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Piano Instruction: Using the wrist to taper phrases

I've always believed that it's not enough to rely on fingers, or finger action alone, to play the piano expressively. For me, enlisting the wrist, and rolling into notes, especially those that are shaped down at the conclusion of phrases are recommended. In the attached video, I compare the progression of shorter notes to a… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Using the wrist to taper phrases

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How long should a piano student stay with a piece?

As a teacher, I've often pondered this question, concluding that there are varying answers which depend on the advancement and motivation of individual students. Certainly no fixed formula addresses the length of time a pupil needs to fully realize his potential when practicing a given composition. By way of example, I have an adult student,… Continue reading How long should a piano student stay with a piece?

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Piano Instruction: Practicing the Schubert Impromptu in Gb, Op. 90 in Steps (4 videos)

It's obvious that I'm a novice at video editing now that I'm on my own, but I managed to put together 4 videos demonstrating a step-wise approach to practicing the Schubert Gb Major Impromptu. I parceled out voices beginning with the soprano (melody) and then continued to the bass and alto using blocking techniques. Fingering… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Practicing the Schubert Impromptu in Gb, Op. 90 in Steps (4 videos)

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Should a piano teacher be able to play pieces assigned to students?

This question, posed on numerous Internet piano forums, elicited varied opinions from teachers and students. One participant asked about Dorothy Delay, who taught some of the most celebrated violinists at the Juilliard School. When this esteemed mentor had reached an advanced age, would she have been able to demonstrate challenging technical passages for her pupils?… Continue reading Should a piano teacher be able to play pieces assigned to students?

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Captured and Not Yet Released! (Trials and tribulations of video editing and uploading)

Video segments, parts 2 and 3, that were bound for insertion in my last blog, remained in captivity with no specific timetable for release. Their capture was as easy as ABC, matching my Kindergarten level computer skills, but beyond this embryonic stage of development I was arrested. Rendition, rendering, and hands-on editing were beyond my… Continue reading Captured and Not Yet Released! (Trials and tribulations of video editing and uploading)

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The Emotionally Abusive Piano Teacher and Suggested Rehab

Over the years my ears have been pinned back by stories from students who experienced emotionally abusive teachers. One who transferred to my studio from another, described her head having been shoved into the music after striking a wrong note. In biographies of well-known performers, strands of anecdotes about foot-pounding, screaming master instructors remind readers… Continue reading The Emotionally Abusive Piano Teacher and Suggested Rehab

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The Piano Universe of Discussion Boards, Digital Feedback, and Self-analysis (Video)

I love to scan the Boards at Piano World, UK Forums, Piano Street, Piano Addict, and other stop-off points such as My Music Life Blogspot and Color in my Piano to get a feel for the concerns of piano students at all levels of study. This form of feedback that flows in and out of… Continue reading The Piano Universe of Discussion Boards, Digital Feedback, and Self-analysis (Video)

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How to Improve Sight-reading at the Piano

A universal complaint among piano students relates to sight-reading. They find themselves stumbling through the first playing of a brand new piece, not knowing if an end is in sight. The faltering, (wrong note, right note in treble and bass clefs) can keep a "reader" so contained in one measure at a time, if not… Continue reading How to Improve Sight-reading at the Piano

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Taking Piano Lessons: Skimming the surface or getting deeply involved?

I often think about a prevailing atmosphere of depersonalization these days fostered by cell phones, text messaging, being on the periphery of things, touching bases, not really getting deeply connected to any one subject. Social networking, video games, compulsive school testing, and a dearth of hands-on learning experiences keep many children at bay, floating from… Continue reading Taking Piano Lessons: Skimming the surface or getting deeply involved?

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Piano Instruction: Flexible wrist, rolling forward motion for shaping groups of notes in Burgmuller’s “Inquietude” (VIDEO)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEAm3TYmSIk I've chosen Burgmuller's E minor "Inquietude" (Restlessness) from the composer's Twenty-Five Progressive Pieces, to demonstrate a spring forward movement of the wrist used with groupings of three slurred 16th notes that permeate the selection. I also enlist syllables, "da-lee-dle" to assist with shaping the 3-note figures. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyzhVZJODn0 The Schirmer edition is below. I use… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Flexible wrist, rolling forward motion for shaping groups of notes in Burgmuller’s “Inquietude” (VIDEO)