Why Piano Students Should Know Jacqueline Du Pre’s Playing of—Piano!

Because it’s a delight. The Curmudgeon comments, “Playing the cello, she sometimes seemed to be playing a different instrument from others. It’s interesting, though, that her piano-playing showed Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Interpretation of Interpretation

The first wonderful sight-reading I experienced was Lucy Spitzer’s flawless playing of the Berg Sonata in my teacher’s studio when I was 15 or so. Before then I had no idea how good reading could be; or, we might say, what reading even was! Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Responses

21st-Century Piano Study

The 21st-century student, like students of yesterday, arrives at university or conservatory eager to be recognized, eager to express his or her individuality, and uncertain about his or her place in the music world. Also like students of yesterday, he or she likely arrives with substantial gaps in intellectual knowledge, physical competence and musical mastery. Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Almond and Orange

Too warm for a fire today, here in West L.A. Predicted high is 68; my “fireplace max” is 60. (OK, there have been days I’ve made a fire at a chilly 5:30 A.M., kept it going all morning for cozy practicing, and emerged at noon to find it 80 F outside.) Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Moving Performance

As Franck’s Prélude, Choral and Fugue moves through passage after fortissimo passage, the piano is moving, too—away from me. I’m already leaning forward to keep my hands on the keys. Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Do Hands Talk to Ears?

A physicist student of mine was looking for a used grand. In six or eight weeks, we checked a number of instruments in stores and homes. At first she didn’t observe much, largely forgetting each piano by the time we reached the next. Then quite suddenly she started saying things like, "This one has sweeter treble than the last," or, "This action feels like molasses. The others felt freer." Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Responses

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment



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 »

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment