Looking back to my earliest piano lessons in an early 20th century townhouse attic space in the Bronx, off Kingsbridge Road, I recall my happiest moments floating through all white key melodies. It was a Diller-Quaile par duo journey with Mrs. Vinagradov, a very warm and encouraging Russian teacher, who sang line by line lyrics… Continue reading Navigating those skinny black keys without fear!
With space shrinking in what I affectionately call my "pod," I'm parting with my nightingale singing Baldwin that's sister to a neighboring Steinway. Sitting pretty at 5'5," its voice swims around a room inundated with computers, an elliptical, a digital keyboard, and hoards of Urtext editions. The moment has arrived, therefore, to acquire well-needed breathing… Continue reading Time to size down to one grand piano!
Coming back to a composition that has personal practicing phases, combined with teaching experiences assists in choosing sequences of pieces for students. In the cosmos of Chopin Waltzes, I discern a consecutive study relationship between the A minor Waltz, No. 19, Op. Posthumous and the B minor Waltz, Op. 69, no. 2. The B minor… Continue reading Picking a second Chopin Waltz for an Intermediate level student
It's always valuable to revisit a process of growing a composition to full potential, keeping in mind that self-imposed progress deadlines are in opposition to a non-judgmental, self-accepting learning environment. In this regard, it's not how long it takes to gain control of technical/expressive dimensions of a piece, but rather, the quality of the steps… Continue reading Learning how to Learn
This past week, shrinking degrees of musical separation led to an intersection of my own ideas about phrase shaping and pedaling with those of Schnabel, via his pupil, Eunice Norton. Norton's bio is capsulized at Graham Fitch's website, https://practisingthepiano.com/eunice-norton-schnabel-matthay/ "A student of both Schnabel and Matthay was American pianist Eunice Norton (1908 – 2005). She… Continue reading The Shallow pedal, Shaping lines, and links to Artur Schnabel, Tobias Matthay
Since being launched into the cosmos of Online Teaching by an Australian inquiring about lessons, (2010), I have gone well beyond rudimentary Face Time and Skype transmissions. What has evolved from this student's bestowal of a gratis Logitech webcam, is a wider application of technology within the piano learning environment. Pupils (whether Online or in… Continue reading Technology in the Piano Studio
I took a short walk to my student's place to check out his new Descattiati model 810 Hydraulic. It's not a sports car by any stretch of the imagination, but a piston-packed piano bench that has a vector design that gently nudges the player forward. Without doubt, it's the best reminder, absent the shadow of… Continue reading The Highs and Lows of a Hydraulic piano bench