Tag Archives: Practice Tips

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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Don’t leave it to chance

I’m big on intervallic note-reading. Once the students get started, they’re away. But they need to get started. And sometimes restart mid-stream. At some point they need the ability to identify cold any given note on the grand staff. And … 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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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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Play until your fingers bleed

Talent renders the whole idea of rehearsal meaningless; when you find something at which you are talented, you do it (whatever it is) until your fingers bleed or your eyes are ready to fall out of your head.  Even when no one … Continue reading

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Okay. I’ll share my secret.

None of my students ever get the interval of a minor sixth wrong on the ear test portion of the exams. Ever. Forget the sappy Love Story tune. So not appealing to anyone under the age of 40. Maybe even … 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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Memory: 3 Tips and 3 Posts

“For me there was something touching about seeing a great pianist play a Bach prelude and fugue using the score. Every wondrous element of this complex music is right on the page. It looks almost as beautiful as it sounds.”*  … Continue reading

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An ethical and practical choice. It defines us.

“Talent is the result of highly motivated, focused, relentless practice, expertly guided by a master, over a long period of time. Given sufficient amount of excellent practice, innate talent becomes indistinguishable from acquired talent… “The notion that talent has a … Continue reading

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