piano, piano blog, piano blog by Shirley Kirsten, piano technique

Practicing Contrary Motion Scales (Video tutorial)

I often use scales played in opposite directions to reinforce posture and the body's ability to lean in either direction toward the highest or lowest octave without bench wandering, or dizzying head movements. Since the third octave in these excursions is not within eye range, the advantage of a pull toward the keyboard, (even without… Continue reading Practicing Contrary Motion Scales (Video tutorial)

phrasing, piano, piano blog, piano blog by Shirley Kirsten, piano instruction, Uncategorized

Beauty in Simplicity: Robert Schumann’s “Melody” No. 1

Schumann's Album for the Young opens with an ethereal duet that meanders through heart-rending harmonies by its seamless flow of broken intervals and chords in the lower line. (The bass is intentionally composed in an alto range, and read in the left hand with a second treble clef, bringing the duet to poignance by its… Continue reading Beauty in Simplicity: Robert Schumann’s “Melody” No. 1

piano instruction, piano learning, piano lessons, piano pedagogoy, piano teachers, piano teaching

Teaching approaches: Seymour Bernstein, Marianna Prjevalskaya and Karen Magruder

With gratitude to our mentors who light a path of learning with love, inspiration, knowledge, commitment and enduring patience. *** SEYMOUR BERNSTEIN http://seymourbernstein.com/ https://youtu.be/k-XngqDcJdg My intent in teaching is to make the pupil better than they are by leading them through musical and technical obstacles and helping them find solutions right there at the lesson.… Continue reading Teaching approaches: Seymour Bernstein, Marianna Prjevalskaya and Karen Magruder

piano, piano blog, piano instruction

Burgmuller’s Arabesque and Inquietude are teaching treasures

I'm always gratified to have a repository of progressive pieces that roll out smoothly from scale and arpeggio study to a universe of colorful, musical expression. Burgmuller's Op. 100 is such a learner rich album of 25 short works with infused choreographies that advance a musical/technical synthesis. "Arabesque," the second offering, is permeated by ascending… Continue reading Burgmuller’s Arabesque and Inquietude are teaching treasures

piano, piano instruction

Repeated groups of notes, metrical framing, and phrase contouring

With one big eyeful of Friedrich Burgmuller's "La Candeur" (Frankness), one observes repetitious strands of melody that can be stultified by a rigid 4/4 framing. The erroneous "study" or etude effect, furthered by a beat-hammering mentor, can thrust a struggling player into an inescapable auto-pilot zone Yet, the opening measures, with twin note groupings, can… Continue reading Repeated groups of notes, metrical framing, and phrase contouring

tutorial

Domenico Scarlatti and trills!

What would our precious Domenico be without his Baroque era adornments, embedded trills, heart-throbbing melodies in gypsy, folkloric framing! And who can overlook the flamenco guitar, rhythmic castanets and tambourines in full keyboard orchestration under Portuguese and Spanish royal influence. Yet the very first Scarlatti sonata given to me by my beloved NYC mentor, Lillian… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti and trills!

piano repertoire, piano repertoire for the beginning student

Delightful “Primary” Level Repertoire for Teachers and Students

A few years ago, I recorded a set of the most charming tableaux from Alexandre Tansman's Pour Les Enfants, thinking the composer had surely reached a peak of immeasurable poetic expression in his "Very Easy" volume 1. In truth, the contents could not be described in such Primer-like terms, because each miniature had built-in technical… Continue reading Delightful “Primary” Level Repertoire for Teachers and Students