Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall lit up with the glow of two Mozart concertos, as Maestro Uchida seamlessly mastered the dual role of soloist/conductor. From the piano bench, with her back to the audience bathed in sea blue radiance, her baton-less hands wove expressive lines that soared in the air, before they gracefully descended on the keys.… Continue reading Mitsuko Uchida and Mozart
https://youtu.be/U4-A28lJfrQ A fun-filled romp through a short Rondo form last movement invites a mood lift of One beat per measure, rather than a rigid progression of 3/8ths counted methodically. In this sense, I'm reminded of Vivace movements (very brisk) from Classical era symphonies that are conducted with a single stroke of the baton, measure by… Continue reading A Perky Finale to Clementi Sonatina in C Major, Op. 36, No. 1
As teachers, we're in a position to advise our students about navigating big stretches that may not comfortably fit hands that are small or even moderate in size. George Gershwin's Prelude No. 2, a bluesy lullaby, is exemplary in requiring artful phrasing of relentless measures that have these wide interval spans beyond the reach of… Continue reading Small hand challenges playing Gershwin’s Prelude No. 2
I often wonder why our music mentor community does not openly share a collective frustration with editors who permeate piano compositions with impossible fingerings. These sources of disarray can be Masterworks by Scarlatti, Mozart, Schumann, Schubert, et al, tarnished with "un-pianistic" maneuvers that beg for labor intensive revisions. Often a preponderance of these Internet driven… Continue reading A Teacher’s Challenge: Navigating Piano music with Awkward fingerings
We clarify and refine our teaching skills through self-examination at the piano. As mentors, we simultaneously enjoy a window into our students practicing from week to week. Together we grow as music sharing partners. This leads to what I periodically post in the form of self-teaching tutorials that reach my pupils and well beyond in… Continue reading Forward Arm Rolls and Rotations
I'm always combing through You Tube videos to unearth treasures that have escaped me. One gem turned up recently that was celebrated in my blog a few weeks ago: Gina Bachauer at the Jerusalem Music Center with teenage prodigy, Yefim Bronfman. It preceded my dip into the well of Seymour Bernstein's amazing talent. He's in… Continue reading Discoveries: Horowitz, A Reminiscence, and Seymour Bernstein in conversation-Chopin and Pedagogy
With unhealthy air quality alerts and record breaking temps keeping many Californians indoors, my own piano practicing was strategically planned to offset unexpected environmental changes. (Unlike those residing in the hills who received a RED FLAG evacuation warning, I could, in the flats, cling to my Steinway in a closed door, sealed window space--Ugh!) An… Continue reading Arpeggios filled up a week of wildfires!
During Shelter in Place, where students and teachers are adjusting to virtual instruction challenges, the role of recording segments of lessons, or creating a supplementary video to review practicing goals, becomes pedagogically valuable. Mac users can use the Quick time New Screen Record option during a Face Time lesson in progress, capturing the teacher image… Continue reading Tailoring lesson recording options to meet a piano student’s needs
I was practicing well past 2 a.m.--in fairyland, as it happened, rekindling Grieg's Dancing elves, (Op. 12, No. 4) when I took a break to check comparative tempos of the greats on You Tube. In my rapid transit through renderings of Rubinstein (41 seconds), same for Richter, I stumbled a upon a gem from the… Continue reading Historic Masterclass: Gina Bachauer mentors young Yefim Bronfman (1973)
My living room, formerly known as the piano room, seems empty now, though a favorite woven octagon rug has been an eyecatcher on You Tube. While I'd hardly been playing the singing nightingale Knabe piano before its departure due to unremiting downweight resistance, it remained a nice companion to Steinway M, 1917--dimming the grand's ultra… Continue reading Knabe upright out for repair, computer out for repair, but life goes on!