We'll talk about the way the hand has to move toward the key and we'll basically extend the story of the first piano lesson. This piano technique was developed in the romantic period as the piano became closer in shape and technique to the pianos exsiting today. The big advantage of the new piano, as opposed to the clavichord and Cemballo's, is its ability to produce a wide rage of dynamics.
So it is now possible for the first time to produce more power, more loudness by using the weight of the whole arm. Before, we could maybe try to do it but the piano wouldn't respond to it as it would later on.
Instead of using the weight of the whole arm they would keep the hand stable and loose and concentrate on moving each and every fingers seperately. It's important to realize that once you pressed a key you can't do anything in order to control its sound. Once you're done with this exercise you'll be fully aware of these actions and they'll become automatic.
So, as I explained before, as opposed to the whole arm technique we're going to only move each finger separately when using the active fingers playing on the piano key. What we're going to do is position our right hand on the middle C position again and start climbing up to C to G and back. This time we'll keep the hand position steady, we'll make sure the wrist is loose and that our hand isn't stiff. We'll try to move the thumb only, then switch to the second finger and leave the thumb only once the second finger is pressed. We'll continue that way by making sure we're loose and that we only move one finger at a time. Before we'll drop a finger to a piano key we'll first raise it up in order to give it extra distance to go through in order to produce a clearer sound.
Now that you know the concept behind falling to the piano key you can concentrate on learning how to read piano notes and go further with your piano technique. If you want to become a better piano player you should definitely check out the Rocket Piano Ultimate Learning kit. You're going to love the way they work systemically with the help of their useful audio and video files that are short and to the point. College athletes with the sole goal in life of playing in the NFL or the NBA are probably setting themselves up for failure.
I believe that even today, in most institutions, the skills most critical to a successful musical career are grossly neglected, if not outright ignored.
When I know a student is going to pursue a career in music, it makes an enormous difference in my teaching approach.
I propose that, to build a career in music, musicians should strive to be as diverse in their knowledge as possible.
To prepare for improvising in front of an audience, I had several lessons and conversations with jazz performers. I talked with various jazz musicians about their practice and teaching methods and used these to teach myself over the course of several months. In the moment of the performance I was constantly thinking about the large-scale form of my cadenza.
Even if you don’t know what they do, it is easy to understand that the white keys and the black keys are different from each other. Making the transition from banging on the keys indiscriminately to finding and playing specific keys can be a struggle. First, we practiced playing only white keys or black keys at one time, so I could make sure that my kid was ready to understand the difference between them. We already knew the difference betwen noise and quiet, so now we have two categories of noise: black-key noise and white-key noise, represented by the white and black circles. The problem boils down to a bad habit present in many pianists: hearing everything in staccato.
Getting a student to practice consistently is a familiar problem for most teachers, maybe because this cramming habit is ingrained in many children. A typical method, making the parents supervise the kid and sign a practice sheet of some sort, doesn’t always work. Practicing in short 10-minute sessions was something that I thought was exclusive to children and beginners, to hold their interest. After a few months of learning some repertoire by almost exclusively practicing in this way,  I’m pleasantly surprised with the results so far. One of my earliest musical memories is of me and my brother as toddlers dancing around while our father played a record of this concerto with Alicia de Larrocha. Magic is the word that best describes Mompou’s music, a meaning to be taken literally in his 1920-21 work Charmes.
Contrary to what happens with the majority of serialist music, which is more interesting to analyze than it is to play or listen to, Mompou suffers from analysis. Does this music do what Mompou intends it to do, that is, “alleviate suffering”? The tempi and articulation are up in the air most of the time and the music is completely devoid of expression marks, time signatures, bar lines or tempo markings. I find that the biggest problem with Satie, much like eighteenth-century French harpsichord music, is in the characterization.
The fact is that a good Satie interpretation is a very delicate thing, there’s much more to it than just picking a tempo and trying to make pretty noise. One of my favorite twentieth century pieces is Morton Feldman’s Piano and String Quartet. I find that the Prelude to the second act of Le fils des etoiles, by Erik Satie has some elements that are very Feldmanesque, not a small feat considering that it was composed 100 years before Piano and String Quartet, while the rest of Europe was still playing to Wagner’s beat.
There is a special expression in the way asymmetric patterns and structures that are not quite perfect work. Just as the first prelude, L’initiation is written without bar-lines or time signature and has all sorts of quirky, baffling performance indications.
Satie was always credited by Ravel as being the mind behind the french impressionist movement. The music is very immobile and detached, a complete departure from the prevailing aesthetic of Wagnerian romanticism –the irony of this work being used for a play for a sect that included Wagner in their daily prayers was certainly not lost on Satie. The score has no bar-lines or time signature, something that hadn’t been done since the renaissance. I am just one wave forming one curl, crashing once onto some remote beach somewhere in time.
Then we lift our finger(s) - If we leave our finger(s) too early it creates pauses between the notes which bother the musical idea.
However, athletes that are prepared to play several sports, coach, train teams, and run sports-related businesses are equipped to succeed in their careers, regardless of the circumstances. Many instrument teachers’ approach can be reduced to “learn this piece and eventually play it very well, then learn a harder piece and eventually play it very well…” repeated from the moment a student enters school until they graduate.


It becomes my responsibility not only to help those students learn a handful of pieces, but to give them the other necessary tools for a career in music. They should be able to read music fluently, improvise, arrange and have at least a functional knowledge of conducting, composition and performance in more than one style; every musician should have at least elementary keyboard abilities and every pianist knowledge of vocal technique. Although I was lucky to have very good teachers, my instruction was always limited to playing the works I was assigned, and then learning some new ones.
I am currently based in Western Michigan University, home of some of the most exciting jazz musicians performing today and they were an invaluable resource. Finding practice strategies that would not encourage me to repeat the same material every time was a fundamental problem. I began by studying other cadenzas for this and other Mozart concertos – often from recordings since they are frequently performers’ own compositions and not publicly available – and then worked to replicate them as closely as possible. My practice methods helped me build up hundreds of licks (most interchangeable with any other Mozart concerto), accompaniment patterns, and chord progressions that would help me go from one key to another or develop a particular theme. All you need to know is black from white, something that most toddlers know by the time they’re two years old. Toddlers can play the piano, cats can play the piano… you can drop a shoe on the keyboard and it will play the piano. Other instruments need pushing, pulling, blowing, and squeezing in order to produce and maintain sound. For any other instrument, holding a musical note takes effort; there is air or bow movement that must be maintained until the note ends. While they can be helpful in teaching children, the goal should be to teach that a piano can sing, that notes don’t stop after you press the key.
It worked for me with Gershwin, since it ended up being more improvisatory and spontaneous because the interpretation wasn’t too grounded and overly drilled. When I get absolute beginners in my class I recommend that they practice in short sessions of 10 minutes, two sessions per day.
With recitals and concerts looming in the horizon, the second one is not really an option at all, unless I want to quit playing completely — by the way,  is there a term for giving up the piano? An obvious advantage to practicing in this way is in the increased focus on solving problem spots and going straight to the point each time I sit down to play. At least much better than the 4-5 hour non-stop practice marathons I’d stupidly do back in music school.
After that, I would make some sort of sequence using the second theme while modulating to E minor and then come back to G major.
I was really quite clever: I combined themes with one another, played them in unexpected harmonies, and quoted little snippets from the orchestral part of the concerto. I tend to overplay when things should be simple and transparent; I use variation when things should just repeat.
This approach towards composition is a great example of what Mompou’s music is about. What Mompou fully appreciated, decades before John Cage talked about everything around us being music, is that every chord, every motif, every note has an intrinsic beauty and meaning that is completely independent of what a composer does with it. The first piece in Charmes is  just a short Debussyian fragment of a melody repeated exactly the same four times over an ostinato pattern in the left hand, with very slight coloring shifts in the harmony. There are two reasons why Satie is so difficult to play right: the very disparate extremes of character in his compositions and the amount of trust that Satie places in the hands of his interpreters.
In place of standardized musical terminology you are faced with wacky comments, such as like a nightingale with a toothache or it’s finally going to end! The imbalance in the music immediately calls attention from the listener and, in the hands of the right composer, it becomes fascinating. Here is another use of asymmetry; the beginning gives the impression that he will repeat the same sequence, but he departs from it in the third repetition, going down a fourth instead of a second and replacing the octave with a minor ninth. The role he played in the history of music was that of a great experimenter, every few works moving into new ground. This composition by Satie included incidental music for the whole play, probably scored for flutes and harps (and recently re-orchestrated for that instrumentation by Toru Takemitsu), but Satie only published the preludes to each act for piano. And that wave makes a small imperceptible change in the slope of the sand, upon which at some point in time a baby turtle will walk across, leaving his trail for just an instant, before the tide washes it clean.
After you've left the 1st finger fall again to the D key with your 2nd finger and perform the same action. Thousands of music students every year enter the best universities and conservatories with a similarly improbable goal in mind: to join one of the top orchestras or to become a famous soloist, yet the odds of attaining a full-time position in a good orchestra or being able to make a career of touring and playing concerts exclusively are astronomical.
They’ll even actively discourage students from getting too involved in other courses lest it take away valuable practice time — especially common with pianists, who don’t have the time in the orchestra to balance out the many hours spent as a shut-in.
Most of the time, this results in a greater emphasis on often neglected aspects of a pianist’s education, such as sight-reading and singing, harmonic analysis, improvisation and accompaniment. 467 with an orchestra in northern Mexico, the Orquesta Filarmonica del Estado de Chihuahua.
My purpose in composing the cadenza was to imbue the concerto with spontaneity, to embrace the juxtaposition of an improvisatory cadenza and the rigidity of classical form. The differences between improvising in jazz and Mozartian style quickly became apparent; jazz has a high tolerance for inaccuracy and a low tolerance for the unoriginal, completely the opposite of improvisation in the Viennese classical style. Transcribing these cadenzas by ear and replicating them helped immensely, and I can understand why transcribing solos by ear is such an important part of jazz pedagogy. Doing this helped me gain insight into certain characteristics of the different material in the concerto that I had overlooked before.
This allowed me to focus more on where I was going and how I was going to get there than on the mechanics of a specific passage. As I performed, I remembered other cadenzas I’d transcribed, all the other music I had studied, and I drew from it for my own performance. The same cannot be said about many other aspects of the keyboard, which require knowing left from right or more complicated spatial reasoning. I prefer to start with the things that are immediately obvious about the piano and gradually work our way to specifics, one element at a time. String players spend weeks learning how to hold their instruments properly and most people can’t get a clean musical note out of a wind instrument on their first try. Often, we mistake this for teaching the movements themselves rather than what they are for.
Clearly, this doesn’t work in the same way with a musical instrument, or at least not very well. However, recently I’ve found that practicing in short little bursts like these gives really good results for a professional as well.
It also probably has to do with the way the piece grows in the mind between practice sessions. I showed off my broken octaves and sixths and all sorts of cool harmonic tricks I’d picked up from different parts of the concerto (especially that amazing variant on a simple progression along the circle of fifths that is right after the second theme.) So, when I was done, what did she say? What results of this aesthetic is music with long ostinati, frequent repetition and in which harmony has no functional meaning, but is profoundly connected with timbre.
After all, the use of music for its magical properties is something that has been a part of every culture since we started walking upright.


He writes delicate, refined, Schubert-like melodies that were intended for the cabaret, to be belted out by a booze-soaked, raspy-voiced singer while, for a solemn, grand-scale work like Les fils des etoiles, he fills the dissonant score with eccentric comments and a huge dedication, poking fun at the seriousness of the event.
Another problem here is that most pianists approach Satie’s music with preconceived notions about his music, failing to take into account the wildly differing changes of style from one piece to the next. Things you pick up by knowing the composer’s life and work in-depth and, most of all, by really loving the music and being truly convinced that what you are playing is a great work of art. Feldman’s music tends to have rhythms that seem free and floating, with slow evolution and asymmetric patterns, his later music also tends to be very long.
The other element in common, which is much more technical, is the way they both use repeating asymmetric patterns in their music. Unlike Debussy which, in this period, was still using traditional harmonic functions and writing tonal music, the preludes to Le fils des etoiles are atonal and the parallel-moving tritone on top of the fourths already makes possible a proto-polytonality, due to the voices moving in completely different tonal planes. It’s not enough to attain a suitable level of skill in performance and teaching abilities but one has to engage in multiple aspects of musical life. The result of this teaching approach is a student that can play a handful of works but with no guarantee that the student understands the process involved in learning them. This will necessarily take time away from the “learn a handful of pieces very well by drilling them repeatedly” aspect of traditional piano teaching. Every musician should be a competent teacher and be familiar with diverse pedagogical methods and the appropriate material for different age groups and types of students. This particular concerto is among Mozart’s most popular, frequently performed works, and I was concerned with finding ways of bringing something entirely new to my performance.
By fearing the uncertain and performing only the most successful versions of my cadenza repeatedly, I was taking away from my performance. I also came to realize that there is an enormous difference in the performance experience of inserting different interchangeable “licks” into my already established cadenza framework, as a jazz player improvises on a given melody or progression, and creating a new framework for each performance. Improvising a cadenza would be as much about improvising a balanced large-scale form, with its tonal centers and modulations, as it would be about improvising at the small scale. In the process, I isolated specific licks that were characteristic of the style, that appeared repeatedly in different works and cadenzas. I have felt this connection to history and to other performers in the practice room, but never to this degree in a public performance.
Then practice making lots of noise or lifting your hands and being quiet when you point to one or the other. Showing the difference between black and white keys is a great next step because it only requires adding one more element to what we already know. A professional could probably get away with it once in a while, but having to deal with students that try to practice this way is extremely frustrating. In both cases, the notes left my head almost as fast as they went in, I wouldn’t be able to play a single note of either of those pieces right now, even with a gun to my head.
Either between students, or in the little while in which my 8-month baby is absorbed with some particular toy and doesn’t demand my presence. After a while, I noticed that the beginning of the development section would be a nice way to start the cadenza, maybe changing it to major instead of the original minor key, so I added that. It’s like taking a beautiful gemstone in your hands and turning it, watching the light play on its surface. While one may just hear the same thing over and over, someone else will allow himself to be swept away. I believe that, besides the experimental nature of his music, there is great substance in what he wrote.
In only a few minutes of music, Satie uses harmonic techniques that were unheard of in the music of his time and predates an aesthetic that has much more in common with the music of Morton Feldman or Toru Takemitsu than with any of his contemporaries. The student can’t communicate the process to others and ultimately will not have the means to find an audience for that handful of works. They should be able to work with other people, as part of a team in smaller ensembles or under a director in bigger groups. Looking back, every single one of those experiences has been as useful, if not more, than the handful of pieces I learned in school. Since there is no cadenza by Mozart available for this concerto, I initially decided to compose the cadenza. To remedy this, I decided to improvise a new cadenza in every performance; I decided to confront my fear of the unknown and embark on a search for freedom in playing this music.
I also improvised countless variations over the framework of specific themes, chord progressions, or accompaniment patterns and often used jazz-specific pedagogical methods such as playing fragments of the melody and improvising new endings or beginnings, inserting rests and stops at different places, or experimenting with inserting sections from one part of the work into other parts of the chord progression.
It was an incredibly exciting experience, a rush that I have rarely experienced when playing classical music in the traditional way. I also felt a sense of  physicality, an idea of space and a freedom to move about that space that I had not experienced in traditional performance. Even a single daily 10-minute practice session each day is better than skipping a couple of days and then undergoing a two-hour practice marathon before the lesson. Every time I play it I have to resist the temptation to tack on more unnecesary stuff to it again.
Note his use of asymmetry, he could have built the chord using only perfect fourths but he adds an augmented fourth right in the middle of the chord. The aesthetic of his writing is so far beyond romanticism or impressionism that it is no surprise that his music wasn’t fully appreciated until the second half of the twentieth century. Musicians should be able to express themselves in writing, speak in front of an audience, and use the Internet, notation software, and recording software competently.
Getting this practicing habit across is a recurring problem when teaching children, and a big headache for most teachers. Every time I practiced it I would add a little more, never noticing what my cadenza was turning into. This gives the chord a kind of metallic quality, a distinctive dissonance that alters the way it rings.
Since I never wrote it down, it preserved a certain flexibility that allowed me to create variations for specific passages while retaining the underlying framework. I can honestly say that I am a different musician thanks to this experiment and I highly recommend it. In a way similar to jazz improvisation, there were countless “licks” that I could play for a particular section that would be true to the style and work in my cadenza’s framework. Jazz musicians will often learn these licks and study how other musicians use them in their own improvisation, gradually evolving their own musical language. It allowed me to abandon many of my fears and take part in an expansive and free form of musical performance to which I had closed myself before.
For example, a four-measure ascending line connecting the end of the main theme with a long trill on the dominant could take the form of a chromatic scale, a broken V7 arpeggio, or more complicated elaborations using different types of ornamental notes.



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