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Tchaikovsky’s “Harmonica Player” fits snugly between a Song and Dance

When I first stumbled upon "The Harmonic Player," No. 12, from Tchaikovsky's Op. 39 Children's Album, my first thought was, "Why on earth did the great composer include such tirelessly redundant music with an unimaginative harmonic scheme and belabored melody." For certain, as a stand-alone, it could be easily passed over--- dismissed as a throwaway… Continue reading Tchaikovsky’s “Harmonica Player” fits snugly between a Song and Dance

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My first day learning a new piece and what was accomplished (Video)

In keeping with my resolution to learn new music quickly but thoroughly, I've set out today's first experience with Tchaikovsky's colorful, "Winter Morning" (Op. 39, No. 2, Children's Album) to give students of piano, ideas surrounding their first encounter with a composition: how the physical, musical, cognitive and affective (emotional) dimensions of a work, can… Continue reading My first day learning a new piece and what was accomplished (Video)

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Favorite Tchaikovsky piano pieces and their pedagogical value

I made a promise to myself well before the New Year, that I would learn one new Tchaikovsky composition each day from the composer's Op. 39 Children's Album. (24 tableaux) Not that I'm recommending to piano students that they assimilate new music at lightning speed, but for me the challenge was to make a spurt… Continue reading Favorite Tchaikovsky piano pieces and their pedagogical value

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A fusion of art and music in The Magic Link: Piano Albums by Schumann and Tchaikovsky

Rada Bukhman, pianist, teacher, and fine artist, brings a wealth of talent to her latest undertaking. Her "infinite love affair between music and fine art" is the springboard for a journey through the related compositions of Robert Schumann and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Both composers produced colorful albums for the young that have a remarkable affinity… Continue reading A fusion of art and music in The Magic Link: Piano Albums by Schumann and Tchaikovsky

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Should a teacher demonstrate phrasing and interpretation for a student?

I asked a few piano teachers and a harpsichordist if they felt playing passages, phrases for a student was a viable way to teach, and why? Seymour Bernstein, author, With Your Own Two Hands, rendered a riveting opinion: "I have never taken a lesson with a pianist-teacher who didn’t demonstrate musical and technical points under… Continue reading Should a teacher demonstrate phrasing and interpretation for a student?

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Another musical treasure by Samuel Maykapar

(The above manuscript is sourced from Rada Bukhman's Discovering Color Behind the Keys: The Essence of the Russian School of Piano Playing) http://youtu.be/xfiO7uXk9CM "Waltz" is a charming composition worth every bit of baby-step practicing. While it looks easy on the surface, the pedaling carefully noted by the composer, is a significant challenge. It does not… Continue reading Another musical treasure by Samuel Maykapar

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A Russian composer’s colorful pieces with a strong teaching dimension

Native Russian, Samuel Maykapar (b.1867, d. 1938) composed a set of gorgeous, program-inspired pieces, that are carefully phrased, articulated, and fingered. The music is ear-catching in the spirit of Dimitri Kabalevsky and William Gillock as all three composers were highly expressive and imaginative within a pedagogical framing. Maykapar aims to teach an ebullient, crisp staccato… Continue reading A Russian composer’s colorful pieces with a strong teaching dimension