With one big eyeful of Friedrich Burgmuller's "La Candeur" (Frankness), one observes repetitious strands of melody that can be stultified by a rigid 4/4 framing. The erroneous "study" or etude effect, furthered by a beat-hammering mentor, can thrust a struggling player into an inescapable auto-pilot zone Yet, the opening measures, with twin note groupings, can… Continue reading Repeated groups of notes, metrical framing, and phrase contouring
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
When my blog well runs dry, I have only to draw on a reservoir of wise words from pianist/teacher/author/composer, Seymour Bernstein. And if replenishment is an overarching need coupled with inspiration, this referenced interview provides both in bucketsful. Intro: In 2018 Seymour had the honor of being guest artist at the Young Artist World Piano… Continue reading Seymour Bernstein’s legacy to piano students and teachers
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
I posed the following question to six well-regarded pianists/teachers whose responses were varied and informative. "If after you have performed a concerto, or composition many times over, or if you are learning new repertoire, or are revisiting works in your recital repertoire, will you search for other performances on the concert stage, (or by CD)… Continue reading Should pianists consult performances of others to grow their learning process?
One of my students recommended a book by George Leonard that globalizes the idea of gaining Mastery in any field of endeavor through a love of "plateaus." (These are pauses in forward-moving progress that can either frustrate a learner, or motivate him to forge onward with an all-embracing love of the "journey.") The author begins… Continue reading Piano Study: Process not Mastery
The subject of reviewing pieces from a pianist's repertoire with the intent of considering new interpretations, whether subtle, or with bold strokes of tempo revision, mood, dynamics, etc. is part of a dynamic creative process. And with this particular focus on musical development and changes in perception, I probed Seymour Bernstein about his side-by-side you… Continue reading Revisiting pieces we have studied in the past