piano, piano pedagogy

Piano posture, keyboard transit, floating arms and more

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

piano, piano blog, piano blog by Shirley Kirsten

Voice parceling in Schumann’s Kinderszenen, “Of Foreign Lands and People”

On first glance, most students will read down the page of Kinderszenen 1, Op. 15, enjoying a melodic flow, with only a passing interest in two additional voices. With this singular focus on the soprano line, the middle voice of relentless triplets can still inadvertently intrude upon the uppermost voice, as thumbs cross over from… Continue reading Voice parceling in Schumann’s Kinderszenen, “Of Foreign Lands and People”

piano lesson, piano technique

Piano Technique: Building scales to speed and fluency

I find myself reconnecting with my late teacher, Lillian Freundlich, when I borrow her approach to scale development. In this undertaking, she would always check my wrists and elbows through note groupings that were ignited by a basic roll-in energy. A scale could not start with a bang, but instead, it had a smooth, slope-like… Continue reading Piano Technique: Building scales to speed and fluency

phrasing, phrasing at the piano, piano

Phrase relationships: Questions and Answers

At my alma mater, Oberlin Conservatory, through a four year Theory course regimen, students were saturated with Antecedent and Consequent relationships. The pairing was readily explained as 4 measures of "Question" followed by 4 measures of "Answer." And lending support to such indoctrinated phrase SYMMETRY were harmonic underpinnings that bundled in a Half cadence of… Continue reading Phrase relationships: Questions and Answers

phrasing, phrasing at the piano, piano blog, piano instrucion, piano teaching, piano technique

Piano Technique: Weight transfer into the keys and voicing

The application of weight that's channeled into the keys through relaxed arms and supple wrists is an important ingredient of musical playing. It supports a variety of colors in "voicing" myriads of notes, while it increases attentive listening skills. Central to the "voicing" process are decisions made about what lines need drawing out, and how… Continue reading Piano Technique: Weight transfer into the keys and voicing

meter, phrasing, piano instuction, piano lessons

Thinking in One through a brisk 3/8 movement (Clementi)

My students continue to teach me as we move along at a pace that does justice to the unfolding of a work over time without a rush to destination. For each pupil the journey is different and varied, without definitive markers of absolute progress. Having said that, a movement that is brisk (as metaphor to… Continue reading Thinking in One through a brisk 3/8 movement (Clementi)

piano, piano blog, piano learning, piano study, piano teachers, piano teaching

Our self-made tutorials grow teaching skills

Ever since I embarked upon my very first lunge at globalizing my ideas over the Internet---devising a "chunking" strategy to play black key weighted scales B, F#, and C# Major, I realized that I was teaching myself while helping others. A "blocking" technique in its infancy, blossomed into more sophisticated analyses of how to approach… Continue reading Our self-made tutorials grow teaching skills