piano lesson, piano technique

Scales and Arpeggios are front and center with their telltale history of avoidance

It's inevitable that I'll introduce a technique-heavy blog with a time worn story about an authoritarian piano teacher who fist-drummed beats to my very shaky C Major scale. (I was 7) The only perk paired with the metronome mandatory, 4-octave lesson opener, was my being able to pick the latest scale practiced. (Without a hint… Continue reading Scales and Arpeggios are front and center with their telltale history of avoidance

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

piano, piano blogger, piano lessons, piano technique

Weaving threads of melody through W.A. Mozart, K. 545-Allegro

I've come full circle back to a "signature" piece that has grown over decades as I've worked with students discovering its many challenges. The so-called "facile" Sonata in C, K. 545, by W.A. Mozart that's quickly retrievable from my memory-labeled archive, is not "easily" dismissed as a thinly composed romp through C Major. With its… Continue reading Weaving threads of melody through W.A. Mozart, K. 545-Allegro

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 sonata, piano sonatas, piano study, piano teacher

Trills, Trills, Trills and how to practice them!

This week's post is, in part, a response to a Word Press inquiry about how to approach trills in Mozart's Sonata in F, K. 332. (Allegro) The measures under examination are those that lead toward the Development section with a modulation to the Dominant key of C Major. These same configured trills return at the… Continue reading Trills, Trills, Trills and how to practice them!

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

piano,, piano, piano teaching, piano playing, pianoforte

Playing with Imagination!

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!