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Piano Technique: Turning a door knob helps a 9-year old piano student in her practicing (Videos)

I use various motions extracted from daily life to teach fluidity in piano playing. In this particular example lifted from a lesson-in-progress, Ilyana, 9, applies a door knob-turning gesture to smooth out a passage from William Gillock's "Splashing in the Brook." It's also helpful to enlist mental imagery to capture the mood of a composition.… Continue reading Piano Technique: Turning a door knob helps a 9-year old piano student in her practicing (Videos)

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A Supplement to a Skyped lesson (Chopin Waltz in B minor) Video

It's invaluable to send videos to SKYPE students between lessons. 1) It fills in some of the gaps associated with long distance transmission where variations in volume and clarity might temporarily interrupt instruction. 2) It's a summation of what transpired at the lesson along with recommendations to improve practicing and performance. While some students videotape… Continue reading A Supplement to a Skyped lesson (Chopin Waltz in B minor) Video

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The value of sending video supplements to students between piano lessons

Since I'm in the swing of You Tubing, it's not a stretch to whip up post-lesson videos to send to students for mid-week reinforcement. In this instance, one of my new SKYPE pupils will benefit from a video that carefully explores the singing tone, as well as arm, wrist, hand choreography, since these are fundamental… Continue reading The value of sending video supplements to students between piano lessons

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Quality spot-practicing by an adult student: Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” (Video)

Marie, a motivated adult student, revisited piano studies after a decades-long hiatus. When she resumed lessons about 6 years ago, she made "Fur Elise" her goal-setting piece. Following long-term scale and arpeggio exposure accompanied by a detailed focus on minuets, short character works, sonatinas and the Chopin Waltz in A minor No. 19, Op. Posthumous,… Continue reading Quality spot-practicing by an adult student: Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” (Video)

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Launching a LIVE Webcam Piano Class at POWHOW! (Videos)

Yesterday was an experience! A writer friend had referred me to POWHOW, an online conduit for webcam-driven classes, and my first thought was HOW ON EARTH did this apply to piano lessons which held a sanctimonious ONE-to-ONE student/teacher space for centuries? (It had started in Italy with Cristofori and his miraculous pianoforte invention) Would I… Continue reading Launching a LIVE Webcam Piano Class at POWHOW! (Videos)

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Piano Technique: Playing beyond the fingers to sculpt beautiful phrases (Debussy Arabesque no. 1)

Many piano students who practice Debussy's Arabesque no. 1 tend to grab and articulate notes, rather than let them flow from energy streaming down relaxed arms into supple wrists. Reliance on fingers-down playing becomes the panacea for accuracy, while it sacrifices poetic musical expression. In the video below, I demonstrate how phrases can be sculpted… Continue reading Piano Technique: Playing beyond the fingers to sculpt beautiful phrases (Debussy Arabesque no. 1)

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Practicing tips for Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata, Op. 31 No. 2, Part ONE: (Video)

Because I found myself rambling on and on about the first page, I decided to compartmentalize the instruction to make it easier to absorb. And since I played the "Tempest" years ago, the surest route to my restoring the piece to a respectable performance level, was to practice it from the ground up in slow… Continue reading Practicing tips for Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata, Op. 31 No. 2, Part ONE: (Video)