Piano technique update

Once again after a long pause I have time to write something here.I just had a very successful Weeks I and II of this year’s Institutes – the sound of each and every pianist at our closing recital was really gratifying. And the better the sound, the better possible emotional expression, which is what it’s all about.

Now I’m in Montreal, visiting old friends and old neighbourhoods, a very special exerience. And one new friend, Carla Dempsey who bought my DVD awhile back and teaches piano lessons on Percival Avenue where I grew up in Montreal West, has some new piano teaching stories. She gets bored very easily so does all sorts of things to keep the lessons interesting for both her and her students. She’ll do things like taking the scissors to a score: if the student doesn’t like the middle section, let’s just cut it out! And her best story: an old Montreal teacher, to keep students’ wrists from descending too low, put tacks all along the keyslip, turned upwards! Now that’s the way to make your wrists behave!!

My third book, All Thumbs, is now published, and a pattern is beginning to emerge. As I told the group at Smith College, my first book focused on building the arch up into its stable expression that possesses the maximum in structural integrity, like a baby standing up for the first time. The second book aims to bring the arch into a state of unstable equilibrium to make it more moveable and capable, like a baby now walking. The third brings your hand back to crawling like a snake on the keyboard, putting that baby back on its stomach and dismantling the arch completely to discover an even great capacity for inner moveability.

I think some students left Smith more confused then when they arrived, but my goal is empowerment, and for that to happen sometimes you just have to live with the confusion for awhile…


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