piano, piano blog, piano blog by Shirley Kirsten, piano mentoring

Anti-boredom formula=Daily, attentive, patient, layered practicing

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

phrasing, phrasing at the piano, pianists, piano, piano instruction, piano learning

What you Learn by Teaching Piano

I was inspired by the sagacious words of Peter Takacs, Oberlin Conservatory piano faculty member, in response to a query by Zsolt Bognar. (Living the Classical Life interview) Zsolt: "Should a pianist teach?" (I was a bit surprised by a question that sowed doubt about the endeavor of mentoring--as if it proliferated the weak cliche… Continue reading What you Learn by Teaching Piano

piano, piano blog, piano teaching, piano teaching philosophy

Two Piano Teachers on common ground with a Bi-Coastal twist

A few years ago, I received an instant message from piano teacher, Gail Trattner Isenberg, a member of FACEBOOK's Art of Piano Pedagogy group and an avowed blog follower. Though we'd been "distant" cyber contacts, linked by common URLs, Gail's text that bubbled with enthusiasm in its introduction, had rapidly erupted into a full blown… Continue reading Two Piano Teachers on common ground with a Bi-Coastal twist

Claude Achille Debussy, pianoforte, pianos

Debussy framed articles and videos enrich our study

It's always a blissful coincidence when a piano teacher discovers a wealth of contemporary commentary about a composer whose music is under study in a partnered learning environment. With a framing introduction about the creator, a mentor and pupil can journey beyond details of notation, fingering, harmony, to absorb context, history, and varying compositional approaches… Continue reading Debussy framed articles and videos enrich our study

Direct Pedaling, piano pedaling, Preliminary Pedaling, Syncopated pedaling

Piano Teachers and Pedaling

In the cosmos of pedaling, where the "soul of the piano" is explored, I asked a few teachers about when and how they introduce students to the use of the sustaining or damper pedal. Definition of Terms: https://www.pianocub.com/blog/3-piano-pedal-techniques-you-need-to-know Legato/Syncopated Pedal "In legato pedaling, the sustain pedal is pressed down after a note or chord has… Continue reading Piano Teachers and Pedaling

adult piano studies, adult piano teaching, attentive listening, blogging, blogging about piano, piano

Theory and Harmonic Analyses serve musical expression

Theoretical analysis has been part of my personal immersion at the piano since I began studies at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. As a student enrolled in the the Music department, I had three years of Sight-singing/Ear training, extensive exposure to harmony and musical structure, all within a performance-centered curriculum. And… Continue reading Theory and Harmonic Analyses serve musical expression

executing trills, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog

Navigating Tricky Trills

Experimentation is central to piano learning in all its phases, including that which applies to the build-up of trills. Unfortunately, for many students engaged in such a learning process, rapid alternations of notes will often ignite instant panic and fear which tighten muscles, inhibiting a smooth flowing musical line. In some instances, the initial approach… Continue reading Navigating Tricky Trills