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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)

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Piano Lesson: Rina, 5, learns to play legato across five fingers from C to G and back

Six months of piano lessons: Rina made a big jump today after having had considerable experience playing single, detached fingers for all notes in the music alphabet. In addition she's been rolling pairs of fingers to create a nice legato from note to note. (2-note slurs) I've prepped her with 1,2 and in reverse, 2… Continue reading Piano Lesson: Rina, 5, learns to play legato across five fingers from C to G and back

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Piano Lesson: Analyzing/playing Bach Invention in D minor, No. 4, BWV 775 in slow tempo (Videos)

In J.S. Bach's Two-part Inventions both voices overlap and imitate each other creating counterpoint. The SUBJECT of no. 4 contains a d-minor Harmonic form scale whose 6th note, B flat does NOT continue in an upward motion to the leading tone, C# or 7th note, but instead, the C# is displaced down to the lower… Continue reading Piano Lesson: Analyzing/playing Bach Invention in D minor, No. 4, BWV 775 in slow tempo (Videos)

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The Art of Piano Pedaling: Filming Fur Elise down below (Videos)

I decided to take a nose dive with my iMac desk top and place it way down by my feet because today an adult student continued her IN DEPTH study of legato pedaling. She was specifically practicing the C section of Beethoven's "Fur Elise," that I coin, the "stormy" part. (It has the tremolo, and… Continue reading The Art of Piano Pedaling: Filming Fur Elise down below (Videos)

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Piano Lesson: Rina 5, shuffles rhythms on the music rack and practices Minuet by Reinagle

Rina has completed 6 months of piano study. During this time, Tales of a Musical Journey by Irina Gorin has nicely framed our collective learning process. (The singing tone is the underpinning of this instruction and how to produce it) In the first video, you will note our rhythm shuffling and clapping. Rina sets the… Continue reading Piano Lesson: Rina 5, shuffles rhythms on the music rack and practices Minuet by Reinagle

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Piano Technique: An adult student works on rolling forward wrist motions in Two, Three, and Six-note groupings (Video)

This particular student has come a long way in the six years we've worked together, and as always been the case, I've probably learned more from her than in reverse. From my second piano, I can gaze over at my pupil sitting at the grand and grasp a whole body in-motion perspective of her playing.… Continue reading Piano Technique: An adult student works on rolling forward wrist motions in Two, Three, and Six-note groupings (Video)

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The Most Heavenly Piano Music?

Mozart's Theme from his A Major Sonata, K. 331, and Beethoven's Adagio from the Sonata "Pathetique," Op. 13, for me, have two of the most hauntingly beautiful melodies in the piano literature. In particular, Mozart's opening theme that threads through the composer's innovative first movement in Variation form, is a lilting lullaby, played in TWO,… Continue reading The Most Heavenly Piano Music?