Ready or Not!

The Curmudgeon curmunicates, “When I was still posting to that teachers’ group, somebody asked, ‘Why are the ‘Pathétique’ and ‘Moonlight’ so hard to teach?’ And I answered, ‘Because so few students are ready to learn them!’ Read More »

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The Tool Chest of Piano Technique

In the old days, a workman applying for a job showed the foreman his tool chest, and the foreman judged the quality of his work by the quality and condition of his tools and the chest itself. Perhaps the most famous tool chest in U.S. history is that of 19th-century master carpenter H. O. Studley, who made pianos. Each tool is held in its unique holder, ready for use.

Like Mr. Studley, we pianists have our own tools: the piano techniques we’ve mastered and that our practicing keeps in perfect condition, ready for use on demand.

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The Critic’s Fallacy

The Critic’s Fallacy, also known as the Fallacy of the Web Discussion Group, is to think that because one does not participate in an activity, but only comments from afar, one therefore knows more than those who spend their guts on it.

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Backstage

Lying

If you go backstage after a concert, you compliment the performer. If this requires lying, you lie. If you can’t compliment honestly, and can’t lie, don’t go backstage. Read More »

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Tune and Tone

Pianists often speak of piano tone as a fixed quality of an instrument. “This piano has a harsh tone,” they say, as they might say “This piano’s a seven-foot grand.” But tone is affected by many factors: the “crown” of the soundboard, the quality and condition of the strings, the shape and texture of the hammers. And whether the instrument’s in tune. Read More »

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Something’s Scwewy Awound Heah!

You run into odd things in the performing arts, especially from non-performers. People thinking—

-Musicians are stupid. Read More »

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Intuition and Chocolates

On Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood long ago, a little square building was home to ERNA Chocolates, named for the late wife of the owner, Naftali Blumenau. Mr. Blumenau and his lady companion made the best chocolates ever. I went and bought some pretty often. Read More »

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Call me Wolfgang

Funny we want to be described as "gifted," which we can’t take credit for, and not as "hard-working," which we can take credit for.

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Joyous Music-Making

Miserable Music-Making: If I can’t do something, that means I must deserve not to be able to do it. Read More »

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Donnez-moi ein Break! (Time Off From Piano Practicing)

Ten seconds – Hands off keys; stand up; take deep breath; yell at piano, composer or self; laugh; sit; play. Read More »

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