If a student is well-prepared, having devoted quality time during the week to practicing scales, arpeggios, and pieces assigned, a lesson can contain a nice balance of ingredients. Barring holidays, long distance travel and time zone changes, most pupils will devote 15 to 20 minutes of their lesson to technique, and the remaining 40 minutes… Continue reading A balanced piano lesson of Technique and Repertoire
There appears to be a stigma attached to parceling out a brand new piece in deliberately slow tempo, where a player threads through separate lines with a commitment to expression framed by an ultra-relaxed singing pulse. In the best realization of such immersion, the music becomes magnified to a new level of awareness, albeit in… Continue reading Why is practicing slowly so unpopular?
When I first looked at a "seriously" complex page of dizzying tied-over (syncopated) notes in Schumann's "Almost Too Serious," (Fast Zu Ernst) I had a knee-jerk avoidance response--that is until I tapped into a permeating melodic thread that I isolated and wooed from its conspicuous alliance to myriads of off beats. In other words, I… Continue reading Schumann’s “Almost Too Serious” (Kinderszenen No. 10) requires get serious, step-wise practicing
I'm always warmed by lovely, contoured phrasing, especially when it's produced by an adult student who's reached a new level of aesthetic consciousness through especially attentive and consistent practicing. This particular player has increased her sensitivity in shaping the Chopin A minor Waltz melody with curves, dips, loops, and tapering, while her left hand that… Continue reading An adult piano student explores phrase shaping in Chopin’s A minor Waltz, Op. Posth.
While I underscore the adult student population in this discussion, it's not meant to omit students of any age who study piano. Almost universally, those coming back to the piano after a significant hiatus, or those just beginning lessons in adulthood, have big expectations to "succeed" and progress at an imagined rate of "speed." Such… Continue reading The Biggest Challenge for Adult Piano Students (Video)
Angela Hewitt boldly emphasizes the importance of slow practicing in this brief video segment. She states that everything you do behind tempo should be molded into a faster reading as to phrasing, dynamics, etc. And it goes without saying that fingering is an important component of foundational work such as occurs with circumspect rehearsals at… Continue reading The value and application of slow piano practicing
It takes patience to approach a piece well behind tempo, tuning in to every nuance and turn of phrase. With ears alert and sensitive, the player tries to create a feeling state where he's submerged in sound to the exclusion of all else. At the pinnacle of concentration, he's "in the zone," attaining Maslow's "peak… Continue reading Piano Instruction: The Virtues of Slow Motion Practicing and Attentive Listening