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Van Cliburn’s Tchaikovsky No. 1 concerto revisited

Van Cliburn's named popped up on one of the piano forums. Would he have made the same formidable impression in today's Moscow Competition as he did in 1958? The answer is simply YES, and resurrecting a flashback of his winning performance sheds light on how and why his Tchaikovsky 1, at least for me, stands… Continue reading Van Cliburn’s Tchaikovsky No. 1 concerto revisited

learning a new piano piece, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano learning, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Tchaikovsky

Early stage learning, and ways of knowing a new piano piece

One of my adult students has embarked upon studying Tchaikovsky's "German Song," Op. 39, and in her initial baby-step exposure to the composition, she has already explored multiple ways of "knowing" the work. http://youtu.be/ocd8Ci0Ny_E http://youtu.be/iEfP45vQIqs 1) Setting a fingering for each hand, and counting beats through each measure in a sub-divided way (within a slow… Continue reading Early stage learning, and ways of knowing a new piano piece

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Tchaikovsky’s “Harmonica Player” fits snugly between a Song and Dance

When I first stumbled upon "The Harmonic Player," No. 12, from Tchaikovsky's Op. 39 Children's Album, my first thought was, "Why on earth did the great composer include such tirelessly redundant music with an unimaginative harmonic scheme and belabored melody." For certain, as a stand-alone, it could be easily passed over--- dismissed as a throwaway… Continue reading Tchaikovsky’s “Harmonica Player” fits snugly between a Song and Dance

Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, youtube.com

Tchaikovsky’s “Mama” gives double messages

"Mama" is a lyrically spun out tableau evoking the endearing, universally loving mother, but as many can attest, moms may often send out double messages. In Tchaikovsky's Op. 39, Children's Album, MAMA has number 4 status among 24 beautifully descriptive pieces, and with its remarkable dualism, in parallel tenths between the soprano (top line) and… Continue reading Tchaikovsky’s “Mama” gives double messages

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, piano technique, Shirley Smith Kirsten, velocity in piano playing

Piano Instruction: On the way to Velocity, doing the groundwork (Video)

When faced with a composition in Presto tempo, it's best to practice slowly, preferably separate hands, (at first) to secure a good fingering, understand HARMONIC flow (or progressions) and piece out the phrasing, that encompasses articulation and dynamics. In my own baby-step maiden journey this evening through Tchaikovsky's "Baba Yaga" (The Witch), Op. 39, No.… Continue reading Piano Instruction: On the way to Velocity, doing the groundwork (Video)

Piano Street

My first day learning a new piece and what was accomplished (Video)

In keeping with my resolution to learn new music quickly but thoroughly, I've set out today's first experience with Tchaikovsky's colorful, "Winter Morning" (Op. 39, No. 2, Children's Album) to give students of piano, ideas surrounding their first encounter with a composition: how the physical, musical, cognitive and affective (emotional) dimensions of a work, can… Continue reading My first day learning a new piece and what was accomplished (Video)

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Favorite Tchaikovsky piano pieces and their pedagogical value

I made a promise to myself well before the New Year, that I would learn one new Tchaikovsky composition each day from the composer's Op. 39 Children's Album. (24 tableaux) Not that I'm recommending to piano students that they assimilate new music at lightning speed, but for me the challenge was to make a spurt… Continue reading Favorite Tchaikovsky piano pieces and their pedagogical value