A Fly on the Wall at an Adult Piano Lesson

by | Sep 30, 2013

In this exclusive video, Cosmo Buono alternates teaching an adult piano lesson with his student Hector Rodriguez, with a conversation with Nancy M. Williams.

Since my recent return to piano practice, I’ve been looking for advice to guide me in my study of classical piano music. I found it helpful to be a fly on the wall during an adult piano lesson taught by Cosmo Buono, in this video excerpt from the archives of GRAND PIANO PASSION™. The renowned piano teacher provides helpful reminders about how important it is to get the fingering down with slow practice before you can move ahead with a particular passage; and the need to exaggerate pinky notes in order to bring out the melody.

What was particularly interesting to me was Cosmo’s discussion about musical interpretation with his adult piano student. Finding my own way of interpreting a piece is a challenge for me now. As a kid taking lessons, I would follow my teacher’s (brilliant) suggestions for using dynamics, touch, and timing to “shape” a piece. And nowadays, I fall into the trap of imitating the performances I’ve listened to online. I love how Cosmo encourages his adult student in this video clip to find his own meaning in the piece and a natural, personal way of expressing it.

It was also the perfect time for me to hear Cosmo’s philosophy about gratitude. As it happened, I had just been thinking a lot about my childhood piano teacher, who was not only an excellent instructor, but a wonderful person to have in my life for 12 years. She somehow managed to be playful and strict at the same time; and calling our twice-yearly recitals “piano parties” was pure genius. Most of my current progress in piano practice feels like it’s being passed down from her. With this nudge from Cosmo, it’s definitely time to contact her and tell her how much I appreciate everything she did for me.

Cosmo Buono, a Steinway Artist, has performed as a solo pianist in North America, Europe, and Japan. The Artistic Director of the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition, he also is a Co-Chairman of Alexander & Buono International, a consulting firm for the classical musician. He co-authored the book The Classical Musician Today: Getting and Keeping the Career You Want.


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