Since beginning adult piano lessons a decade ago, I have tried to ignore my left hand. Fixated on the treble clef and my right hand, I viewed the bass clef as a nuisance, a mere accompaniment to the more seductive melody.
Almost everyone has struggled with at least one subject in high school. Mine was language.
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.
In this practice video, I play the first section of The Pearls, Burgmüller Opus 109. Unfortunately, my extended pinky problem made an unwelcome appearance.
My piano teacher said something useful (she often does). She said, “I don’t pay any attention to black or white notes, because they are all the same.”
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.
My grandfather, Harold, who lived to 91, could navigate routes through Pittsburgh even after he became legally blind. Harold advocated finesse behind the wheel.
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.
I recently experienced, in my study of Burgmuller’s Pastorale, the hazards of excessive practice.
I’m pleased to launch the first of my Students of Adult Piano Lessons Profiles, a series which will appear in an ongoing basis in this GRAND PIANO PASSION™ blog.
So instructed Chopin to one of his favorite students, Emile von Gretsch, a member of high society who also happened to be a gifted and hardworking amateur pianist.
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.