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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

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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

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The Piano Primer transition to early repertoire selection

Creative music mentors know innately that NO Primer Package with its sequence of red, blue, and purple levels, A, B, C etc. will meet the needs of most piano students. That's because each pupil is an individual with unique talents, abilities, strengths and weaknesses which demand a flexible, singularized plan of study. By example, my… Continue reading The Piano Primer transition to early repertoire selection

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Sister and brother piano lessons in the Hills

I enjoy my weekly journey to a home way up in the Hills of El Cerrito (neighbor to Berkeley) There, I teach Lucy and Fritz who play a lovely, resonant Baldwin Acrosonic that I advised mom to purchase (over at DC Pianos) Acros happen to be among my favorites in the spinet/console category. The Back… Continue reading Sister and brother piano lessons in the Hills

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A Tribute to traveling piano teachers

I'm lucky that for decades I've been a stationary piano teacher, home-based for Skype, but having two youngsters whom I teach at their house up in the El Cerrito Hills. Fortunately, I get chauffeured to and from the location so I don't have to schlep to Bart, or burn up gasoline in my non-existent car.… Continue reading A Tribute to traveling piano teachers

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“Flamenco” by Gillock is a winner! (Intermediate Level piano repertoire)

Over the years, Gillock's music has sparked the enthusiasm of piano students who sometimes need a kick start piece to lift them out of a rut. "Flamenco" can be such a game changer! For Fritz, age 9, who's infatuated with baseball and soccer, the sheer energy of this character piece, draws him to the piano… Continue reading “Flamenco” by Gillock is a winner! (Intermediate Level piano repertoire)

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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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Piano Study: Exploring the full gamut of emotions on the way to mastering a new piece (Videos)

Taking piano lessons should be a deep-level growth experience with a metaphorical tie-in to life. This means that pieces studied and technique applied should be interwoven to realize emotions of sadness, happiness, grieving, elation, disappointment and whatever comes to mind in the full panoply of human feelings. This is why hearing the word “fun” tossed… Continue reading Piano Study: Exploring the full gamut of emotions on the way to mastering a new piece (Videos)

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Piano Instruction: Teaching “Flamenco” by Gillock with chord blocking and wrist forward spring motions (Videos)

A favorite piece bundled with color and energy, Gillock's "Flamenco" is a joy to teach. The good news is that it has many chordal patterns built into its fabric, making it a easier to learn than works with less symmetry. In my instructional video, I use a "blocking" technique to map out the topography and… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Teaching “Flamenco” by Gillock with chord blocking and wrist forward spring motions (Videos)

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A Feast of Gillock pieces for Aiden cat (Videos) Big surprise at the end!

This feline falls asleep at the drop of a note. What breed of music lover would tune out so fast before a few measures were underway? His history precedes him. During the entire Debussy Arabesque No. 1, he was out cold, except for one detectable ear twitch. Yet he's been known to suddenly spring forward,… Continue reading A Feast of Gillock pieces for Aiden cat (Videos) Big surprise at the end!