Giants, Gems and Genres: A Journey through the Top 40 Solo Piano Works  Composed Since 1945

The Performance of Rhythm:
Interpreting Meter and Notation in Piano Literature

This lecture demonstration is designed to help interpreters gain a distinct understanding of meter, rhythmic structures and notation. The importance of this lecture is its focus on deciphering notational puzzles in the repertoire for the purpose of interpretation and performance. Many of the ideas for this lecture come out of the research I did for my dissertation:

Interpreting the Rhythmic Structures of Paul Creston, D.M.A. dissertation, University of North Texas, Denton, 1991.

The Enigma of Tempo

"Tempo," or the performance speed of a piece of music, is one of the most subjective, yet essential elements in performance practice. The proper or improper choice of tempo affects all other elements of music in performance.

This lecture/demonstration briefly surveys those indications in music which best point to the proper tempo in keyboard music. This is with the understanding that ultimately, tempo cannot be ascertained in a purely analytical manner; determining tempo is more art than science.

Putting a Strong and Versatile Technique
Within Your Student's Grasp

  • step-by-step approach to teaching technique from the beginning to advanced levels
  • the most natural use of the finger, hand, wrist and arm
  • isolating and re-combining movements
  • interesting exercises and memorable hints
  • technique illustrated in a variety of well-known teaching pieces
  • relationship between technique and historical styles
  • the integration of rhythm and technique
  • interactive learning (including "hands-on" for willing volunteers)

Lecture-Demonstration on the reduced-sized (7/8) keyboard

With the advent of an excellent new technology for retrofitting standard pianos with a reduced-size keyboard, a new frontier has opened up for pianists with small hands. This new territory is open for those pianists and educators willing to make the paradigm shift in exploring the musical and technical benefits of the smaller size.

The lecture includes live demonstration on the piano as well as video of my college students, their child-students, and myself playing excerpts on both the reduced and traditional keyboard. The results of the study are described and there is a structured interactive time for members of the audience to (1) experiment with the keyboard and (2) ask questions and engage in discussion.

Playing the Dampers:
A lecture-demonstration on articulation and touch

A mastery of touch is essential to texture, character, and style. This lecture addresses the largely ignored area of developing sensitivity to the release of the dampers for perfection of touch.

  • Piano Articulation and Touch
  • Controlling the dampers
  • Exercises for the development of touch
  • Stylistic considerations of articulation

Simple Solutions to Common Problems in Piano Technique

My purpose in this session is to offer some basic solutions to some very challenging technical problems and obstacles. To that end, I have chosen 7 of the most common problems that I encounter with students:

  • Banishing Flat Fingers
  • Shoring up Wobbly Joints
  • Improving Ragged Scales
  • Relieving Finger and Hand Tension
  • Tired Fingers
  • Avoiding Wrist Stiffness
  • Reaching Beyond the Octave

Shared Learning in Technique Classes

Presents a model for developing technical skills in a small class setting, rather than in individual private lessons. Not only have my technique classes been highly effective instructionally in improving performance skills, but also in the instruction of pedagogical principles. The curriculum is presented along with specific goals and ideas for success.