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!

Speed: various notes culled from different lessons and practice sessions

June 18, 2021


B.N.’s lesson. He is an intermediate level player.

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The memory projection of the previous note into the next note

June 15, 2021

When a chord repeats twice in a row exactly, can the past itself repeat  without a new present.

Sometimes the past is so forcefully projected on the present that all newness has been drained out of the new iteration. Time has been made to stop flowing. It is not a ‘new’ iteration of the previous chord, it is, in a  fundamental way, the ‘same’ chord, so thrall to the memory of the previous iteration that it doesn’t feel like a new chord at all (regardless sometimes whether its notes are the same or even different than the previous chord).

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Finding the underlying meaning below the surface of the notes.

June 15, 2021

Some of the things that have come to me as the deepest discoveries about playing the piano are the hardest to put into words and the hardest to recreate when I would will to recreate them.

One of these has to do with the idea that the notes are symbols of deeper meanings, and that we must transcend the notes into those deeper meetings.

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Bach: The Goldberg Variations: Variation no. 11

May 23, 2021

#1  Arpeggios: Variation 11 : measure 5

In the right hand play the b2 with 2, then d3 with 3, and then, for practice in loosening up the joints, rotate the forearm one hundred eighty degrees, which faces the palm upwards, and turns the thumb, which is still on the g3, upside down, then the third finger plays b3 but like the thumb, the third finger is upside down, but re-rights itself by one hundred eighty degrees while still on the b3. at which point the arpeggio completes itself ordinarily through the g4.

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How the hand naturally shapes itself to the piano keys

May 16, 2021

Whenever my students are obsessed with “just the right fingering”, and concomitant problems having to due with how their hands will find whatever the next notes are to play, I tell them that every day, all day long, they are holding one object or another in their hand. putting them down. going on to hold another object. Or, if at times during the day they are not currently conscious of holding any object, there still is nonetheless a position or shape to their hand if they looked at it. Sometimes it is resting a hand on the lap and conforming to the shape of your knee or thigh. And when distracted by another task, such as reading, watching television, etc., while there is usually no awareness of what the hands are doing or what shape they have, the hands are nonetheless have some shape or posture. The hand, as long as it is matter occupying space, has a shape.

The hand is protean. It has the ability to take on myriad shapes, automatically and usually without thought or effort. Have someone take pictures of your hands at various times of the day and you will see the hand as a living creature, always changing shape.

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