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The “upper arm roll” and undulating wrist in piano playing

Many piano teachers call the same physical approach to various passages by a different name. I find myself in harmony with author, teacher, composer, Seymour Bernstein when he demonstrates the "upper arm roll" in Part 4 of his recorded series, "You and the Piano." https://youtu.be/lNYH8GQrdrc As it plays out in one my teaching videos, I… Continue reading The “upper arm roll” and undulating wrist in piano playing

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Finding a melodic thread in a sea of fast notes

Compositions that are laden with myriads of fast paced notes often pose a problem for students whose immediate response is to efficiently "type" them out. Implementing such a mechanical approach often excludes an awareness of a melodic strand that will need to undergo shaping and contouring. One particular piece comes to mind that offers an… Continue reading Finding a melodic thread in a sea of fast notes

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Playing a Bach Invention: Say what you mean, and mean what HE said

My latest awakening occurred during a piano lesson last night with a student who loves Bach and nearly dotes upon his compositions exclusively. And that's fine with me who's a companion traveler sharing a comparable love for the composer and his diversity of keyboard works. Invention 1 in C, BWV 772 is one of my… Continue reading Playing a Bach Invention: Say what you mean, and mean what HE said

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Playing J.S. Bach with an awareness of Harmonic Rhythm

In working through Bach's two-part Invention No. 13 in A minor, an adult student and I explored harmonic resolutions and their influence on phrasing. *** While many pupils expect cadences to be predictable resting points where pianists typically taper a musical line, they soon discover with teacher prompts that in the course of a composition,… Continue reading Playing J.S. Bach with an awareness of Harmonic Rhythm

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Theory embedded in phrasing/musical expression

What am I doing up at 2 a.m.? To put it simply, answering an adult student's inquiry about the theoretical analysis of J.S. Bach Invention 13 in A minor. At our last lesson, I had tweaked her curiosity about the harmonic dimension of the last two pages where modulations abound (especially measures 9-18) Yet as… Continue reading Theory embedded in phrasing/musical expression

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Favorite J.S. Bach Two Part Inventions

The J.S. Bach Inventions I posted on You Tube are definitely my favorites. (In the days ahead I will describe the way I teach these to my students) Inventions are dialogs or conversations between the hands that constitute the interweaving of independent voices   (Counterpoint) Counterpoint was the hallmark of the Baroque period (1685-1750) My Favorite… Continue reading Favorite J.S. Bach Two Part Inventions