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!

What is not heard is often more important than what is heard

March 18, 2019

Brahms: Intermezzo: Op 116 No. 4 in E Major

Often in a well constructed piece, the meaning of something lies in how it stands out in contrast, or in relief, to something else.  Much of this has to do with memory, and what the listener may expect to hear at a certain time.

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Young Students and Music Reading

March 17, 2019

Diagnosing the cause of note reading difficulties in beginners.

Pointing to a measure in the music score, or even just a single note from either clef, and asking the student to draw on paper what they see on the page is often the fastest and most direct way to see how the student’s brain is perceiving what they see when looking at the music score.

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Playing With Authority, Intervals, and the Inner Heart of Music

March 16, 2019

Playing with Authority:

C.P told me at our last lesson: I am very soft spoken in my private life, and in my business life.  I am habitually quiet, but you have given me permission to speak out more, even though it is at the piano.  I can make more sound and command more attention.   Maybe it’s safer to do it on the piano first,  but nonetheless it an exciting change.

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Six short blogs about Beethoven’s “Andante Favori” in F Major

March 12, 2019

#1.  Key Signatures

Some advanced students have trouble changing from one key signature to another, even when they are finished playing one piece and are starting to play another.  The previous sharps and/or flats in the previous piece’s key signature “bleed over”, or persist into the next piece.  For this type of student it is not enough to suggest that they practice scales and get to know key signatures.  One has to reach back further in time to re-build conscious awareness of keys.  Using just one hand, and just one finger from the hand, have the student play, very slowly, one octave’s worth of a scale.  As each note is played the student should say out loud the name of the note being played.  This has less to do with teaching the hand what notes are in the scale and was more about raising to a high state of conscious awareness the “name” of each note.

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The Connection and Disconnection of Notes

March 7, 2019

I’ve had an idea lately that it would be nice to do a lesson and then post a blog post about it right afterwards. I think this will gain in spontaneity and insight, despite what it might loose from lack of editing and proofreading.

A.B. Was playing WTC I C f (which is my short hand for Well Tempered  Klavier, Book One, C Major (C is uppercase), the fugue and not the prelude (f).

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