I never would have anticipated that my Dover bound collection of Grieg's Complete Lyric pieces for piano, would contain a tender morsel that hearkened back to a Spring Dance Concert presented at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. The school, known as FAME, immortalized by a long running TV series, and big… Continue reading An Edvard Grieg Lyric piece stirs up High School memories
Many piano students who practice Debussy's Arabesque no. 1 tend to grab and articulate notes, rather than let them flow from energy streaming down relaxed arms into supple wrists. Reliance on fingers-down playing becomes the panacea for accuracy, while it sacrifices poetic musical expression. In the video below, I demonstrate how phrases can be sculpted… Continue reading Piano Technique: Playing beyond the fingers to sculpt beautiful phrases (Debussy Arabesque no. 1)
I was thinking of Palmer's edition of Chopin, an Introduction to His Music, and when I first purchased it years ago there was no inserted CD of recorded selections contained in the album. With subsequent published editions, a CD popped into an envelope, beckoning a player to sample another pianist's interpretation of music he had… Continue reading Should piano students listen to recorded performances of pieces they are first beginning to learn?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFObHOAwNV0 Over a period of three weeks, seven year old Fritz, who'd been taking piano lessons for about 7 months, composed a piece that he titled, "Finding Gold." The student has been using Faber Primer Piano Adventures, with my inserted modifications. He warmed up this past Monday with Lesson Book p. 24, C-D-E-F-G March transposed… Continue reading Piano Lesson: Fritz, Age 7, performs his composed piece, “FINDING GOLD” (Video)
A lake, ducks, geese, and Bach's Prelude no. 1 from the Well Tempered Clavier..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CitNt-sUbOE Backdrop: Oso De Oro Park in Fresno, California. Producers and photographers, Shirley Kirsten and Aviva Kirsten Capturing nature's flow with a hand held video camera. Oso de Oro Park http://fresnofloodcontrol.org/parks/Oso%20de%20Oro%20Park/oso_oro_park.html Sloan Johnson Oso de Oro Lake Park "Since opening in… Continue reading Bach to Nature: A Paradise of Images Wedded to Music
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpiMAaPTze8 When surfing the Net, I came across an enticing video link that led to a potpourri of outstanding pianists who hallmarked the 20th Century. Ten minutes into a lengthy You Tube offering, I was bowled over by the artistry of Josef Hofmann who played Rachmaninoff's austere C# minor prelude like I'd never heard it.… Continue reading The Artistry of Josef Hofmann, a Great Pianist of the 20th Century
I remember Art Linkletter's show, "Kids Say the Darndest Things," which made me think of a few adult piano students and their hauntingly memorable words. Yesterday, for example, I was forewarned by a 70-year old pupil, that I should expect a call from her during the night about the key of "F# minor." What impending… Continue reading Adult piano students say and do the darndest things.
Scale practicing examples: https://youtu.be/SJGbnFQB8L8 https://youtu.be/Bo1ptHbMu9M https://youtu.be/W3N_9Me7hXQ *** The Backdrop: As a young piano student living in New York City, I remember my reluctance to prepare a mandatory scale each week for my lesson. In fact my first teacher had so many students, she always seemed to forget the scale she had assigned to me, so… Continue reading Why Play Scales?
For too long performance anxiety was a taboo subject, always swept under the rug. I remember grappling with paralyzing jitters during my years at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. My piano teacher at the time, a seasoned professional, would always say the same thing: "Honey, the music is bigger than you… Continue reading Performance Anxiety and the Pianist
I was deeply moved to have discovered the Marble Hill Reunion site which inspired my own cherished memories of the projects in the Bronx where I romped during my childhood and early adolescence. My family moved from Featherbed Lane near Tremont Avenue to Marble Hill when I was about four. It was quite a notch… Continue reading Rekindling Marble Hill memories, and a remarkable twist of fate