Facebook was abuzz with reminders of George Li's touchdown in the Bay Area's glittering Davies concert hall, a venue that absorbs a splash of pastel beams from the neighboring flagship government building. Glass panels reflect back montages of color that provide a rush of excitement for ticket holders slipping into seats right under the bell.… Continue reading A worthwhile Journey to George Li’s triumphant Davies Hall piano recital
Maeve, aka "Liz" was welcomed into the universe of music sharing in the beautiful Oakland Hills of California. What better backdrop, cloaked in nature, as breezes wafted through branches, shaking out leaves in graceful patterns. The images, extracted from the East Bay's gorgeous panorama are in Maeve's mental repository, as they feed relaxed energy down… Continue reading A Happy Day for a 9-yr. old piano student playing on her first recital
As mentors, we can easily recall our student days when well-practiced pieces tanked upon arrival at our piano teacher's home. Even ascending the staircase to the threshold of the apartment, our heart rate quickened, and we felt cold, clammy and faint. It was automatic over-drive for the first 20 minutes--an adrenaline crisis of magnitude. Yet… Continue reading Student: “I get so nervous when I play for you!” The Teacher responds!
Yesterday afternoon I found myself mentoring a student about the nuances of a composer's language and style in the Impressionist genre. Claude Debussy's Reverie, with its palette of blended colors was on display--naturally intoned in vowels rather than consonants, while its liquid phrases begged for supple wrist and relaxed arm infusions of energy. My pupil's… Continue reading Teaching the Language of Debussy in Reverie
Mentoring is a perfect complement to a life-long musical journey that includes practicing, growing repertoire, and accruing insights about the multi-dimensional aspects of artistic awareness. And what better way to enhance the development of a teacher, than to have a regular opportunity to assist students in their unique growth process. From our seat away from… Continue reading What we learn from our piano students
It's hard to believe how far "Liz" has come in her musical journey. With a half year's exposure to the piano, she composes, transposes, and approaches her practicing draped in the singing tone. In a repertoire-based phase of learning (with a primer method book tossed asunder) the student is embedded in relaxation techniques, with supple… Continue reading A nine-year-old Piano student at the six-month juncture of study
Berkeley, California boasts a repository of uniquely talented musicians some of whom have a wide array of interests and activities that elevate them to renaissance status. Bruce Loeb is one of those exceptionally diversified, high achievers with a C.V. to substantiate. His vast list of identities includes silent film accompanist, vocal coach, piano teacher, composer,… Continue reading Bruce Loeb: A Silent Film Accompanist and much more!
When I first looked at a "seriously" complex page of dizzying tied-over (syncopated) notes in Schumann's "Almost Too Serious," (Fast Zu Ernst) I had a knee-jerk avoidance response--that is until I tapped into a permeating melodic thread that I isolated and wooed from its conspicuous alliance to myriads of off beats. In other words, I… Continue reading Schumann’s “Almost Too Serious” (Kinderszenen No. 10) requires get serious, step-wise practicing
Awakenings alternately occur between teacher and student, especially if they're collectively open to them. And embracing this sharing spirit, I welcome ideas from pupils about phrasing, technique, etc. since we enjoy a common journey of discovery. By chance, one student brought a "new" fingering for his assigned D Major arpeggio in 10ths, and it worked so… Continue reading An Adult Piano Student teaches the Teacher
Did I expect a dental visit to UCSF on Parnassus to blossom into a Landmark expedition through the Embarcadero Business Center?! Why not? I'd caught a glimpse of Seymour an Introduction playing in close proximity to my #6 AC TRANSIT point of departure once I stepped off BART on Market Street in downtown San Francisco.… Continue reading A San Francisco Landmark and musical reunion!