Pianist to Pianist

A collection of pianistic, pedagogical, methodical, musical, artistic, and cultural contemplations, concepts, observations, and concerns, from pianist to pianist, pedagogue to pedagogue, musician to musician and from a curious and critical observer.

Like the jeweler or watch maker, looking through a diamond lens, operate a precision instrument resting their hands on the table to have a point of reference, and painters, e.g. Dali, use a maulstick to control fine paintbrush strokes, we, when playing with fine finger...

"Good show". What an awful and completely inappropriate expression for the offering and sharing of an artist.

"Good job". How terrible and underwhelming. When a plumber installs a toilet and it's not leaking, that is a 'good job'.

"Well done" is not much better; but it's an appropriate expression for the preparation of steak.

What should one say?

You have to meet the Great Composer from the past at some point in your life through his music. That's what you prepare, study, and practice for. To meet him not formally, bound by etiquette, but encounter him personally. For that encounter you have to...

The quality of double dotted rhythm exercise is imperative. Don't play uneven, limping scales or groups! Play short burst of notes (a sprint or dash, as William Mason referred to the approach, or method, after it was invented and introduced by, amongst others, Ludwig Deppe...

Fingerings for scales, arpeggios, and more generally passages are principally based on groups or clusters. Clusters are based on the notes lying under one hand (or fist, as Beethoven termed it), a thumb transition usually defines a new cluster. The more clusters in a passage, the higher the possible resolution for articulation; the fewer, the higher the possible speed. Seek to understand the underlying fingering principles of clusters and apply accordingly.

Chromatic scales fingerings:

Always listen to the dynamic line of the melody, like to the volatile wind; like a pathfinder paying attention to patterns - the line of prints on the ground reveal a narrative. Always pay attention to phrases, like to the cycles of nature; from beginning to...

Repeat 7 to 20 times, more than 3; and each repetition as if there is only that one chance to get it right.

1 The main objective in the first three repetitions is to ensure that all the notes, fingerings, articulation, dynamics, etc. are correct in the ornament, passage, line, phrase, cadence, sonata exposition, or any part of the composition. Continue until satisfactory, always apply highest standards.

2 Then: ensure that your position at the keyboard is correct and comfortable, spine balanced, no unreleased tension - that might take one or more repetitions.

3 Then: ensure that your arm is moving - sometimes invisibly, sometimes in wave like motion; and that the arm is balanced on an imaginary pivot; this might take one or more repetitions.

4 If applicable: ensure that the weight, turned momentum, is transmitted into the keyboard by a forward down movement; this can take a whole bunch of repetitions.

5 If applicable: ensure that the wrist is stable and transmitting the energy from the arm, or providing guidance and support to finger independence; this or that will take some repetitions.

6 If applicable: ensure that fingers are relaxed and ready on the cluster; this should be repeated at a very slow speed.

7 Always: play it as a musical composition - with expression; even if it's a C-major scale.