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Facebook puts Menahem Pressler center stage, practicing “with love.”

An encore tribute to Maestro Pressler caught my eye on FB's Art of Piano Pedagogy forum. Deborah Rambo Sinn, a fine musician and teacher in her own right posted "My violinist's interview" with the octogenarian plus ten. It was the perfect supplement to a 2012 blog that I'd dedicated to Menahem that resonates into the… Continue reading Facebook puts Menahem Pressler center stage, practicing “with love.”

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Capturing the first sunrise in our practicing and performing

I always ponder the process of learning a new piece and how I want to experience and re-experience a freshness that seems to come with my earliest exposure to the printed page. As I set out my fingering, isolate lines or voices, in a Bach Three Part invention, for example, or even within the Adagio… Continue reading Capturing the first sunrise in our practicing and performing

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Piano Gym: Routines that build technique (Videos)

In the Olympiad era, bespectacled piano teachers and their students are assumed to be lockouts, pouring over eclectic music manuscripts in sheltered studios of higher learning. We're viewed as eternal bench-warmers, leading sedentary lives; practicing archaic music for hours at a time in a monastic rhythm. But these are missperceptions. Most pianists are members of… Continue reading Piano Gym: Routines that build technique (Videos)

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Piano Technique: More wrist-forward rolling motion in Sonatina by Clementi Op. 36 no. 1 Vivace (Videos)

In two videos, I flesh out the need for a rolling forward wrist motion in playing the last movement of Clementi's well-known Sonatina in C, vivace. In addition, a 3/8 meter designation in rapid tempo requires the "feeling" of ONE impulse per measure not three. And this sense of ONENESS suggests CIRCLES of motion which… Continue reading Piano Technique: More wrist-forward rolling motion in Sonatina by Clementi Op. 36 no. 1 Vivace (Videos)

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A Fourth Skyped Piano Lesson with an 8-yr. old (Excerpts on two videos: supple wrist warm-ups and Chopin Waltz)

I set up two camcorders during today's piano lesson with the intention of capturing views from the teacher and student perspective. If I had more video-editing expertise I would have synchronized multiple tracks like ESPN does for its instant replays, etc. *** With modest video equipment, I recorded an 8-yr. old's 4th Skyped lesson of which… Continue reading A Fourth Skyped Piano Lesson with an 8-yr. old (Excerpts on two videos: supple wrist warm-ups and Chopin Waltz)

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Piano Technique: Spot Practicing a nagging E Major Arpeggio in Chopin’s Waltz No. 19 in A minor, Measures 21-24 (video)

Two of my students are studying this Waltz in A minor No. 19, and both have difficulty navigating the E Major Arpeggio, measures 21-24 with its eventual resolution to the A minor tonic. I don't believe playing this arpeggio smoothly has anything to do with hand size or physical stature of either student. One is… Continue reading Piano Technique: Spot Practicing a nagging E Major Arpeggio in Chopin’s Waltz No. 19 in A minor, Measures 21-24 (video)

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Summer Piano Lessons and Musical Progress

I used to believe that summer was a time to let go of piano lessons, to allow students a break from the tight schedule of weekly meetings during the school year. That was my perception until I slowly but surely realized how many holidays and Teacher institute breaks made September to June feel like 7… Continue reading Summer Piano Lessons and Musical Progress

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Piano Lessons and dropout rates: How the initial interview is better than a crystal ball

I've been eyeing the forums lately at Piano World, and a hot topic is why students drop out of lessons, some after only a few months. A related thread had jabber about a circulating statistic that level 2 method books took a significant marketplace nose dive. What could it mean? I looked into my crystal… Continue reading Piano Lessons and dropout rates: How the initial interview is better than a crystal ball

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Practicing “Flight of the Bumblebee” in slow tempo (Rachmaninoff Arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov)-Video

"Flight of the Bumblebee" was originally composed for orchestra. It was the Interlude of the opera, Legend of the Tsar Sultan (1900) by Rimsky-Korsakov. According to the plot, a prince becomes a bee and stings his villainous relatives. The piece has been arranged many times over for various instruments including the piano. The edition that… Continue reading Practicing “Flight of the Bumblebee” in slow tempo (Rachmaninoff Arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov)-Video

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Piano Instruction: Avoiding a Crash and Burn in Fast Tempo (Video)

One of my adult students asked about how to stay in control when playing fast passages on the piano. She had found herself stumbling in brisk tempos, getting anxious, over-crowding the notes, and finally becoming so tangled up that she had to stop. The music essentially came to a grinding halt. My advice to her,… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Avoiding a Crash and Burn in Fast Tempo (Video)