With one big eyeful of Friedrich Burgmuller's "La Candeur" (Frankness), one observes repetitious strands of melody that can be stultified by a rigid 4/4 framing. The erroneous "study" or etude effect, furthered by a beat-hammering mentor, can thrust a struggling player into an inescapable auto-pilot zone Yet, the opening measures, with twin note groupings, can… Continue reading Repeated groups of notes, metrical framing, and phrase contouring
What would our precious Domenico be without his Baroque era adornments, embedded trills, heart-throbbing melodies in gypsy, folkloric framing! And who can overlook the flamenco guitar, rhythmic castanets and tambourines in full keyboard orchestration under Portuguese and Spanish royal influence. Yet the very first Scarlatti sonata given to me by my beloved NYC mentor, Lillian… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti and trills!
A few years ago, I recorded a set of the most charming tableaux from Alexandre Tansman's Pour Les Enfants, thinking the composer had surely reached a peak of immeasurable poetic expression in his "Very Easy" volume 1. In truth, the contents could not be described in such Primer-like terms, because each miniature had built-in technical… Continue reading Delightful “Primary” Level Repertoire for Teachers and Students
I'm reluctant to compare the rise of younger and younger athletes to Olympiad performance levels with pyrotechnic displays of pianistic virtuosity at the Cliburn International Junior Competition, but we're witnessing an era of precocious technical development in our piano playing universe. Just perusing a set of filmed profiles that are featured lead-in's to 23 Preliminary… Continue reading A bedazzling Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition 2019!
When my blog well runs dry, I have only to draw on a reservoir of wise words from pianist/teacher/author/composer, Seymour Bernstein. And if replenishment is an overarching need coupled with inspiration, this referenced interview provides both in bucketsful. Intro: In 2018 Seymour had the honor of being guest artist at the Young Artist World Piano… Continue reading Seymour Bernstein’s legacy to piano students and teachers
Our Bodies and the Piano might be a Millennial companion to Our Bodies, Ourselves. It can take the subject of our physical relationship to the pianoforte out of closeted neglect. If we turn back the clock to our earliest lessons, perhaps few of us can recall specific directions or advice about how to sit at… Continue reading Piano posture, keyboard transit, floating arms and more
One of my students recommended a book by George Leonard that globalizes the idea of gaining Mastery in any field of endeavor through a love of "plateaus." (These are pauses in forward-moving progress that can either frustrate a learner, or motivate him to forge onward with an all-embracing love of the "journey.") The author begins… Continue reading Piano Study: Process not Mastery