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Centering the beat for cohesion in scale playing

"...No matter what the mood to be conveyed, or how sensitive the playing, it is the rhythm that binds the expression." Mildred Portney Chase, Just Being at the Piano Most students, including myself, sometimes find ourselves running away from our initially centered, fundamental beat through scales, which causes an uncomfortable disruption of the phrase. And… Continue reading Centering the beat for cohesion in scale playing

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Capturing the rocking motion of Mendelssohn’s F# minor Venetian Boat Song

In Felix Mendelssohn's Op. 30, No. 6 Gondola Song, the very character of the lilting motion is sustained in the Left Hand with a metrical awareness of Two beats per measure, not 6. The composition (from the Songs Without Words album) is in 6/8 but translated as duple compound, giving a leaning emphasis on the… Continue reading Capturing the rocking motion of Mendelssohn’s F# minor Venetian Boat Song

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“Counting Correctly, but Playing Un-rhythmically”

“The habit of counting correctly but playing unrhythmically develops easily in the beginning and is too often overlooked.” – Richard Chronister (A Piano Teacher’s Legacy, Ed. Edward Darling) http://www.amazon.com/Teachers-Selected-Writings-Richard-Chronister/dp/0976116308 I love this quote, because many students count out beats quite methodically but without musical meaning. Their metrical repetitions serve little purpose if the goal of… Continue reading “Counting Correctly, but Playing Un-rhythmically”

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Piano Technique: Student/teacher echo exchanges stabilize rhythm and refine articulation

Of my favorite teaching strategies is bouncing warm-ups back and forth with students. We echo short phrases in legato and staccato as a form of rhythmic rehab. The recordings of these interactions become valuable practicing aids between lessons. Yesterday, an adult pupil and I had fun sharing E Minor/Major penta-scales and five-finger position thirds from… Continue reading Piano Technique: Student/teacher echo exchanges stabilize rhythm and refine articulation