Thursday, 31 December 2015

Piano Teaching: Diagnosis and Treatment in Cyber

The miracle of technology allows a micro-review of a student's physical relationship to the keyboard, magnifying problems that need thoughtful remedy. Today, I felt akin to a radiologist examining x-rays in great detail, looking for areas of concern, if not glaring pathology.

A student whom I teach Online, was having difficulty playing a D Major scale.

Staring at me in full screen mode, was his skittish relationship to the whole tonal landscape: Given the pupil's un-centered hands, with some fingers curled in and going shallow on white keys, where others headed toward the blacks with an edgy gesture forward, the scale was impaired.

Without a geo-CENTERED approach, the player would be eternally frustrated.

In a miraculous click of a mouse, the student was sent a video of his scale travels that pinpointed problem areas.

The curative phase ensued, focused on blocking out chunks of notes with featherlight thumbs passing through them. The "blocks" or "chunks" were well-"centered," forming "tunnels" through which the thumbs would pass swiftly and unpretentiously.

(Too often, students allowed the thumb to pull down their hands, interrupting singing legato streams of notes in the scale frame, with toxic consequence.)

Gradually, the pupil applied significant adjustments to his scales (and arpeggios) that improved them.

In the final analysis, technology afforded a necessary examination of the hand/finger/keyboard triad that benefitted both teacher and student.

Original Content: Piano Teaching: Diagnosis and Treatment in Cyber

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