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The value of studying short Romantic era Character pieces

Piano teachers often welcome the opportunity to use student repertoire requests as a springboard to nourish new learning adventures. Such pupil-driven musical endeavors can lead to deep-layered immersions in short, Romantically framed character pieces. The value of dipping into miniature variety compositions encompasses taking on a learning challenge in compact form. For example, Schumann's Album… Continue reading The value of studying short Romantic era Character pieces

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Sound imagination and tactile, tonal expression at the piano for diverse compositional eras

Often a posted comment about a You Tube video inspires a blog topic that is of interest to pianists and teachers. One such public addition to my Channel quickly streamed into a comparison between two well-known compositions in the piano repertoire. The commenter was asking about the grade "level" of Debussy's The Girl with the… Continue reading Sound imagination and tactile, tonal expression at the piano for diverse compositional eras

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Pianist, Seymour Bernstein revisits the Schumann Arabesque at age 90

As I grappled with matters of tempo, mood, and interpretation in learning a Baroque era work, I found a kindred spirit in Seymour Bernstein who openly shared his introspective thoughts about re-thinking a well-known composition in the piano literature. Encapsulated in an e-mailed communication to his league of followers, Bernstein addresses the common temptation among… Continue reading Pianist, Seymour Bernstein revisits the Schumann Arabesque at age 90

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Unlocking Schumann

My first thought last night as I was revisiting "Gluckes Genucht" after resting it for months, was that this tableau like others in Kinderszenen, Op. 15, beg for hand, arm, wrist flexiblity as antidotes to tension-driven lockdowns. The after beats, for instance in Genucht. (I'll leave out the "Happiness" aspect for a moment) can easily… Continue reading Unlocking Schumann

"Harmony of the Angels, 25 Progressive Piano Pieces op. 100 by Burgmuller, blogmetrics, Burgmuller, piano, piano blog, piano lessons

The composer’s Metronome Marking and how pianists deal with it

I encountered a few performances of Burgmuller's "Harmony of the Angels" Op. 100, that were so briskly played, that I made sure to consult the composer's Metronome Marking for a reality check. And it was true that Dr. Alan Huckleberry and Phillip Sear, were the "speediest" players on You Tube. While they were not consistently… Continue reading The composer’s Metronome Marking and how pianists deal with it

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Tempo Rubato and Chopin Waltz in A minor No. 19, Op. Posthumous

Tempo Rubato as defined in Wikipedia: "Tempo rubato (free in the presentation, Italian for: stolen time) is a musical term referring to expressive and rhythmic freedom by a slight speeding up and then slowing down of the tempo of a piece at the discretion of the soloist or the conductor." I think of it in… Continue reading Tempo Rubato and Chopin Waltz in A minor No. 19, Op. Posthumous

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Schubert Impromptu No. 2 in Eb, Op. 90: Looping and Grouping notes

"Looping" and "grouping" provide prompts for practicing relentless triplets in the opening section of Schubert's Eb Impromptu. Myriads of scale-like passages meander in unpredictable directions at times, often inserting half-steps under principle notes that carry a thread of melody that peaks with a sequence of secondary dominants to climax. But of poignant beauty is an… Continue reading Schubert Impromptu No. 2 in Eb, Op. 90: Looping and Grouping notes

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Pianist, Beth Levin weighs in on Competitions

Beth Levin is more than a pianist. She not only concertizes, records, presents symposia and teaches, but devotes quality time to arts commentary. At La Folia.com, she critiqued Schumann's Kreisleriana in tribute to an era she embraces in her spread of LIVE performances and recordings. http://www.lafolia.com/schumanns-kreisleriana/ *** http://youtu.be/m8SL7ub1VJI (Imported photos and video produced by Randolph… Continue reading Pianist, Beth Levin weighs in on Competitions

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“Clouds,” “cushions,” and “veils” permeate a Chopin Lesson (Waltz in A minor)

Floating arms, supple wrists, delicate relaxed ornaments and trills, and an oxymoron-driven, perfect parachute landing flowed into a lesson last night with a musically responsive adult student. The keyboard was transformed into a soft cushion receiving fingers energized with bigger channeled energies traveling down buoyant arms through springy wrists. Most of all, imagination fed a… Continue reading “Clouds,” “cushions,” and “veils” permeate a Chopin Lesson (Waltz in A minor)

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Piano Study: Tempo shifts from Childhood to Adulthood

Turning back the clock to my early years as a piano student, I regarded ANDANTE as the slowest tempo marking in the musical universe. So did all my friends who foot dragged their pedal and stumbled through the doldrums of any piece that had the "A" for power down the pace and lower volume while… Continue reading Piano Study: Tempo shifts from Childhood to Adulthood