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 »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Iced Coffee and Fantasies

Iced coffee with the Curmudgeon the other day. He’s recently back from his summer festival; still “inspired”—rather negatively, I fear—by this year’s experience.

“I swear,” he said, swirling cream into his glass, “some people do not want to play expressively. Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Glued to the Keys

Our fingers press keys down to play notes; and without realizing it, we may be imagining pulling the fingers up to end the notes, as though the fingers were glued to the keys. But we needn’t lift the fingers; the keys will do that for us. All we need do is stop holding them down. Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Needles and Trust

The first time I went to Dr. A., an acupuncturist, she used the needles and said that she’d then show me a useful exercise. Twenty minutes later I was off the table, sitting in a chair and wondering if she’d forgotten about the exercise. When I asked, she surprised me by saying, “You’re not ready yet.” I was more surprised when I looked inside myself and realized she was right. Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unnecessary Teachers

As teachers, we want our students eventually to work on their own—learning repertoire, acquiring technique, forming interpretations, giving performances, deciding what to do next—and teaching their own students. Our job is thus to make ourselves unnecessary; Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment