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!

“And may there be no moaning at the barline (sic)” (Tennyson).

July 14, 2018

Hesitating at bar lines.

Irving is an intermediate student.  We are working on one of the numerous, smaller Schubert pieces: a Waltz in A Minor.

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Singing in tune

July 14, 2018

There are at least three ways for a singer (or instrumentalist) to tell if their intonation is correct.

A system used by many singers, in lieu of any other, is to estimate the width of the interval between their current note and note about to be sung, and then to change pitch according to their sense of what this interval sounds, or feels like.

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Coaching an instrumentalist for an orchestra audition

July 9, 2018

In today’s incarnation, “Irving” is a bassoonist rather than a pianist.   He is about to audition for a local orchestra.  The required excerpt for the audition is the opening of the second movement of Scheherazade.

I listened to him play the solo through.   The notes were there, but overall it lacked a sense of the presence in his imagination of the other instruments playing at the same time, and the effect that would have on how he sounded the passage.

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Two thoughts on playing Legato

July 9, 2018

Both blog entries today have to do with the undefined, yet very definite influence, that sounds, as imagined in the pianist’s ears, have over the extrinsic sound coming into the listener’s ears.

First thought:

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The printed score and its limitations

June 20, 2018

A lesson with Irving on the Chopin: F Minor Nocturne

He is an intermediate level student, and has not had enough years of experience in reading scores to not be thrown off by ambiguities in the music notation.   In particular the rhythmic counter-intuitiveness of even an unusually fine edition like “Henle.”  Here are some of the issues we encountered.

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