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PA Posts by Month & Year

Remix: Earthquakes, Bright and Shiny Objects, One Speed Ponies, & Time Travel

Pieces have been chosen. Dates have been set. Arrangements have been made. Yep, we are working toward spring masterclasses, recitals, and end of the year piano exams all right. In the last few months, nearly everyone who has walked in the studio door has had issues with rhythm. Cosmic unity? Sunspots? The after effects of . . . → Read More: Remix: Earthquakes, Bright and Shiny Objects, One Speed Ponies, & Time Travel

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Vintage PA: Chestnuts II, A Rubato Geek Vindicated

I think piano students can learn more from Frank Sinatra about phrasing and rubato than from most classical instrumentalists.

— Stephen Hough (@houghhough) December 12, 2013

I couldn’t agree more. In fact, here’s a vintage PA post on the subject from 2011. I was actually vindicated twice this week. Once on the subject of rubato . . . → Read More: Vintage PA: Chestnuts II, A Rubato Geek Vindicated

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Vintage PA: Yodeling Puff The Magic Dragon

It started with a performance of a method book piece with the word Yodel in the title. “It sounds weird,” said my young student, “and I don’t understand why that B is there.” “Do you know what yodeling is?”, I asked. She shook her head sideways, “uhuh.” I certainly can’t yodel, so demonstration was out . . . → Read More: Vintage PA: Yodeling Puff The Magic Dragon

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PA Shorts: Boundaries

“You can’t fill up when you’re holding your breath. And writing is about filling up, filling up when you are empty, letting images and ideas and smells run down like water—just as writing is also about dealing with the emptiness.” (Ann Lamott)

I like the part about letting ideas and smells run down like water. . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Boundaries

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Learning Ogi Matsuri

Everyone who teaches should try to learn a completely new skill every few years. It keeps you humble. It keeps you patient and kind to both yourself and to your students.

I heard our local Taiko group play at a wedding reception a few months back. I was entranced by the sound and the dance . . . → Read More: Learning Ogi Matsuri

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Redux: Yummo! Taste and False Assumptions

This week, I was struck by a fascinating post by John Terauds on the word like and it’s meaning in relation to music—specifically classical music.

We don’t like every person we meet, or every movie we see, or every book we read. But the interaction itself still has the potential to change our life in . . . → Read More: Redux: Yummo! Taste and False Assumptions

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Artist Portrait: Matthew Odell

I had the great pleasure of doing this latest Artist Portrait interview with pianist Matthew Odell—and face to face too! He is an energetic and down to earth person who inspired our students and teachers during his workshop, masterclass, and performance at EAC a couple of weeks ago.

He’s also a busy person. He has . . . → Read More: Artist Portrait: Matthew Odell

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Middle Parts & Orphans

“I’ve played piano for over 30 years and nobody has ever told me to start in the middle of a measure,” said one of my adult students last week.

She had been attempting to practice a Brahms passage where the motives echoed across the bar-lines by starting at the beginning of each multi measure section. . . . → Read More: Middle Parts & Orphans

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Becoming A Pianist: A Worthwhile Journey, Gloria Fast

Do you remember the instant you knew you were a pianist? Perhaps for you it was a gradual realization? The father of a former student of mine sent me this essay on his daughter’s journey to becoming a pianist, which she wrote for her English class.

It is always wonderful to learn that a student . . . → Read More: Becoming A Pianist: A Worthwhile Journey, Gloria Fast

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Artist Portrait: Shai Wosner

It’s good for your health as a musician to be in the company of other good musicians. I don’t think I could really exist as a musician without that.

And, pianist Shai Wosner practices what he preaches! He is currently off an a European tour playing trios by Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert . . . → Read More: Artist Portrait: Shai Wosner

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PA Shorts: Ignition – Blast Off!

Since I have been convalescing and forbidden to do anything particularly physical, I have had a lot of time to read. Two tidbits struck my fancy this week. The first concerns the ignition of talent and the second the fact that we never know where or when our influence will actually come to bear.

Ignition

. . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Ignition – Blast Off!

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Guest Post: Teaching Students From Different Backgrounds, Neeki Bey

Those of you who know me, know that I am totally against, what my friend calls, “drive by arts experiences”. These experiences can encompass a range of genres; the Chopin Waltz, the 12 Bar Blues piece, The “by ear” piece, Sakura… You get the picture. I also believe in respecting a student’s background and finding . . . → Read More: Guest Post: Teaching Students From Different Backgrounds, Neeki Bey

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Lately, Some Things Have Made Me Smile

Hearing Emily tell me a passage of fingering in her Chopin Waltz was Stupid, tell me why, and give a crackerjack way to fix it.

Listening to some awesome Beethoven from Andrew who had made a sudden connection to inner voices and what he had been learning in AP class. This was a real breakthrough . . . → Read More: Lately, Some Things Have Made Me Smile

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PA Shorts: Hard Work

How often do our students (and occasionally ourselves) end up banging against a brick wall (figuratively speaking) because we need to change our game plan and gain the knowledge and experience to move forward? We have all had students who want to learn repertoire way above their current level of pianism. They will try, sometimes . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Hard Work

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Review: Tales of a Musical Journey

Irina Gorin’s Tales of a Musical Journey starts a young beginner on a trek through an enchanted musical land called The Magical Kingdom of Sounds. Along the way, students meet King Meter, Fairy Musicalina, Princess Melody, Wizard Metronome, Prince Rhythm, King Jester, and Monster Claw.

As you can tell by the name of this series, . . . → Read More: Review: Tales of a Musical Journey

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Playing With Wolfgang

No one was more surprised than I when I conceived of the Menuetto to my Mozart Sonata as a heated discussion between a married couple. When I talked about it, my musical friends gave me funny smiles and quickly began to discuss the weather. I second guessed myself while driving to school and decided that . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang

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