Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2021-10-29
This past Saturday, October 23rd, we had our third annual Halloween Piano Party. The event made its debut in 2018 but skipped last year due to the pandemic. I decided to do things a little bit differently this year. Instead of doing one event for all, I set up four rolling start times each half-hour so that people wouldn’t have to stay for the entire event. It enabled folks to rotate people in and out of the room so that we had adequate social distance. We all wore masks (the Covid-19 type) except during photos and playing.
Last Updated on 2022-11-30 | Originally Posted on 2021-10-25
What is terrific technique? It’s an aspiration for any pianist at any level because it makes playing easier. What’s not easy is talking about it. I realized there must be a reason that I hadn’t covered this topic previously in my Practice Corner articles. Is it because technique is a given, and doesn’t merit discussion? Or is it just a harder topic to flesh out? I think it’s both!
Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2021-10-08
Many prospective piano parents ask me how I teach. I prefer to answer with what a lesson looks like since that removes a lot of the variables that go into this very loaded question. Just to simplify this a bit, I’m going to describe here what a lesson looks like for a beginner. I teach intermediate and advanced students as well, but they tend to be much more customized since they involve older students.
Last Updated on 2022-11-30 | Originally Posted on 2021-09-19
I remember seeing this expression on a motivational poster decades ago, where a runner is shown in full stride with no one else in sight. The others gave up before going the second mile. I’ve known both mid- to long-distance runners, and most of them wouldn’t bother to lace up just to do a mile. But what the expression originally refers to has nothing about recreational runnning.
Last Updated on 2022-11-30 | Originally Posted on 2021-09-18
Ear training isn’t something that I do enough with my students. It’s really difficult trying to fit so much into a half-hour lesson, which is the length of time that most of my students choose. I use the phrase train your ears, because I’m going way beyond the discipline of listening for intervals. It also involves listening to styles of music. You need to use different types of articulation. Hearing with precision is an important part of playing with precision. Let’s get the dissonance out of the way first!
Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2021-01-29
As a piano teacher, I find myself doing lots of things besides teaching lessons. For instance, I’ve added sanitizing skills to my arsenal! That includes supplying hydrogen peroxide and clean clothes to make sure the piano keys stay Covid-free! One of the more normal side activities is to speak to parents about teaching their kids. This happens a lot at the beginning of each semester. Turnover is part of the business due to the number of families that move into and out of our area each year.
Last Updated on 2023-01-20 | Originally Posted on 2020-12-22
Playing Guilmant is something any serious organist will have to and want to do at some point. Félix-Alexandre Guilmant (1837-1911) was an iconic composer in the romantic style for the organ. As a composer, he almost exclusively wrote for organ solo or for choir and organ.
He wrote some larger scale works, like his 8 sonatas, but he’s mostly known for the massive amount of short pieces he composed. They can be used for prelude, postlude, and everything in between! Many of these are part of the 18 books of Pieces in Different Styles, Pièces dans différents styles pour orgue. I play many of these pieces, but the following ones are special to me.
Last Updated on 2022-11-02 | Originally Posted on 2020-12-10
Although the heading speaks about music charity picks for 2020, my picks aren’t what you might expect! I’m a real believer in making charitable contribution decisions as a contemplative act in the privacy of my own home. I don’t like being asked to donate where I shop, making a snap decision about a cause I likely know very little about. I say as much at the cash register, and I realize that I’m just speaking to the messenger. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want to give because I’m feeling guilty by the picture of a malnourished child or puppy in need. I want to give out of being thankful and out of abundance.
Last Updated on 2023-01-20 | Originally Posted on 2020-11-21
This post has no affiliate links. In other words, I don’t get any compensation as a result of purchases made using these links.
Christmas songbooks that are sold in the mass market, like at Sam’s Club, on Amazon.com, or at your local bookstore, are not thoughtfully compiled with piano students in mind. You’ll get a lot of songs at a reasonable price, but the arrangements will vary in difficulty from page to page. They’re often too complicated for beginners, but too easy and boring for advanced students.
Fortunately, there are many Christmas songbooks compiled with the piano student in mind. Some of these work great for amateur pianists as well. Faber and Piano Pronto are my favorite publishers for these books.
There is an overwhelming number of choices even with a singular publisher, so be prepared to spend some time searching for the right book(s).
Last Updated on 2022-11-28 | Originally Posted on 2020-09-07
Perhaps you have already listened to my recent performance of the complete Chopin Scherzi on the Weekly Acorn. Despite its billing, that was not a bite-sized concert. The good news is that the Chopin Scherzi on YouTube below are listed separately at plus or minus 10 minutes each. I think they are great inspiration for Music Monday!