Tag Archives: Piano

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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Top Ten Technical Tools

… for first-year piano students. One more list to make me feel completely inadequate.* This is from a workshop by the indomitable Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield that I attended almost 20 years ago. I get depressed when I realize how many of … 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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Chopin on Scarlatti: “He sometimes reaches even Mozart.”

“My colleagues, the piano teachers, are dissatisfied that I am teaching Scarlatti to my pupils. But I am surprised that they are so blind. In his music there are exercises in plenty for the fingers and a good deal of … Continue reading

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“You think about the music … how lucky you are to be performing it”

There was an amusing interview with pianist Mitsuko Uchida in The Guardian last month. I happily discovered I share a couple of non-piano passions with her – the Tour de France and sudoku (“It keeps your mind alert but with … Continue reading

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The silence and the sound

Sadness gives depth.  Happiness gives height.  Sadness gives roots.  Happiness gives branches.  Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth.  Both are needed, and the … Continue reading

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Zero to (grade) 6 in 34 (months)

Three years minus two months. From no knowledge of the keyboard to the successful completion of Grade 6. August, 2010 – a call from a mom looking for a history teacher for her 15-year-old daughter, who was working on grade … Continue reading

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That black note Camp thing

This is the last week of lessons for the school year. The recital was Saturday, so for most, the lessons have been spent wrapping up loose ends and having a bit of fun. Notes have been made for fall. Not … Continue reading

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Tetris, an ugly bump, and sight-reading

Thanks to good teaching I’ve never had a problem with tendinitis or any other pain in all the years I’ve been playing the piano. Thanks to Tetris, I have an ugly bump at the base of my thumb, which caused … Continue reading

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In the Technique Box – Part 3

In the box marked Advanced: 1. Essential Daily Exercises for Piano (Boris Berlin, pub Alfred). My go-to book for transfer students; a systematic approach to fixing or developing every aspect of technique. Organized in 20 sets (increasing in difficulty) of 14 … Continue reading

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Let the kids do the work

Performance classes this week. Focus: a good hand position. I harp about this week in and week out. Take pains to make sure they’re sitting correctly at the lesson with strict instructions to go home and do likewise. Give all … Continue reading

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In the Technique Box* (part 1)

There are three boxes of technique books sitting on the shelf, organized according to the level: Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced. These are used books. Stuff that I pull out for students as needed. My beginner and elementary students use the … Continue reading

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