… Continue reading Playing J.S. Bach with an awareness of Harmonic Rhythm