piano, piano lessons

Phrase variation and imagination

During a lesson today beamed to Scotland, my student presented an invaluable opportunity to explore phrase variants in Burgmuller's "Tarentelle," Op. 100, No. 20, with particular attention to imaginatively rendered mood shifts. This charming character piece has an abundance of repeats built into its fabric, with keen dynamic and emotional contrasts. Should the player conscientiously… Continue reading Phrase variation and imagination

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Don’t Choke through peak sections of a Chopin Nocturne

Many adult students get bent out of shape when a piece of "night music" blooms with "improvised," decorative passagework at peak expressive levels. Add in prolonged trills with lower notes tied (held down) leading to a decisive crescendo through a tricky chromatic scale, and many players will shrink from the challenge. They'll prefer to skip… Continue reading Don’t Choke through peak sections of a Chopin Nocturne

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No dumbing down piano study for adult students

I'm ready for a shower of criticism on this one. After all, some adults want their favorite transcription of the Elvira Madigan theme song, (aka Mozart's Concerto No. 21 in C, Andante) to encapsulate their musical journey---at least for part of the time. And that's OK if the transcription route of top ten, poorly transformed… Continue reading No dumbing down piano study for adult students

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A Big New York Debut Recital for Pianist, Marianna Prjevalskaya

After many international victories and a stash of prizes, honors and recital appearances flowing out of them, Marianna Prjevalskaya, will make her debut in New York City's cultural limelight. EVENT DETAILS "MARIANNA PRJEVALSKAYA, 2013 GOLD MEDALIST OF CINCINNATI WORLD PIANO COMPETITION, PERFORMS her debut recital at CARNEGIE HALL. (Weill Recital Hall) "The event, presented by… Continue reading A Big New York Debut Recital for Pianist, Marianna Prjevalskaya

Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, piano addict, Romantic era piano music

This Week’s Favorite You Tubes!

My first selection is a Juilliard graduation commencement address that's both grounded and inspiring. Joyce Di Donato, mezzo soprano, having received her honorary Doctorate resonates at the podium with wisdom and a touch humor--definitely worth sharing with a universe of musicians who can benefit from a perspective refresher and attitude-changer from time to time. http://youtu.be/qctdpdk-LhI… Continue reading This Week’s Favorite You Tubes!

Carnegie Hall, Rada Lupu, Shirley Smith Kirsten

4-hand piano prep and the joy of making music for two

I remember an astonishing concert that I attended at Carnegie Hall where two distinguished pianists sang like nightingales at one 9 foot grand piano. It was back in the 1970's that I heard Paul Badura-Skoda and Jorge Demus perform the Schubert Fantasie in F minor as opener to a program featuring mostly Mozart works. The… Continue reading 4-hand piano prep and the joy of making music for two

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Parceling out voices in Chopin’s Nocturne in F Major, Op. 15

Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass scoring in Chopin's hauntingly beautiful F Major Nocturne (opening section) begs for an artistic examination through voice parceling. One cannot just paste the left hand onto the right, deferring entirely to the soprano. (soloist) Meandering chromatics weave through the alto, tenor, and bass, creating unexpected harmonic events that influence melodic shaping,… Continue reading Parceling out voices in Chopin’s Nocturne in F Major, Op. 15

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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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Where harmonies shape phrases: Chopin’s Prelude in E minor, Op. 28, No. 4

Chopin cloaked one of his most memorable preludes in lush harmonies that reveal the beauty of a simple melody.

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Harmonic Rhythm, melodic twists, and emotional shifts in Chopin’s B Minor Waltz, Op. 69, No. 2 (Video)

The harmonic flow of a piece is one ingredient of phrase shaping, along with melodic contouring that springs from the human voice and its natural breath. All have emotional consequence as music pours out of the heart and soul of a performer. So getting below the surface of a piece of music, means delving into… Continue reading Harmonic Rhythm, melodic twists, and emotional shifts in Chopin’s B Minor Waltz, Op. 69, No. 2 (Video)