It's always valuable to snatch a lesson segment when a student gets it just right and has the equivalent of a runner's high at the keyboard. It's certainly instructive for both teacher and pupil to observe what conditions predisposed a pupil to a level of ONEness of body, mind and spirit. Last night, Jocel displayed… Continue reading Piano Technique: When an adult student is in the Zone!
With all the cyber forum posts about thumbs up, thumbs down, early or late, advanced or delayed, the ROTATIONAL dimension of the shortest, and most problematic finger is often overlooked, and because of miss-directed attention, the clunky thumb brigade marches relentlessly through countless arpeggios and scales. But change is possible! During the course of this… Continue reading Piano Technique: The Rotating Thumb
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
Today I was scoping out some Baldwin Acrosonic pianos on New York Craig's List as I have a few East Coast Skype students who are playing not-so-terrific sounding digitals. They cannot produce a singing tone on them, or enjoy the "feel" of a real piano. (the so-called hammer-weighted feature, notwithstanding) Naturally, not every "real" piano… Continue reading The argument for learning piano on an acoustic
Emanuel Ax, well-known concert pianist and teacher asserts that one note struck cannot be varied by physical approach (except for volume) and I'm assuming duration (a clipped staccato release vs. a lingering sustain without pedal) Yet he didn't provide enough specific details about duration, dynamics, and how delays into notes using supple wrist motions could… Continue reading Does approaching notes in different ways at the piano affect tone production?
Today began on a high note. Ethan Hawke's documentary about Seymour received a rave review in the New York Times. It was the latest in a series superlatives that synchronized perfectly with the film's debut in New York City at the Lincoln Center Festival amidst whispers about a probable Oscar nomination. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/27/arts/ethan-hawke-films-seymour-an-introduction.html?_r=0 To many film… Continue reading The latest about Seymour Bernstein, the Hawk(e), and two colorful Birds
From Berkeley, California At 3:19 a.m. I had just revisited my recently posted video of Bach's Sarabande (French Suite in G)--a foreboding? http://youtu.be/hL3XnZosZ-E ... when suddenly the wall I was leaning against, ( while seated at the piano), started swaying from side-to-side. (somewhat like swells to crescendo < with releases >) Next, I felt a… Continue reading What happened during the Earthquake!