piano instuction

No shortcuts in teaching beginning piano students

Watching a colleague teaching a child in Madrid (on video) brought home the complexity of playing just two notes with beauty. What might be construed as an innately "natural" approach to piano playing, must in reality be learned by beginning students with meticulous attention to vocal modeling, touch sensitivity, and an infusion of imagination. Irina… Continue reading No shortcuts in teaching beginning piano students

piano, piano lessons, piano recital, Uncategorized

A Happy Day for a 9-yr. old piano student playing on her first recital

Maeve, aka "Liz" was welcomed into the universe of music sharing in the beautiful Oakland Hills of California. What better backdrop, cloaked in nature, as breezes wafted through branches, shaking out leaves in graceful patterns. The images, extracted from the East Bay's gorgeous panorama are in Maeve's mental repository, as they feed relaxed energy down… Continue reading A Happy Day for a 9-yr. old piano student playing on her first recital

piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, Shirley Kirsten, teaching piano to children

A 9-year old’s “complete” piano lesson integrates theory and ear training

After 9 months of study, "Liz" whom I've followed at regular recorded intervals since her first lesson in mid-February, has been exposed to multi-tiered music learning that's incorporated a Theory and Ear Training dimension. (Note the choice of Frances Clark's Time to Begin as a 6 month Primer, with my imposed creative modifications that expanded… Continue reading A 9-year old’s “complete” piano lesson integrates theory and ear training

piano, piano teaching

Early Stage layered learning with Context

Liz, a 9 year old student, who began piano lessons 8 months ago, has been consistently exposed to layered learning within a contextual framing. This approach, in substance and quality, will apply to pupils of diverse ages and levels. During our most recent lesson, Liz practiced William Gillock's "Little Flower Girl of Paris" (Accent on… Continue reading Early Stage layered learning with Context

piano, piano instruction, piano lessons, piano teaching, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten

A 9-year-old piano student devises a plan to improve her practicing

Into her seventh month of music study, Liz has more clearly defined her approach to practicing various pieces by devising a well-written outline of phrase-loving reminders. And though her vocabulary is an understandable offshoot of her teacher's, with its emphasis on floating, flowing wrists, side-by-side with "pokey" finger prohibitions, she manages to offer an original… Continue reading A 9-year-old piano student devises a plan to improve her practicing

composing, piano, piano instruction

A nine-year-old Piano student at the six-month juncture of study

It's hard to believe how far "Liz" has come in her musical journey. With a half year's exposure to the piano, she composes, transposes, and approaches her practicing draped in the singing tone. In a repertoire-based phase of learning (with a primer method book tossed asunder) the student is embedded in relaxation techniques, with supple… Continue reading A nine-year-old Piano student at the six-month juncture of study

former piano students

My Piano Students of Yesteryear: Where are they now?

Over decades of teaching, and with relocation being the norm for students and mentors, it would have taken a bit of research to track down all my beginner, intermediate, and advanced students dating back to 1968 (NYC); and from 1979 (Fresno CA) to 2011, before my 2012 move to Berkeley, California. What I discovered in… Continue reading My Piano Students of Yesteryear: Where are they now?