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've come to realize after decades of teaching, that one size does not fit all--meaning, there's no full proof curriculum design that applies across the board to students who come to the studio with varying strengths and challenges. (I omit the characterization of "weak"--ness, even if it demands a time-honored pairing with its potent opposite)… Continue reading Piano Lessons: Meeting a student’s individual needs
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
As teachers, and eternal students of the piano, we often have epiphanies that are worth jotting down at peak moments of enlightenment. Certain words, attached to insights that spring up in the course of lessons become thematic, resonating beyond a particular composition under study. To this effect, over months and years, I've heard myself redundantly… Continue reading Piano Playing time zones: Past, Present, and Future
Many students complain about getting stuck at junctures of scales, or in the midst of passagework in a variety of pieces. As mentor, having observed these glitches from an objective distance over cyber or through person-to-person contact at my studio, I've concluded that note-to-note "vertical" playing can snatch continuity from the mind down to the… Continue reading Piano Practicing: Phrasing in Groups of notes
Over decades of teaching children from beginners to advanced levels, I've been struck by those who progress over a lengthy period due to their focused, disciplined, and organized practicing. Each encounter at lessons becomes for them, an awakening, reinforced by deeper probing. If a pupil is willing to partner in such a journey where a… Continue reading Anti-boredom formula=Daily, attentive, patient, layered practicing
Lately, I've been imbuing lessons with the word "imagination" particularly as it has applied to short pictorial works by Enrique Granados. Yet, drawing on the imagination crosses historical periods of musical composition, not limited to 19th Century "expressive" Romanticism and well beyond. In this vein, J.S. Bach Preludes, Fugues, movements from the French and English… Continue reading Playing with Imagination!