Looking down at our hands as we play breaks the continuity of reading, prevents us from looking ahead, and undermines concentration. Yet for many piano students, even some who have played for years, it is a frequent temptation.
Tendonitis Courtesy of Mozart…Not Tennis
“It’s tendonitis,” the doctor said, cradling my left arm. “Playing a lot of tennis?”
Understanding Tempo Rubato
For several years after I reclaimed my passion for the piano, I struggled with the concept of tempo rubato.
Simone Dinnerstein for Piano Students of All Ages
When I joined the concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein in her home studio, I asked questions not as a classical music critic or a piano pedagogue.
Bottoms-Up with Sight-Reading
Fellow Stumblers: I suspect there are no quick answers to sight-reading classical piano music and perhaps also no magical moment where sight-reading just happens (though I sometimes dream there is). I do know that it does gradually get better.
Lowered Shoulders: When Piano Technique Spreads Out to Life
When I enrolled in adult piano lessons in my early forties, after a twenty-five year hiatus, my piano teacher, Stephen, pointed out that I held my shoulders scrunched up towards my neck.
A Score Without the Piano in Adult Lessons
During my first year of adult piano lessons, my piano teacher Stephen had the temerity to suggest that I study the score away from the piano.
No Pedal Please: A New Approach in Adult Piano Lessons
My grandfather, Harold, who lived to 91, could navigate routes through Pittsburgh even after he became legally blind. Harold advocated finesse behind the wheel.
The Case of the Extended Pinky
Last summer, when I clicked through photographs for my website, I noticed something amiss on the shots of my hands at the piano. The pinky of my right hand, rather than cupping over the keys, jutted straight out, flexed with an unnatural tension.
Using a Metronome to Master Piano Trills
Sometimes gripping something one wants out of life is an effective strategy. But in the case of Chopin’s C-sharp minor Nocturne, my determination resulted in a tensed hand, preventing me from playing these piano trills without sufficient fluidity or speed.