piano, piano lessons

Navigating those skinny black keys without fear!

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!

Baldwin

Time to size down to one grand piano!

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!

Chopin, piano, piano instruction, piano lesson

Picking a second Chopin Waltz for an Intermediate level student

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

Ludwig Van Beethoven, piano, Seymour Benstein

Seymour Bernstein’s legendary Op. 111 (Beethoven)

In our 21st Century digital age of Mp4s, CD's, You Tube channeled uploads, and live-streamed recitals, it's a wonder that a performer can bridge the distance from his audience and move listeners to heights of emotional ecstasy. One such exemplary performance of Beethoven's Op. 111, delivered through a modest recorder placed beside Vladimir Horowitz's piano,… Continue reading Seymour Bernstein’s legendary Op. 111 (Beethoven)

piano

A Successful Piano Finding Journey for an adult student (Video)

Two days of intensive piano evaluating produced a lovely outcome. It was a partnered teacher/pupil journey through aisles of Kawai, Yamaha, and Baldwin verticals, playing and replaying them-- comparing responses to voicing, tactile/touch tone, pedal/no pedal trials through lowest to highest octaves. Our duo team effort elicited a patient, interactive stream of responses: Teacher: "This… Continue reading A Successful Piano Finding Journey for an adult student (Video)

piano, piano blog, piano blog by Shirley Kirsten, piano technique

Practicing Contrary Motion Scales (Video tutorial)

I often use scales played in opposite directions to reinforce posture and the body's ability to lean in either direction toward the highest or lowest octave without bench wandering, or dizzying head movements. Since the third octave in these excursions is not within eye range, the advantage of a pull toward the keyboard, (even without… Continue reading Practicing Contrary Motion Scales (Video tutorial)

phrasing, piano, piano blog, piano blog by Shirley Kirsten, piano instruction, Uncategorized

Beauty in Simplicity: Robert Schumann’s “Melody” No. 1

Schumann's Album for the Young opens with an ethereal duet that meanders through heart-rending harmonies by its seamless flow of broken intervals and chords in the lower line. (The bass is intentionally composed in an alto range, and read in the left hand with a second treble clef, bringing the duet to poignance by its… Continue reading Beauty in Simplicity: Robert Schumann’s “Melody” No. 1