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Piano Instruction: Common student problems related to playing Clementi Sonatina, Op. 36, No. 3, Spiritoso (Video)

The student I'm currently teaching by Skype has received a number of supplemental videos from me that target problems universal to those learning Clementi Sonatina, Op. 36, No. 3. In this video, geared for teachers as well as students, I define areas in the first movement, Spiritoso, that need particular focus for improvement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_q_vUSLIDI As… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Common student problems related to playing Clementi Sonatina, Op. 36, No. 3, Spiritoso (Video)

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Piano Instruction: Attentive listening to the end of a note before playing the next (E minor arpeggio in TENTHS) Video

In the course of practicing an E minor Arpeggio, (E, G, B, E) in TENTHS (Right hand begins on G, finger no. 1) I reinforced the idea that listening attentively to the very end of a note before the next is played is an essential ingredient of beautiful phrasing and fluid playing. The video expands:… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Attentive listening to the end of a note before playing the next (E minor arpeggio in TENTHS) Video

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Piano Instruction: Teaching fluidity of motion, phrasing, and the singing tone, Ilyana, 8, plays “Firefly” (Video)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv5NVmKEN9w Approach: Plan with the student before the piece is played. Map out the dynamics, articulation, whether staccato, legato or a combination. (For tonality, where does piece come to rest?) Identify the "mood" of the piece. Translate sound images into physical motion. (as in the second page of "Firefly," rolling from Right hand to Left… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Teaching fluidity of motion, phrasing, and the singing tone, Ilyana, 8, plays “Firefly” (Video)

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Piano Instruction: Using the wrist to taper phrases

I've always believed that it's not enough to rely on fingers, or finger action alone, to play the piano expressively. For me, enlisting the wrist, and rolling into notes, especially those that are shaped down at the conclusion of phrases are recommended. In the attached video, I compare the progression of shorter notes to a… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Using the wrist to taper phrases

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Piano Instruction: Flexible wrist, rolling forward motion for shaping groups of notes in Burgmuller’s “Inquietude” (VIDEO)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEAm3TYmSIk I've chosen Burgmuller's E minor "Inquietude" (Restlessness) from the composer's Twenty-Five Progressive Pieces, to demonstrate a spring forward movement of the wrist used with groupings of three slurred 16th notes that permeate the selection. I also enlist syllables, "da-lee-dle" to assist with shaping the 3-note figures. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyzhVZJODn0 The Schirmer edition is below. I use… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Flexible wrist, rolling forward motion for shaping groups of notes in Burgmuller’s “Inquietude” (VIDEO)

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Eurhythmics, A Whole Body Listening Experience (Video)

I took a Eurhythmics class at Oberlin taught by a magical, mystical, musically in touch woman named Inda Howland who was a student of Jacques Dalcroze. Barefoot, wearing a native Indian garment–embracing an exotic percussion instrument from Bali as her trademark, she entered our classroom as a spry, sagacious woman in her 60′s. As she… Continue reading Eurhythmics, A Whole Body Listening Experience (Video)

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The Art of Phrasing at the Piano: Starting the process with Beginners (Videos)

For some unexplained reason, my earliest piano studies never included the art of phrasing. My primer teacher stressed naming notes, finding them, affixing correct fingering and counting out robotic beats. I knew nothing about feeling a melodic landscape; putting the vocal model center stage in my playing, and breathing through contoured musical lines. My pieces… Continue reading The Art of Phrasing at the Piano: Starting the process with Beginners (Videos)