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Learning a new piano piece quickly and thoroughly (Videos)

I challenged myself to quickly learn the shortest Scarlatti sonata on record (K. 431 in G) and share the principles of developing this piece to a level of fluidity with interested students. Perhaps it would help them navigate a new musical landscape. *** Looking over the two-page Scarlatti score, we notice a preponderance of broken-chord… Continue reading Learning a new piano piece quickly and thoroughly (Videos)

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Piano Instruction: Domenico Scarlatti Minuetto in C, L. 217 (Videos)

Many of Scarlatti's compositions are not within easy reach of most piano students, but Margery Halford, editor, has compiled an Introductory album published by Alfred, with technically and musically attainable works. And it's a blessing that she's eliminated ones with crossed-hand acrobatics. Yet trills, so emblematic of the composer, are an ever-present challenge. Wrist Flexibility… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Domenico Scarlatti Minuetto in C, L. 217 (Videos)

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Piano Technique: Burgmuller’s Tarentelle, Op. 100-Fueling and shaping fast passages with a dipping, supple wrist (Videos)

Most piano students will have been assigned a Burgmuller selection or two during their formative years of study. And most likely, these would have been snatched from the composer's Twenty-Five Progressive Pieces, Op. 100 that advance by steps in difficulty, though it can be argued that all contain unique technical challenges. Composed in the Romantic… Continue reading Piano Technique: Burgmuller’s Tarentelle, Op. 100-Fueling and shaping fast passages with a dipping, supple wrist (Videos)

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The Suzuki Method for Piano, Pros and Cons

The traditional Suzuki method, devised by its pioneer advocate, Shinichi Suzuki applied originally to violin instruction. Students as young as 2 or 3 learned to play their instruments in the way language was acquired, through imitation. (I recalled black and white film footage showing hundreds of Japanese children lined up in rows with baby-size violins,… Continue reading The Suzuki Method for Piano, Pros and Cons

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Burgmuller’s “The Return”–like a light opera, with interspersed drama (videos)

"The Return" from the composer's Twenty-Five Progressive Pieces, Op. 100, is ear-catching. Like an Offenbach opera replete with an Overture, it delights in a set of lighthearted staccato chords that spill into a passionate MINOR sequenced interlude, setting the heart afire. Extinguished by the revisit of Eb Major punctuations, the music drifts off by authentic… Continue reading Burgmuller’s “The Return”–like a light opera, with interspersed drama (videos)

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The joy and value of teaching a piano student over many years

Claudia, age 6 playing a duet with me I recall Elaine Comparone, the renowned harpsichordist having described a student she had mentored for 35 years before a move cut short a lasting musical relationship. "She was the real deal," the musician insisted. Seymour Bernstein, author, With Your Own Two Hands, often shared the joy of… Continue reading The joy and value of teaching a piano student over many years

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What pianists can learn from string players

Piano students have a lot to learn from string players who have direct contact with their sound source by strokes of a bow. As pianists, we are physically separated from the strings as hammers must be activated by our key depressions, but by listening to the swells of a violin, cello, or viola, hearing shades… Continue reading What pianists can learn from string players