Joe’s Blog

Welcome to the 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 blog posts in order of keyword, which you can also sort by title.

Quick notes on left hand jumps in Scarlatti Sonatas

October 31, 2021

S.E.’s lesson 10/30/21:

1. Extreme lightness of the arm. Aim for there being no difference between remaining still with the arm and travelling horizontally with the arm.

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“Repertoire”: Chopin Nocturnes

October 30, 2021

W.B.’s lesson on 10/28/21

Chopin Nocturne in Eb Major (Op 9 / 2) : beg

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The fluctuation in the distance between the fingers

October 21, 2021

Since in general, when I’m playing, the average distance between adjacent fingers is fluctuating in response to the distance between the pitches on the keyboard to be played consecutively or the same time, I want to keep that ‘valve’ relaxed that controls how far apart any two fingers are. For me, I experience the sensation of this valve in action at the point, or vertex, between two fingers where they join with hand near the third knuckles. The changes that occur in the distances between the fingers must be  accomplished in a state of total relaxation, so that there is no resistance to the change occurring.

This is in effect an extension of what I’ve  referred to as  my ‘original  meditation idea’*. Only it’s no longer achieved with the eyes closed and the hands upside down on the lap. Rather it is occurring while the hand is hovering over the notes. Certain fingers grow closer, certain move apart from each other. As one pair of fingers grows closer another pair may be required to move further apart (and vice versa) by the internal structure of the hand.

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Teaching: What’s the next lesson going to be about?

October 21, 2021

I have a general sense that I want to lead the student from point A to point B. But from week to week I may have no sense of what the next lesson is going to be like based on the prior lesson. The student may have moved roughly in a straight line from where they were last week towards a specific goal, or they might have gone off on a tangent, moved in a totally different direction, followed a desultory path. One does not know until the student is there at the lesson.

Certain nonproductive habits may have crept in over the past week.  Discover them, explain them, discuss any secondary purpose they might serve, and show the student how to counteract them if that is what they want to do.

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Repertoire: Debussy: “La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune”

October 13, 2021

J.M.’s lesson back a month or two.

measure 1: Opening chords:

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