January 1, 2020

One of the sweetest gifts a student gave me years ago was a poem she had a written for an English class titled "The Music Machine."  It was not about how the piano works, which we had discussed in lessons, but showed how much the student loved music and related to the piano.

On a more practical level, the piano is a machine, and it does require an understanding of how the machine works and how good body mechanics can help a musician play the piano easier and better.

I always discuss with students that the keys on the piano are levers (one of the simple machines most students learn in elementary school).  You press a key which flips a hammer up to strike strings that vibrate and create sound.  How f...

July 11, 2019

 You know the driver that "puts the pedal to the metal" all the time?  Never slows down, does not know what a brake is?  Eventually that driver is going to run over something.  Likewise, the pianist who keeps their foot on the pedal all the time or way too much is running over the rest of their musical expressiveness! 

Why do we use the damper pedal on the piano?  It can make Romantic period pieces and Popular pieces sound fuller and more resonant.  It can provide color in Impressionistic pieces, blending harmonies and making the sound more fluid.   The pedal can connect when our fingers cannot, such as with a jump bass.  It can help us create accents when we just pedal on downbeats....

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