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Mirrors and piano playing

As we age, we're reluctant to look at our reflection in the mirror, but as we grow over time as musicians, the mirror of our playing in recorded "reflections" can foster quality adjustments in phrasing and interpretation. If we nudge ourselves to step back and be "objective" about what we're hearing, we may try to… Continue reading Mirrors and piano playing

adult piano instruction, imagination, mental imagery, piano blog, piano lessons

Imagination and mental imagery in the piano learning environment

It shouldn't be the same old five-finger warm-ups and scales without an infusion of emotion/imagination. That's why I decided to experiment and have two adult students communicate a juxtaposed shift of mood between a MAJOR penta-scale (five-finger position) and its companion parallel minor. Neither pupil expected to be asked to raise five step-wise notes to… Continue reading Imagination and mental imagery in the piano learning environment

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Piano Technique: Playing beyond the fingers to sculpt beautiful phrases (Debussy Arabesque no. 1)

Many piano students who practice Debussy's Arabesque no. 1 tend to grab and articulate notes, rather than let them flow from energy streaming down relaxed arms into supple wrists. Reliance on fingers-down playing becomes the panacea for accuracy, while it sacrifices poetic musical expression. In the video below, I demonstrate how phrases can be sculpted… Continue reading Piano Technique: Playing beyond the fingers to sculpt beautiful phrases (Debussy Arabesque no. 1)

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The most popular blog explores piano teacher/student relationships

I've been aware that this particular writing seems to touch a nerve, or strikes a chord of recognition among piano teachers, parents and students: https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/pulls-and-tugs-two-sides-to-the-studentteacher-piano-lesson-relationship/ It's only rival in popularity on my roster has been "Funeral for a Cracked Plate," a real life soap opera about a piano buyer who slipped up by ordering a… Continue reading The most popular blog explores piano teacher/student relationships

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Piano Instruction: Learning from our colleagues (Videos)

Since we are very isolated as piano teachers, nurturing one-to-one relationships with our students for months and years at a time, we sometimes forget that there are other teaching universes beyond our own with repositories of ideas that may enrich the learning environment. One example, is the cosmos of Irina Gorin's studio in Indiana. I've… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Learning from our colleagues (Videos)

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I could write a book titled PIANODRAMA

First I thought about Pianorama, which would be a catchy title describing a marathon of student performances sponsored by a local Music Teachers Association. In fact years ago we had one of these in Fresno, where I used to teach. But for all intents and purposes, Pianodrama comes closer to the truth about the life… Continue reading I could write a book titled PIANODRAMA

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A Piano Room with a View

I thought of E.M. Forster's novel as an inspiration for this blog, but "The Hills are alive with the Sound of Music" would have more aptly described what I was writing about. Every week, a breathtaking view of the El Cerrito Hills streams into my piano room through an open, maple-paneled door. Depending on the… Continue reading A Piano Room with a View