Looking back to my earliest piano lessons in an early 20th century townhouse attic space in the Bronx, off Kingsbridge Road, I recall my happiest moments floating through all white key melodies. It was a Diller-Quaile par duo journey with Mrs. Vinagradov, a very warm and encouraging Russian teacher, who sang line by line lyrics… Continue reading Navigating those skinny black keys without fear!
Coming back to a composition that has personal practicing phases, combined with teaching experiences assists in choosing sequences of pieces for students. In the cosmos of Chopin Waltzes, I discern a consecutive study relationship between the A minor Waltz, No. 19, Op. Posthumous and the B minor Waltz, Op. 69, no. 2. The B minor… Continue reading Picking a second Chopin Waltz for an Intermediate level student
It's always valuable to revisit a process of growing a composition to full potential, keeping in mind that self-imposed progress deadlines are in opposition to a non-judgmental, self-accepting learning environment. In this regard, it's not how long it takes to gain control of technical/expressive dimensions of a piece, but rather, the quality of the steps… Continue reading Learning how to Learn
It was just over a week ago that I wrenched my back while heaving a hand-held, overloaded grocery basket onto the cashier counter. (not bending at the knees) Instantly, an internal alarm sounded as I faced the real challenge of making the one block walk home. For two years I held my back spasms in… Continue reading Back Slide, Back Pedal, Back in Business with home-based Back rehab
I often use scales played in opposite directions to reinforce posture and the body's ability to lean in either direction toward the highest or lowest octave without bench wandering, or dizzying head movements. Since the third octave in these excursions is not within eye range, the advantage of a pull toward the keyboard, (even without… Continue reading Practicing Contrary Motion Scales (Video tutorial)
With gratitude to our mentors who light a path of learning with love, inspiration, knowledge, commitment and enduring patience. *** SEYMOUR BERNSTEIN http://seymourbernstein.com/ https://youtu.be/k-XngqDcJdg My intent in teaching is to make the pupil better than they are by leading them through musical and technical obstacles and helping them find solutions right there at the lesson.… Continue reading Teaching approaches: Seymour Bernstein, Marianna Prjevalskaya and Karen Magruder
I'm always gratified to have a repository of progressive pieces that roll out smoothly from scale and arpeggio study to a universe of colorful, musical expression. Burgmuller's Op. 100 is such a learner rich album of 25 short works with infused choreographies that advance a musical/technical synthesis. "Arabesque," the second offering, is permeated by ascending… Continue reading Burgmuller’s Arabesque and Inquietude are teaching treasures