I find myself reconnecting with my late teacher, Lillian Freundlich, when I borrow her approach to scale development. In this undertaking, she would always check my wrists and elbows through note groupings that were ignited by a basic roll-in energy. A scale could not start with a bang, but instead, it had a smooth, slope-like… Continue reading Piano Technique: Building scales to speed and fluency
There's nothing like a Big Mac blitz of pulsating pixels in checkered, multi-colored patterns, building to an eye-catching display of blinking lights that forewarns of a computer shutdown. A lyrical Schumann tableau, Face time streamed from Australia, becomes muted by a choir of cackling parakeets whose primal sense of impending doom is on full screen… Continue reading Computer crashes and recovery!
I'm the first to admit that not every learning journey through a particular composition will produce results we might have hoped for. After weeks or even months of methodical practicing in baby steps, we can find ourselves literally over a barrel, wading through ornaments, for example, that are crystal clear in slow tempo, but suffer… Continue reading Practicing Challenging Pieces: If we’re over a barrel, we can still learn something valuable
Often a posted comment about a You Tube video inspires a blog topic that is of interest to pianists and teachers. One such public addition to my Channel quickly streamed into a comparison between two well-known compositions in the piano repertoire. The commenter was asking about the grade "level" of Debussy's The Girl with the… Continue reading Sound imagination and tactile, tonal expression at the piano for diverse compositional eras
I appreciate two-timing piano students who practice their scales with acutely sensitive ears. They are made keenly aware of what it takes to repeat a faulty step-wise sequence that's been thrown out of rhythmic alignment along a 4-octave route. (Auditory memory is a vital ingredient through repetitions that require retrieval of a consistent underlying pulse.)… Continue reading Two-timing scale practice
Needless repetitions that are unfocused, without attaching an analysis of what requires improvement will impede a piano student in the advancement of a composition. And while a tricky, isolated passage or complete section of a piece may have been carefully learned by layers in slow tempo, the very same area of the piece can develop… Continue reading The Importance of Analytical Practicing
I couldn't resist juxtaposing the importance of learning new and challenging music with an "eye" toward how we can best accomplish our short and long-term goals within our teaching milieu. (The EYE metaphor becomes CLEARER and dual serving as the posting progresses.) *** So many music teachers have a tight schedule of back-to-back students that… Continue reading Keeping up our skills as piano teachers, with an “eye” to taking on challenges