Jeremy Denk says he never plays a piece of music the same way twice. Reading that, as a longtime fan of the celebrated pianist, reminded me of an issue I’ve been thinking about for a while: At what point will I have finished learning a composition? Does the finish line come when I have played the music at a consistent tempo?
Piano practice guidance
Bringing Joni Mitchell into a Chopin Nocturne
On a whim, I slipped a Joni Mitchell songbook into my tote bag along with my classical piano scores, before scrambling for my keys and rushing out the door for my session at the new music studio where I’ve been practicing once a week, since I don’t have a piano at home.
Practice Listening with Your Memory
Think of a simple song. “Happy Birthday” will do. Imagine the rhythm of the words, the bouncing melody soaring out of you as you make the birthday candles flicker. Hear the happy crowd harmonizing. Feel the music building to a rousing climax as everyone belts out “to you!” at the end.
How to Memorize Piano Music, With Help from Music Theory
This past summer, armed with 12 years of weekly lessons and two years of music theory, I achieved a goal I never thought possible—memorizing a piece of music.
Four Hands: Piano Duet Pair Anna and Dmitri Shelest
The piano duet pair Anna Shelest and Dmitri Shelest first met at the Kharkiv Special Music School in Ukraine when they were 12 years old.
My Teacher Made Me Practice… DURING My Lesson
For many years, I regarded my adult piano lessons as showtime. Of course my teacher and I worked through the material, but I saw the lesson primarily as a chance to perform work I had accomplished the week before.
Rushing Haydn in Adult Piano Lessons
I have never been one to do anything slowly. I entered high school at age 12, college at 16, and was a vice president in a male-dominated industry at 30. That is, until I studied Haydn.
Practicing Classical Piano Music in Your Mind
I fell in love with the Chopin Nocturne in E-flat Major after I heard the work performed in concert. Five times the melody arched up over an octave, as though calling out.
Burgmüller’s Opus 109 Amplified
In this practice video, I play the first section of The Pearls, Burgmüller Opus 109. Unfortunately, my extended pinky problem made an unwelcome appearance.
Press Record to Improve Your Sound
Several years ago, my piano teacher, Stephen Wu, suggested in his low-key manner that I record myself when I practiced. I allowed a lot of time to elapse before I finally worked up the courage to follow his suggestion, despite his occasional, gentle reminders.