Claude Debussy, piano

Teaching the Language of Debussy in Reverie

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

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

Burgmuller, Friedrich Burgmuller

How to stay calm in the Eye of “The Storm”- Practicing Burgmuller’s L’Orage, Op. 109, No. 13

Most piano students are familiar with Friedrich Burgmuller's set of Twenty-Five Easy and Progressive Studies, Op. 100, that are tasteful Romantic era miniatures with appealing programmatic titles. "Tender Flower," "The Little Party," and "The Wagtail," to name a few, are far from dripping with the excesses that one might encounter in the manuscripts of Romantic… Continue reading How to stay calm in the Eye of “The Storm”- Practicing Burgmuller’s L’Orage, Op. 109, No. 13

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Schumann’s “Almost Too Serious” (Kinderszenen No. 10) requires get serious, step-wise practicing

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

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Exploring Mozart Sonata No. 5 in G, K. 283 (First movement, Allegro)

The learning exchange between student and teacher is heightened when a new piece is introduced. In the case of Mozart's charming, early period Sonata no. 5 in G, it became a revisit for me that brought new revelations that I shared during the course of weekly lessons. *** Mozart presents a challenge in capturing a… Continue reading Exploring Mozart Sonata No. 5 in G, K. 283 (First movement, Allegro)

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Applying technical skills to sensitive music learning, and reading between the lines

Just when I thought my wellspring of blog inspired ideas had endured a drought, I had a nagging thirst to explore how technical tools (playing scales, arpeggios, chords, octaves, etc) are woven into music study. Allied to this undertaking, was the idea of inferences and how we make certain decisions about phrasing, articulation, etc. based… Continue reading Applying technical skills to sensitive music learning, and reading between the lines

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Getting immersed in LEARNING Bach’s F minor Fugue, BWV 881 (Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2)

My journey through the Baroque master's Fugue no. 12 has been a labor of love though the form enshrined by J.S. Bach can be intimidating by its structural nit-pickings. Wikipedia, for example, cites BWV 847 in C minor, (the Fugue) as a model of internal order, with a carefully marked out Subject;  Answer (a fifth… Continue reading Getting immersed in LEARNING Bach’s F minor Fugue, BWV 881 (Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2)