Chopin, Frederic Chopin, phrasing at the piano, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano lessons, Shirley Kirsten

Phrasing at the Piano: Direction and Destination

Often I query my students about the "destination" and "direction" of phrases within a particular composition. Naturally, my questions are a reflection of a need to clarify what arrivals are significant in the transit of notes. Part of this exploration encompasses the awareness of sub-destinations that are on the way to the peak or climax… Continue reading Phrasing at the Piano: Direction and Destination

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Piano Pedagogy article by Byron Janis in the Wall Street Journal

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-power-of-pedagogy-1472507353 This latest piece on how to teach piano (creatively) is gathering attention far and wide, most notably as an eye-catching feature in the Wall Street Journal. And if I'm not mistaken, an article on the joys of returning to the piano as an adult accorded a similar flood of adulation and empathy in this… Continue reading Piano Pedagogy article by Byron Janis in the Wall Street Journal

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Stay LONGER with a piece for higher levels of learning and awareness

All too often piano students give up on a piece after so many weeks of exposure, thinking the fingering is settled, the beats are well-measured, and the notes have fallen into place. At this juncture, a Big STOP SIGN must impede the restless from plunging into a new musical journey despite their belief that the… Continue reading Stay LONGER with a piece for higher levels of learning and awareness

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Good phrasing: listen for the decay, and psyche out your piano

The theme of today's Online lesson beamed from North Carolina was following the decay of a note from the end of a phrase into the next measure with a thread of continuity. To have good conjunction between phrases one has to listen in two directions: from the before to the after, without forgetting the BEFORE.… Continue reading Good phrasing: listen for the decay, and psyche out your piano

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Adult Piano Instruction: Exploring weight transfer and supple wrist motions for improved phrase shaping

A new adult student is working on Beethoven's Sonatina in F, one of the composer's less played works, but nevertheless quite a musical gem. While the composition has a Mozartean flavor, the abrupt shift in dynamics in the opening theme, for example, offers a glimpse into Beethoven's later development of his larger Sonata form, where… Continue reading Adult Piano Instruction: Exploring weight transfer and supple wrist motions for improved phrase shaping

Mozart Andante K. 545, you tube.com

Harmonic rhythm awareness and blocking help phrasing

Besides having at least a rudimentary understanding of chord progressions, it's advantageous to be able to "sing" internally, or in full voice, as you accompany yourself through a cantabile movement. A good example, is the Andante of the supposedly "easy" (facile) Sonata of Mozart, K. 545, which is, to the contrary, a challenge to play… Continue reading Harmonic rhythm awareness and blocking help phrasing

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Facing the Music on FACETIME

  https://youtu.be/hFHhwQPP2Jw Burgmuller's "SORROW" received a BOOST on FACETIME where it was the PITS on SKYPE. The latter sometimes mimics jet landings with a whoosh sound, while an echo chamber effect causes unwanted tremolos. In this "FACE"-beamed environment, a formerly LIVE student who turned VIRTUAL, experienced a musical FACE-lift. With a new media spotlight, where… Continue reading Facing the Music on FACETIME

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Should a teacher demonstrate phrasing and interpretation for a student?

I asked a few piano teachers and a harpsichordist if they felt playing passages, phrases for a student was a viable way to teach, and why? Seymour Bernstein, author, With Your Own Two Hands, rendered a riveting opinion: "I have never taken a lesson with a pianist-teacher who didn’t demonstrate musical and technical points under… Continue reading Should a teacher demonstrate phrasing and interpretation for a student?

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The pianist as conductor, choreographer, and singer (Mozart Andante, Sonata in C Major, K. 545)

How to integrate the physical, emotional and singable when learning Mozart's Sonata in C Major, K. 545, Andante.

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Phrasing at the piano: Listening to the ends of notes as they flow into others

I've chosen Burgmuller's "Tender Flower" as the springboard to explore attentive listening and its relationship to phrasing. At the outset, the right moment to begin a piece is a challenge. The player has to experience the whole dimension of silence before a first note is played. That silence is not dead, but alive with cues… Continue reading Phrasing at the piano: Listening to the ends of notes as they flow into others