Churchill, Maslow, and the Hula Dance Wrist Technique

I love a good Winston Churchill quote, and here’s one of my favorites:

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

Let’s take note reading as an example. Most of us have our tried-and-true methods of teaching students their lines and spaces. There are numerous note spellers, flash cards, mnemonic devices, . . . → Read More: Churchill, Maslow, and the Hula Dance Wrist Technique

Nothing but Net


Sorry it’s been awhile, but the semester’s recitals are over, so let the writing resume! Let’s talk about accuracy:

Let’s face it, accurate playing is important. And let’s be honest, when we tell students “the audience didn’t notice,” we’re lying. Big time. Audiences DO notice! They might not recognize that a particular note was . . . → Read More: Nothing but Net

A Lesson from Ballet Class, Part 2 (Burger Pedagogy)

As the dancers were doing one of their repetitive tendu exercises one day, the instructor said “one of my teachers once told me that every time you repeat a movement, you put a penny in the bank – and in performance, you get to cash it in.”

Now, forget all the clever epithets you’ve heard . . . → Read More: A Lesson from Ballet Class, Part 2 (Burger Pedagogy)

A Lesson from Ballet Class, Part 1

Being a piano teacher, most of my work is after school hours, so in the mornings, I’ve taken a job accompanying ballet classes at the local university. It’s been a fascinating experience, and I wanted to share some things that I think have some relevance to the piano lesson.

Ballet classes are typically structured in . . . → Read More: A Lesson from Ballet Class, Part 1

The Augmented Alberti Exercise

Here’s an exercise I use to help speed up Alberti bass figures:

First, sit so that the C above middle C is directly in front of you.

Second, turn your body to the right so that you’re facing the top C on the keyboard.

Third, practice this, using 5131 5131 for your fingering:

Doing . . . → Read More: The Augmented Alberti Exercise

Piano Playing – in 3D!

Two things inspired this post:

The first is Concert Hands, a completely ridiculous piece of technology that you strap on to your wrists and hands to help you learn to play. (Seriously, watch the video, it’s hilarious!)

The second is a description of a teaching technique in Julie Knerr’s excellent article on elementary technique in . . . → Read More: Piano Playing – in 3D!

Monkeys in the Tree

This week, I thought I’d share one of my favorite pieces, “Monkeys in the Tree” by Boris Berlin. It’s found in Celebration Series Repertoire Book 4, and it’s always a big hit for audiences and performers alike.

Repertoire selection is one of the keys to good teaching, but it’s very difficult to say exactly what . . . → Read More: Monkeys in the Tree