One of the biggest challenges for pianists, particularly in the staccato playing scale cosmos, is to avoid a downward, pack-a-punch "thumpy thumb! This unwanted lead weight-loaded attack often interrupts a buoyantly springy journey, transforming it into crowded pile-up of space-less notes. Yet it seems inevitable that the shortest finger of each hand would overcompensate for… Continue reading Piano Technique: Avoiding thumpy thumbs!
Awakenings alternately occur between teacher and student, especially if they're collectively open to them. And embracing this sharing spirit, I welcome ideas from pupils about phrasing, technique, etc. since we enjoy a common journey of discovery. By chance, one student brought a "new" fingering for his assigned D Major arpeggio in 10ths, and it worked so… Continue reading An Adult Piano Student teaches the Teacher
Amazing how 90-degree temperatures in the East Bay can wreak havoc over Face Time transmissions. It nearly made Online mentoring come to a grinding halt yesterday! except that a Quick Time saving grace Lesson Preserver came to the rescue! *** In my Scotland travels, I'm accustomed to subbing in the iPhone for the iMac because… Continue reading A “cool” dip into Quicktime for wrist, finger, and forearm staccato practice
I never cease to be amazed by a mutual discovery process that's ongoing between me and my adult students. Without our learning partnership, we would not have periodic awakenings that feed our reciprocal musical development. Case in point, is the attainment of Staccato refinement in its most crisp and animated form. In the past month,… Continue reading A Teacher/Student fueled discovery about Staccato playing
Yu has been my Skype student for a few years now and she's made big gains in producing a singing tone with supple wrists, relaxed arms, and hand/finger weight transfer. Today she assiduously practiced her F# Major Scale and Arpeggio, energizing forearm and wrist staccato. Using "cupped hands" for her power driven forearm staccato on… Continue reading A London piano student fine tunes her F# Major scales and arpeggios (staccato and legato)
Choking up is probably the best description of what often happens to final scale octaves and their turnaround. Students get anxious at the terminus, and tend to crowd notes as if they're racing to the finish line, when in fact, they're only half way through. So psychologically, it's best if the peak octave is viewed… Continue reading Piano Technique: Remediating peak octave scale paralysis (Staccato)
It's common for piano students to divide their scales into well-boxed rhythmic compartments, emphasizing the fundamental beat that interrupts a smooth flowing legato (connecting from note to note). Sometimes players are unaware of their reinforced "beat" counting impulses and need occasional reminders of what's communicated to the listener. (who happens to be the innocent bystander… Continue reading Piano Technique: Playing scales without bumps or accents