tutorial

Domenico Scarlatti and trills!

What would our precious Domenico be without his Baroque era adornments, embedded trills, heart-throbbing melodies in gypsy, folkloric framing! And who can overlook the flamenco guitar, rhythmic castanets and tambourines in full keyboard orchestration under Portuguese and Spanish royal influence. Yet the very first Scarlatti sonata given to me by my beloved NYC mentor, Lillian… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti and trills!

piano repertoire, piano repertoire for the beginning student

Delightful “Primary” Level Repertoire for Teachers and Students

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

piano, piano pedagogy

Piano posture, keyboard transit, floating arms and more

Our Bodies and the Piano might be a Millennial companion to Our Bodies, Ourselves. It can take the subject of our physical relationship to the pianoforte out of closeted neglect. If we turn back the clock to our earliest lessons, perhaps few of us can recall specific directions or advice about how to sit at… Continue reading Piano posture, keyboard transit, floating arms and more

piano, piano instruction

Piano Lessons: Meeting a student’s individual needs

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

piano lesson, piano lesson by Face Time, piano lesson by Skype

Computer crashes and recovery!

There's nothing like a Big Mac blitz of pulsating pixels in checkered, multi-colored patterns, building to an eye-catching display of blinking lights that forewarns of a computer shutdown. A lyrical Schumann tableau, Face time streamed from Australia, becomes muted by a choir of cackling parakeets whose primal sense of impending doom is on full screen… Continue reading Computer crashes and recovery!

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