With our ultra exposure to You Tube, MP4s, CDs, etc. we often forget what it's like to experience a LIVE performer inhabiting an acoustical paradise such as Davies Hall, San Francisco. In a give and take between pianist and audience, a swell of dynamics and limpidly melting cadences elicit an intimate exchange of emotions that's… Continue reading A memorable Evgeny Kissin Piano Recital!
I was inspired by the sagacious words of Peter Takacs, Oberlin Conservatory piano faculty member, in response to a query by Zsolt Bognar. (Living the Classical Life interview) Zsolt: "Should a pianist teach?" (I was a bit surprised by a question that sowed doubt about the endeavor of mentoring--as if it proliferated the weak cliche… Continue reading What you Learn by Teaching Piano
At this juncture of teaching, I'm savoring diverse repertoire along with my students, the youngest of whom is 10, and the oldest being over 60. What all these pupils share in common, regardless of level, is a journey through repertoire that requires a thoughtful process of learning. Even a Beginner labeled two or three note… Continue reading No Piece is too easy to teach and play thoughtfully
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
In the cosmos of pedaling, where the "soul of the piano" is explored, I asked a few teachers about when and how they introduce students to the use of the sustaining or damper pedal. Definition of Terms: https://www.pianocub.com/blog/3-piano-pedal-techniques-you-need-to-know Legato/Syncopated Pedal "In legato pedaling, the sustain pedal is pressed down after a note or chord has… Continue reading Piano Teachers and Pedaling
I slipped up and missed the deadline for my end of 2017 super You Tube picks--realizing a bit late, that readers were celebrating the New Year in different time zones. Piano lovers from Japan and Australia had already popped champagne bottles 18 or so hours before those of us partook on the West Coast--And with… Continue reading Favorite you tube video picks for 2018! (carried over from 2017)
Once I sold my beloved Steinway 'A' grand that had eaten into the space of my neighbor's apartment where it had been well cared for over a year's time, I felt obliged to replace it. The 'A' had been the first piano for a beginning student who lived at the end of our walkway. For… Continue reading Seek and Ye shall find the right FREE piano!
My students know that I say what I do, while they do as I say, with the understanding that we are perhaps interchanging the whole music learning process on an egalitarian basis. Therefore, it's no surprise that I regularly thank them for "teaching" me what I might otherwise have overlooked in my daily practicing. For… Continue reading My early learning efforts (J.S. Bach) under the influence of Peter Feuchtwanger
Pianist, Leon Fleisher has given us his notable artistry over decades, while his insights about practicing and teaching have been invaluable for a vast community of mentors and students. In his latest interview that coincided with the release of a new album, All the Things You Are, Fleisher spoke eloquently about the intrinsic relationship of… Continue reading Beyond Leon Fleisher’s riveting words about pianists and vocal modeling
It's always disheartening when students forego their scales and arpeggios at lessons, choosing instead, to dive immediately into repertoire. In their zeal to immerse themselves in the Masterworks, they neglect a pivotal Circle of Fifths journey that's wedded to keyboard geographies, key relationships, and much more. As a child, I reviled scales like most beginning… Continue reading Piano Technique: Practicing well-shaped scales and arpeggios (videos)