piano, piano study and aging

The Benefits of Piano Lessons for the Aging student

Despite the raging battle on Capitol Hill over health care legislation that threatened the loss of insurance to millions if enacted, a particularly vulnerable population of SENIORS engaged in music study, found sanctuary in a daily connection to the piano. Their "escape" to a universe of loving immersion became a mental prompt at the start… Continue reading The Benefits of Piano Lessons for the Aging student

Jeannette Haien, Murray Perahia

Murray Perahia’s earliest piano teacher and her influence on him

Jeannette Haien is rarely recognized for her role in Murray Perahia's musical development, though it's clear through her own words, (rekindled posthumously) that she must have had a profound effect on him. (She was Perahia's mentor from age 4 to 18.) Reminiscences I knew Murray as a classmate at the NYC High School of Performing… Continue reading Murray Perahia’s earliest piano teacher and her influence on him

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Why is practicing slowly so unpopular?

There appears to be a stigma attached to parceling out a brand new piece in deliberately slow tempo, where a player threads through separate lines with a commitment to expression framed by an ultra-relaxed singing pulse. In the best realization of such immersion, the music becomes magnified to a new level of awareness, albeit in… Continue reading Why is practicing slowly so unpopular?

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Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu rises above Facebook etiquette

This morning I was greeted by a Timeline addition to my Facebook page that was worrisome. The header was, "Is this your student?" It framed a precociously youthful performance of the Fantasie-Impromptu that was at best hammered out and musically insensitive. Yet one could peel away layers of fast and furious, disorganized playing and find… Continue reading Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu rises above Facebook etiquette

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Two San Francisco musical attractions: Pianist, Trifonov and a Chinese Harpist

Within 48 hours, high-level music-making was heard in vastly different venues. Louise Davies Hall with its golden hue of lights and balconies provided a stunning backdrop for Daniil Trifonov’s heart-throbbing performance of Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas. Respighi’s Roman Festivals that concluded the concert, pierced the sound barrier in… Continue reading Two San Francisco musical attractions: Pianist, Trifonov and a Chinese Harpist

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The Jewish New Year ushers in poignant musical memories

We sometimes think of our childhood in musical terms. Seymour Bernstein mentions hearing Schubert's Standchen that brought him to tears. Otherwise his home was bereft of music, let alone the time-honored Classics. It was mostly silent. I was bathed in Yiddish melodies that my South Bronx grandmother (bubbe) sang in her beautifully tremulous voice, but… Continue reading The Jewish New Year ushers in poignant musical memories

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Getting immersed in LEARNING Bach’s F minor Fugue, BWV 881 (Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2)

My journey through the Baroque master's Fugue no. 12 has been a labor of love though the form enshrined by J.S. Bach can be intimidating by its structural nit-pickings. Wikipedia, for example, cites BWV 847 in C minor, (the Fugue) as a model of internal order, with a carefully marked out Subject;  Answer (a fifth… Continue reading Getting immersed in LEARNING Bach’s F minor Fugue, BWV 881 (Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2)

high school reunion, NYC High School of Performing Arts, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten

My NYC High School of Performing Arts Reunion!

Saturday, June 6th Performing Arts High (FAME I'm gonna live forever!) Reunion! A first for me that was worth a crowded subway ride to the heart of Times Square plus a zesty walk through throngs of tourists. While I missed class photo shoots, I managed a pose with conductor, Gerard Schwarz before I sauntered over… Continue reading My NYC High School of Performing Arts Reunion!

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Stay LONGER with a piece for higher levels of learning and awareness

All too often piano students give up on a piece after so many weeks of exposure, thinking the fingering is settled, the beats are well-measured, and the notes have fallen into place. At this juncture, a Big STOP SIGN must impede the restless from plunging into a new musical journey despite their belief that the… Continue reading Stay LONGER with a piece for higher levels of learning and awareness

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An afternoon with piano student, Judy and her Steinway ‘A,’ in nature’s paradise

How many piano teachers are invited to a student's lakeside home nestled in verdant beauty?! It was a splendid display of trees, including pines, cedars, spruce, casuarina, maples, birches, poplar, locusis, and sycamores, as well as native oaks. River otters, deer, and exotic birds, such as egrets and herons are known to inhabit an awe-inspired… Continue reading An afternoon with piano student, Judy and her Steinway ‘A,’ in nature’s paradise