Piano Yoga: My Journey To Overcome Tension In Piano Playing

I began learning Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 during my freshman year of college.  When the piece started to gain tempo in certain passages, these passages felt difficult when I knew they shouldn’t, and for the first time, I started feeling like I was reaching some kind of physical “ceiling” in my playing.  This realization first consciously occurred to me while practicing the Chopin in a music department practice room.  Since no part of this ceiling was mental – I was able to fully comprehend the music in real time and I literally felt like my fingers couldn’t keep up with my brain – I felt certain that there ought to be a way for me to overcome it.  After all, the pianists who played the piece in all the recordings I owned certainly didn’t sound like they were struggling.  Why should I?

After thinking about this for several minutes in silence in the practice room, it occurred to me Continue reading

Piano Scale / Arpeggio Fingering Sheet & Progress Sheet

Scales and arpeggios have been an integral part of keyboard technique since before the piano was invented, and fingerings haven’t changed for hundreds of years.  So then, why do scale and arpeggio books continue to sell in sheet music stores?  I suppose it’s easier to have students buy these materials than it is to construct our own sheets.  As for me, I never saw the point of having students buy books devoted to scale and arpeggio fingerings when I could just take 15 seconds to write fingerings in their notebooks.

But that’s 15 seconds of wasted time.  Enough is enough.  (Hey, it adds up!)

I finally took many hours to construct Continue reading