Category Archives: Pianos

No tortoisian ambling, please

“Slow practice can be a complete waste of time if the mind is not working quickly. Simply to trawl through passages like a contented tortoise is a waste of the felt on your piano’s hammers. Good slow practice is more … Continue reading

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Was it the piano or the pianist?

I recently went to a recital given by last year’s Honens winner Pavel Kolesnikov. It was on the new C. Bechstein piano recently acquired by the University of Calgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts. This was the piano’s debut. My interest … Continue reading

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The Back Room

It was a small war-time house with white wood siding and red trim. A few metres away sat a garage. The door was nearly falling off the hinges, barely protecting the navy blue VW bug inside. In June mature lilac … Continue reading

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Yes. They have their place.

I should be careful about making big, bold, never-ever statements. They generally come back to bite me. For years I gave electric, then digital pianos no thought. I spoke out against them. I had memories of trying to accompany choirs … Continue reading

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“Everything depends on good fingering”

Those were Chopin’s words. Chopin played with a simple, natural position of the hands – and used the easiest fingering. Which was sometimes against the rules. We know he played with a beautiful singing legato touch. He used lots of … Continue reading

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Go home and listen.

Go home and find a recording on Youtube. Just make sure it doesn’t say “this is me playing…”  It should be someone on a stage. Even better if it just shows an album cover with no video. My words to … Continue reading

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Two Hits and a Miss

HIT. My Hydraulic adjustable piano bench. Moves up and down quickly and easily – multiple times in a lesson if necessary. No sore wrists from turning those knobs. No more stacking of cushions/book/foamy things. It’s a charm. Worth every cent … Continue reading

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A whole new meaning of “Recital”

Mozart, at the age of 14, was on a grand concertizing tour in Italy. One of the events was fairly packed, and probably made for a rather long evening: 1. One of his symphonies was played by professional musicians. 2. … Continue reading

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Musings about Chopin: The Scherzi

I’m making some progress in my Chopin Sight-Reading project. From the outset, I decided to read through what I already own, and maybe download the odd piece that I don’t own, except for the Polonaises; I seem to have some … Continue reading

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Technique Plan

I remember hearing Edward Parker, author of Piano Pedagogy: A Practical Approach, say the following at a workshop a few years ago: “The only thing worse than a bad technique plan is no plan at all.” For the first few … Continue reading

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Pedaling the Moonlight Sonata

Beethoven has given us the following mystifying instructions at the beginning of the Moonlight Sonata:   “Si deve suonare tutto questo pezzo delicatissimamente e senza sordino” which in plain English means to put the damper pedal down for the entire movement. … Continue reading

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The Piano Shop on the Left Bank

Thad Carhart, an American writer living in Paris, has written this wonderful memoir about his pursuit of music as an amateur pianist, his discovery of a piano shop, and his friendship with the owner. Carhart loves the piano as an … Continue reading

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