adult beginner piano students, adult instruction

Piano Student: “I don’t know what I want to hear?”

A commonly registered concern among my brood of adult students circumscribes an uncertainty about phrasing and overall musical expression. Many don't trust their native musical instincts as they might apply to practicing fledgling pieces that are in early stage development. Yet a good sample of these self-doubters often have a natural inclination to shape lines… Continue reading Piano Student: “I don’t know what I want to hear?”

piano, piano blog, piano instruction, piano scales

Two-timing scale practice

I appreciate two-timing piano students who practice their scales with acutely sensitive ears. They are made keenly aware of what it takes to repeat a faulty step-wise sequence that's been thrown out of rhythmic alignment along a 4-octave route. (Auditory memory is a vital ingredient through repetitions that require retrieval of a consistent underlying pulse.)… Continue reading Two-timing scale practice

piano, piano blog, piano blogging, playing scales in staccato, Shirley Kirsten, staccato, staccato scales

Piano Technique: Soft staccato scales with projection, springboard energy, resilience, and shape

One of the biggest weaknesses that present in soft dynamic range staccato scales, is a lack of projection. Students often snuff out notes, play them in a whisper without a tenacious spring UP character, or a necessary rebound effect from note to note. Instead, they become inhibited and constrained. Yet even at the Forte level,… Continue reading Piano Technique: Soft staccato scales with projection, springboard energy, resilience, and shape

eurhythmics, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano technique

Piano Technique: Working with the character of rhythms

It's easy to assess a student's difficulty with navigating scales in progressive tempo framings from quarters to 8th notes to 16ths, etc. as being the result of shortcomings in rhythmic perception, when a larger cosmos of awareness is lacking. I think immediately of the Eurhythmics course I took at the Oberlin Conservatory, taught by the… Continue reading Piano Technique: Working with the character of rhythms

Claude Debussy, Debussy, piano blog

Reviewing Debussy’s Arabesque 1 with its Impressionist palette

It's been years since I learned Claude Debussy's coloristic Arabesque No. 1, so my recent revisit was a reminder of how a solid learning foundation can deepen a musical reconnection. Reviewing an "old" piece brings a renewed opportunity to delve into its character, form, structure, harmonic flow, phrasing, etc. while keeping an open mind about… Continue reading Reviewing Debussy’s Arabesque 1 with its Impressionist palette

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A musical journey through a Chopin Waltz in glowing terms

A particular composition that's explored during a piano lesson can afford a multifaceted examination of phrasing. In this beauty-seeking musical cosmos, no singular focus will necessarily supersede others. Instead, a panoply of framing cues or prompts can nourish well-shaped phrases and lines. As I uploaded a lesson video today, I found myself summarizing a journey… Continue reading A musical journey through a Chopin Waltz in glowing terms

piano, piano blog

Piano Pedagogy article by Byron Janis in the Wall Street Journal

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-power-of-pedagogy-1472507353 This latest piece on how to teach piano (creatively) is gathering attention far and wide, most notably as an eye-catching feature in the Wall Street Journal. And if I'm not mistaken, an article on the joys of returning to the piano as an adult accorded a similar flood of adulation and empathy in this… Continue reading Piano Pedagogy article by Byron Janis in the Wall Street Journal