Joe’s Blog

Welcome to my blog!

A reminder that these blog entries are not ‘timely.’  They do not address issues that relate to the present news of the world.  They address perennial issues faced by most pianists when striving to excel in their playing.  I encourage you to search through the posts to find the ones that will yield the greatest benefit to you.

You can also use this list of all blog posts in order of keyword, which you can also sort by title.

You are also welcome to contact me to suggest a topic that you would like to see appear on the site, or ask questions or comment below each entry. Enjoy!

Harmony in late Brahms

January 18, 2019

Harmonic wonders in Brahms’ Intermezzo Op 117 No 3 in C# Minor

#1: The key

Read More

Sometimes it’s not that complicated; it’s just a matter of black and white

January 16, 2019

Key signatures remain a stumbling block for certain types of students.

We were reading the middle section of the Mozart “Rondo alla Turca” – the section with the seemingly endless running sixteenths in the right hand.

Read More

Handling wide chords or arpeggios (especially if the pianist has a small hand)

January 9, 2019

 

The opening chords of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto

Read More

Lyricism, connectivity and shaping of sounds

January 3, 2019

At B’s lesson today, he was playing Mozart’s Adagio in B Minor

He plays a series of notes from the piece, and stops because he is frustrated with how it just sounded.  He says: “In order for me to even it out, ‘this’ note needs to be a little louder, and ‘that’ note needs to be a little softer.”  He makes physical adjustments in how he plays each of those two notes.  The result is a new set of inconsistencies in the sound.  I try to explain that any difference in muscular action for which one can consciously in control will over-compensate for the problem.  The only ways that reliably control evenness in sound, whether in a melody, or in a chord, are based on either the ear or finding a lever further up the arm that controls all the fingers alike.

Read More

What happens in performance if the hands wander off course by playing incorrect notes

December 22, 2018

Certain pianists are so dependent on their physical sense of where their  hands are on the keyboard, that if they go off track in a piece, by playing a note or notes incorrectly, it is difficult or almost impossible for them to get back on track so that they can continue into the next measure without having to stop and go back.  This was the case with “B.” today.

We analyzed the situation, tried to think of remedies, but found that we had to reject one after another because they were too hard to implement.    We finally distilled down the essence of the problem to a point where a first “exercise” suggested itself to us: a first, simple enough, and thus doable exercise to help with the general problem.

Read More