On this Mother's Day, I think of the many piano teachers who breathe life into fledgling musical journeys with a gentle prod of the hands and the warm embrace of the human voice. Phrase shaping and the singing tone, originate from the ebb and flow of the breath that fuels energy through relaxed arms and… Continue reading From the Start: Singing through Piano Lessons
Yesterday marked a special event in my life--a rekindled tie to an Oberlin Freshman dorm mate made possible by Anita, my 92-year old, 4-hand piano partner. A twenty-year donor/subscriber to Philharmonia Baroque (PBO) a celebrated Bay area-based orchestra, Anita had placed its glossy program brochure on the coffee tray right at our mid-point playing break.… Continue reading My duo piano partner sparks an Oberlin reunion with a long lost classmate!
If there ever was a pianist who embraced a style of playing that was in the service of sculpted phrases, regardless of wrist-breaking rules, it was Livia Rev. Her playing had choreographic freedom as she responded to the here and now of music-making, crafting phrases with a thoughtful relationship to what unfolded, in the before… Continue reading The sad news of Livia Rev’s passing at 101
One of the prevalent concerns of students, especially adults, surrounds the length of time they've invested in learning a particular composition. For some, an internalized goal of technical/musical "mastery" attaches a self-imposed deadline to completion. Boxed into this self-affixed learning time frame, is the end game of neatly shelving a composition as impetus to move… Continue reading The multi-step process of piano learning: but who’s counting?
It was no accident of fate that I spotted a 90 plus, sprightly woman on you tube who registered a wish to find a partner to play "4-hand piano." (It's a musical collaboration between two players at one instrument.) The posting, exciting my interest, had been hyper-linked from the Ashby Village (AV) website that details… Continue reading Music-sharing Par Duo in an “age-less” environment
It's always a blissful coincidence when a piano teacher discovers a wealth of contemporary commentary about a composer whose music is under study in a partnered learning environment. With a framing introduction about the creator, a mentor and pupil can journey beyond details of notation, fingering, harmony, to absorb context, history, and varying compositional approaches… Continue reading Debussy framed articles and videos enrich our study
Seymour's fan club encompasses a vast array of e-list recipients who feel the pulse of the pianist's response to a universe of infinite wonders. In a steady stream of emails FROM: see.less (not more--mour), TO: his many cyber-connected admirers, a cascade of attachments might contain a photo display of newborn puppies snuggling with a feline… Continue reading The “Best Interview” with Seymour Bernstein
A former student of legendary pianist, Artur Schnabel, Jeanne Shapiro Bamberger sat comfortably at her piano bench, nestled in her Berkeley Hills home. She meticulously traced her East to West Coast journey that's reached beyond the boundaries of piano performance. Through decades of creative discovery, Bamberger has synthesized elements of music and cognition; form, structure,… Continue reading Jeanne Bamberger, 94, shares a rich and abundant musical life
Expressing Mozart's piano music beautifully is a composite of many ingredients that include vocal modeling; an understanding of form/structure and harmonic elements; sound imaging, and in the cosmos of the imagination, exploring how to produce what we want to hear. In our ongoing phase of "experimentation," we delve through a terrain of unclarity, seeking ways… Continue reading Playing Mozart: Phrasing and Nuance
Theoretical analysis has been part of my personal immersion at the piano since I began studies at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. As a student enrolled in the the Music department, I had three years of Sight-singing/Ear training, extensive exposure to harmony and musical structure, all within a performance-centered curriculum. And… Continue reading Theory and Harmonic Analyses serve musical expression