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!
November 21, 2018
Teaching sight reading skills to others is hard for me. It is the negative flip side of the positive fact of my having absolute pitch.
I start from the opposite end of the spectrum than most people. I know what the notes are going to sound as soon as my eye sees them on the page, even if I haven’t heard the piece before. If I am asked to identify an interval by its sound, I already know what the two notes are and from that I can, if I want, calculate the interval.
November 17, 2018
Pianists are blessed by having access to the most beautiful of instruments – no, not the piano – human voice.
November 16, 2018
Sometimes the fluency of a group of notes may seem somehow off to us, but we cannot detect just which note is the cause, so we just try to practice the entire group again and, if necessary, yet again.
A well trained ear, however, divorced from the kinesthetic sensations of moving the fingers, may be able to pinpoint exactly the location of the difficulty: for example that the second note of a rapid group of four notes is not timed correctly (starts late or has a different duration than the first)) ; or that the third note of such a group is not connected to the fourth note as the second was to the third. It is the ear that can detect such slight discrepancies, and can do so more directly than any through kinesthetic awareness of a change in the muscular sensations we experience executing the notes. In fact, often our muscle awareness tells us that things are perfectly even when a deviation from evenness is apparent to the ear (just as sometimes our left hand physically feels as if it is playing just as fast as the right hand has just played, but in fact is playing slower).
November 15, 2018
How constantly do we need to be aware of what we are hearing while playing.
I find that I have a tendency for the following to occur when I am trying to pay attention to what I’m playing. For instance if I am playing a string of four sixteenth notes, I seem to be able to pay close attention to how I connect note 1 to note 2 but then, without realizing it, I don’t become attentive again until I’m connecting note 3 to note 4. It seems like my awareness, like my one of my nerves, needs a short period of rest before “firing” again.
November 9, 2018
There is no a priori reason why a student who plays the piano with facility should have a parallel ease in reading their notes.
I once tutored a high school junior in trigonometry. At first the process resembled peeling an onion. For each math skill that depended on her knowing a previous and more basic skill, examination showed that she was not comfortable with that simpler ability either. When we finished stripping back these layers one by one, we ended up with her being, figuratively speaking, back in the second grade, and being confused by the multiplication table. Thus, that is where we began: with the multiplication table. When she mastered that we went out one layer of the onion, and so on patiently until successfully building things back to trigonometry.