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

piano, piano blog, piano instruction, piano lessons, piano practicing, piano teaching, slow piano practicing

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?

Chopin, Cyprien Katsaris, Fantasie-Impromptu, Frederic Chopin, piano instruction, piano teaching

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

blogmetrics, Chinese harp, Chopin, Chopin Concerto in F minor, Chopin Concerto no. 2, Daniil Trifonov, Erhu, Frederic Chopin, Guzheng, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, pianist, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, pianoforte, San Francisco Symphony, Shirley Kirsten, word press, you tube

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

Jewish New Year, music, piano blog, piano blogging, Ruth Rubin, Shirley Kirsten, Yiddish Songs, Yiddish Theater

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)