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#2618357 - 02/26/17 11:12 PM Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
Hi,

I decided to sign up for a 3 month,$94, online beginner-intermediate course based upon the Russian School of Piano Playing by Nikoleav. I'll create some ongoing notes for others who may in the future contemplate signing up for the course.

pianocareer.com

1) So far the content is extremely well thought out with excellent presentation. The instructor clearly wants the students to understand the material as it would be presented in a one on one setting.

2) Thorough instruction on fundamentals with emphasis on technique, the holistic relaxed body, arm, wrist motion, intonation dynamics, the equality of the LH and RH all of which are a hallmark of the Russian Method she is presenting.

3) The instructor explains the purpose of each of primary pieces in the Nikoleav book, demonstrates the technique and sounds that should be produced, advices about potential problems, and suggests ways to practice. The videos are very professional and easy to follow. She also provides information for teachers who may be using her course.

This was the first day and I am extremely satisfied with the content and presentation thus far. Even though I have already worked through half of book 1, I am starting from the beginning so that I can review all of the instructor's video instruction.

The videos are embedded in a forum such as this one, so you can read comments made by her students as well as her answers. Often, she created new videos to answer the students questions which are linked in the forum.

This is going to be lots of fun for me, since I was looking for a course that was hotter-focused on developing good technique in both hands so as to be able to produce exceptional dynamics. More later. I'll be happy to answer questions, but I've just started and there many, many more videos that cover all of the Nikoleav books and then proceed to go deep into intermediate instruction.



Edited by Richrf (02/27/17 08:32 AM)
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My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

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#2618375 - 02/27/17 02:13 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Stopparde Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/16
Posts: 38
Richrf,
Is it $94 a month or for 3 months ?
Also, are the videos downloadable or just streaming ?
Thanks.

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#2618396 - 02/27/17 04:31 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
barbaram Offline

500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/13
Posts: 818
Hi Richrf
Sounds like you are off to a very positive start with this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it's both helpful and interesting

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#2618434 - 02/27/17 08:16 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
bSharp(C)yclist Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/16
Posts: 586
Loc: Orange County, California
I look forward to hearing more about this. Is there any sort of video exchange process, where a teacher can comment on how you play?
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#2618445 - 02/27/17 08:44 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: bSharp(C)yclist]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
Originally Posted By bSharp[C
yclist]I look forward to hearing more about this. Is there any sort of video exchange process, where a teacher can comment on how you play?


While I haven't participated yet, there is a monthly Q&A Livestream where the instructor critiques or-submitted recordings of no more than 1 minute. You can email them your questions about the course and they do get back to you fairly quickly. I received my 30% discount (which is suppose to be lifetime renewable if I continue) by emailing and asking.

The Q&A videos I've looked at are extremely detailed with each question and answer together with timestamps outlined in the description. The amount of work they the authors put into the course is quite remarkable though I wish it was slight better organized.
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

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#2618457 - 02/27/17 09:34 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Montuno Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/15
Posts: 167
Thanks for updating us on your experience. I considered trying out the program in the past so I really look forward to your findings.

Have fun!
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Casio Privia PX-150 - Pianoteq
Working on Fundamental Keys / Alfred's Adult All-In-One Book 2

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#2618463 - 02/27/17 09:47 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Montuno]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
Originally Posted By Montuno
Thanks for updating us on your experience. I considered trying out the program in the past so I really look forward to your findings.

Have fun!


Thanks. I'll try to post any significant new information that I find as I walk through the course. I am pretty fussy about learning tools and 99% that I've signed on to, e.g on Udemy,, I end up cancelling, but this one is a keeper. The quality of instruction is excellent so far. The instructor did have some sample videos on Youtube for those who are interested in her teaching style.
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

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#2618466 - 02/27/17 10:08 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
ARpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/17
Posts: 38
Really interesting! I've seen many of her videos, she's really good, thanks for the info

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#2618485 - 02/27/17 10:59 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 14324
Loc: Canada
I am also following this with interest. I've looked at her various videos a number of times as they crop up, and have always seen a summary, but not actually how the things are taught, which has always been the unknown factor. Broad summaries don't cut it for me, because people who know things don't necessarily know how to break it down and teach them. You've given a bit of a window on this. Thank you.

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#2618491 - 02/27/17 11:07 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
Currently, I am practicing the second lesson which is focusing on pieces 8-11 in the book. The instructor demonstrated full arm wave-like movement (which energetically begins at the back) for each finger in each hand. I played along in order to emulate timing, technique and dynamics. Now I am practicing each finger for each piece in order to develop good fundamental technique. This will become part of my permanent practice for now. It is slow but I want to focus on technique for each hand, finger by finger so that the are no weak spots. Also focusing on relaxed shoulders.


Edited by Richrf (02/27/17 12:09 PM)
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

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#2618504 - 02/27/17 11:47 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
bSharp(C)yclist Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/16
Posts: 586
Loc: Orange County, California
What book are you using?
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#2618507 - 02/27/17 11:52 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
This one:

Russian School of Piano Playing

The emphasis of this approach is equality of both hands, dynamics, nimbleness, technique. While the book is meant for children, I believe adults benefit from the fundamentals perspective, which I why I chose to use it.


Edited by Richrf (02/27/17 11:57 AM)
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

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#2618510 - 02/27/17 11:55 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 14324
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By Richrf
Currently, I am practicing the second lesson which is focusing on pieces 8-11 in the book. The instructor demonstrated full arm wave-like movement (which energetically begins at the back) for each finger in each hand. I played along in order to emulate timing, technique and dynamics. Now I am practicing each finger for each piece in order to develop good fundamental technique. This will become part of my permanent practice for now. It is slow but I want to focus on technique for each hand, finger by finger so that the are no weak spots.

Do you get feedback from the teacher, for example by sending in videos? I've been in two programs of an on-line sort similar to what this is, which features this, so it is not an uncommon idea. In lessons, including in-person, it has happened more than once that I think I am doing what the teacher has demonstrated, and discover through feedback that I haven't. That is why I'm asking.

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#2618513 - 02/27/17 12:08 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
It's a great question and it would be great if there was, even if it required an additional fee, but as far as I can tell there isn't any way to get constant feedback. What they do offer, is very limited. You can submit a 1 minute video for feedback in their once-a-month Q&A which may or may not be reviewed in their live-stream broadcast.

The $30 a month bus you access to all of their demonstration and instruction videos (which are quite detailed and well thought out), access to their forum, and downloads. From my vantage point it is a terrific purchase depending upon what one is looking for. If I could buy 10 min. of feedback time it would be even better.


Edited by Richrf (02/27/17 12:10 PM)
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

Top
#2618519 - 02/27/17 12:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
The FAQ for this site is comprehensive and accurate:

Course FAQ

Here is a list of all of the video tutorials for the Beginning course:

Beginner Course curriculum
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

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#2618520 - 02/27/17 12:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]
bSharp(C)yclist Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/16
Posts: 586
Loc: Orange County, California
Originally Posted By keystring
Originally Posted By Richrf
Currently, I am practicing the second lesson which is focusing on pieces 8-11 in the book. The instructor demonstrated full arm wave-like movement (which energetically begins at the back) for each finger in each hand. I played along in order to emulate timing, technique and dynamics. Now I am practicing each finger for each piece in order to develop good fundamental technique. This will become part of my permanent practice for now. It is slow but I want to focus on technique for each hand, finger by finger so that the are no weak spots.

Do you get feedback from the teacher, for example by sending in videos? I've been in two programs of an on-line sort similar to what this is, which features this, so it is not an uncommon idea. In lessons, including in-person, it has happened more than once that I think I am doing what the teacher has demonstrated, and discover through feedback that I haven't. That is why I'm asking.


I think I asked the same thing above smile
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#2618530 - 02/27/17 01:34 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
Today I read some of the instructor's ideas on practice in the forum (which has tons of interesting insights but has become somewhat inactive), and noticed the instructor's emphasis on always practicing with expression. I went back to the simple exercises and performed them as if I am playing the words to the tune. It was a big difference. Imagination plays a big role in this teaching method.
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

Top
#2618800 - 02/28/17 06:39 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
barbaram Offline

500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/13
Posts: 818
I've just realised that I have used her video on learning Chopin's C# minor nocturne no. 20 (the "easy" posthumous one. Not at all easy for me I should add!), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSo4oX0SUtI .
I found it excellent, I think her approach makes great sense and I love her emphasis on expression. I'm working with a teacher, but I found referring to this to support my practice at home was useful (especially during breaks in lessons.

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#2618827 - 02/28/17 08:48 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: barbaram]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
Originally Posted By barbaram
I've just realised that I have used her video on learning Chopin's C# minor nocturne no. 20 (the "easy" posthumous one. Not at all easy for me I should add!), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSo4oX0SUtI .
I found it excellent, I think her approach makes great sense and I love her emphasis on expression. I'm working with a teacher, but I found referring to this to support my practice at home was useful (especially during breaks in lessons.


Yes, there are many such tutorials that are part of this course. I would say the key elements of the instructor's teaching process is relaxation followed by the emergence of imagination which then manifests as expression. The sequence of the course lessons is designed to gradually develop a sense of these three skills.
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

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#2618925 - 02/28/17 01:38 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
Today's lessons were about dynamics, playing with the thumb and fifth finger, pain, injury, tension, and the proper way to practice to avoid discomfort while learning. The instructor also demonstrated the appropriate gesture for initiating a movement with either hand and gestures that may be employed to create expressive tones with dynamics.

For my own practice, I continue to be aware of any tension that may be created and immediate relax such tension. Also, I observe with some attention the route of gestures the instructor is making and how it relates to the dynamics she is creating. All of this revolves around having a sound in my imagination and attempting to express that sound or melody through my body (energy) and then through the piano and then back to me. The smallest gesture thus becomes as enjoyable as the largest or most complex. It very much reminds me of Tai Chi.

On a technical note, the course seems to be about 5 years old and at that time the forums and instructor interaction appeared to be quite active. This is no longer the case. However, the is still a wealth of information in the forum's thanks to the questions that v were v asked and the instructor's answers. Lately, it seems a monthly Q&A video is used in lieu of an active forum. Also, I like using Chromecast to watch the videos. Casting these lessons is technically unpredictable, but with some effort I do get it to work.

Happy piano to all! Cheers!


Edited by Richrf (02/28/17 03:11 PM)
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

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#2619347 - 03/01/17 02:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
Today, I watched a couple of excellent videos. The first one discussed and demonstrated a holistic, relaxed technique for playing the piano. It was very well explained with lots of comments about how to create a complete gesture while still keeping wrists very relaxed so as to create the correct tone, maximize efficiency, and avoid injury.

The second video was a monthly Q&A which discussed a variety of techniques that students, who asked the questions, could approach specific pieces that included classical, rag time, and beginners out of the book we are using. Chuck full of information for beginners to advanced.

I continued the beginners course with new instruction on dynamics and relaxed playing technique. I noticed, unlike typical method books, there is as of yet no discussion of chords or keys. The exercises, studies, and melodies are designed primarily to develop equal dexterity in both hands and musical expression.

After just a few days, I already feel I have my money's worth for the the months tuition. It is a magnificent course for what I am looking for.


Edited by Richrf (03/01/17 02:30 PM)
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

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#2619684 - 03/02/17 02:26 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
Hi everyone,

Today I am following the videos that are primarily addressing stacatto and legato play. There was quite a bit of discussion concerning legato. Besides the videos themselves, there was also quite a bit of discussion and connects in the forum that dates back to 2012 when the forum was more active. Lots of valuable insights are discussed in these original forum posts.

One thing I have noticed is even though lots of discussion revolves around the wrist, in order to maintain a very relaxed wrist, most of the impulse for action comes from the shoulder (including the back), and arms. The joints are always very relaxed until the moment some dynamics are required.

The instructor also had an opportunity to read my diary and has some additional information that she wished to share to me, which I've included in this post.

Cheers!

The instructor's comments:

1. You didn't subscribe just for the 'Beginner to Intermediate Course'. You subscribed to our entire database of tutorials - which comprises many hundreds of video and articles for ALL levels (including the Course for Beginners, the Scale & Arpeggio Course, and many other projects and features structured according to categories).

2. Our Questions & Answers project is not a Livestream. I record it like any other tutorial (first the members post their questions - and at the end of the month I review them). Each answer is thoroughly designed in advance - in order to offer maximum information and benefits to our members (without wasting their time, as it usually happens with Livestreams). So far we had 22 editions of the Q&A - and I have answered each and every question that was asked (so if you post a short recording of your playing, you WILL get a guaranteed video feedback).

3. If you take a look at our Complete List, you will discover many video feedbacks from the past editions of our MasterClass project. This project is currently inactive (so that I can dedicate more of my time to the new website that we are currently designing). Once the website is ready, the MasterClass project will resume - so there will be more feedbacks smile. You can learn more about our new website by reading these posts.

4. Chords and keys are fully covered in our Scale & Arpeggio Course (which you can start following after reaching Lesson No. 48 for Beginners). Moreover, you will find lots of 'theoretical' tutorials as part of the Piano Theory category (on the Complete List).


Edited by Richrf (03/02/17 05:01 PM)
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

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#2620064 - 03/03/17 06:49 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
The last few lessons consisted of pieces and exercises that are slowly increasing in difficult. The video instruction analyzed each piece for proper phrasing, dynamics, playing techniques and dynamics. Overall, extremely well-rounded and well thought out instruction, much of it new. As for now, I just keep repeating and repeating while observing the instruction in order to refine my technique. I even just play both hands on single notes in a up and down wave manner in order to achieve a very relaxed but dynamic technique. Over and over and over again.

A couple of technical notes. Since I do not want my subscription to automatically renew, I sent a request to cancel my subscription when it ends in May. This request was honored within a day with an email confirmation.

Also, for security reasons, when I signed up I used Paypal and a temporary credit card number that is issued online by my bank.

Cheers!
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

Top
#2620654 - 03/05/17 07:14 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
The last few lessons have delved deeper into arm/wrist technique for differing dynamics including staccato, legato, portamento with emphasis on synchopated rhythms. I enjoy b syncopation and may try some ragtime at some future date.

Something to note. Both staves up until now are treble clef so that the entire attention can be turned toward technique and not to bass clef reading. I have noticed that I am now able to play much more advanced pieces in my other books now because of the ease in which my technique had become. Very relaxed which increases my nimbleness and dexterity over the keyboard and in sight reading. This is a skill I was never able to attain with past one-on-one teaching.
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

Top
#2622048 - 03/09/17 08:58 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
The videos in the course have become progressively longer as the pieces that are being practiced become musically richer in dynamics, rhythms, and voices. Lesson 9, which also includes a supplemental piece which the instructor calls a dessert, is 50 minutes long. Earlier videos averaged about 7 minutes per short piece or exercise. In each video the instructor describes in great depth the different aspects of the piece as well as demonstrates the piece and phrases in the piece in final form as well as practice form.

During this process, my whole viewpoint of piano practice and playing has changed. It has moved from "playing keys to creating music" to manifesting physical gestures with mind, body, and spirit that express shades, tones, and dynamics for creating music through the instrument. It is like singing.

The transformation in my viewpoint not only had affected the music I can and do create, but also my overall enjoyment of the learning process. It is precisely the way I practice and describe the act of doing Tai Chi and drawing. All of this is due entirely too the manner this particular instructor teaches piano.


Edited by Richrf (03/09/17 09:37 PM)
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

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#2622595 - 03/11/17 11:07 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 14324
Loc: Canada
Rich, I freelance and got caught up in a very heavy workload. I intended to respond before this. Where we left off, I had asked whether you can get direct feedback on videos of your own playing, where you try the instructions - and your answer was no.

What I have found (not always) is that I follow an instruction which I think I understand, and often actually do understand, and think I'm doing what was said. Even watching a video of myself doing it. But then when the teacher sees me, I may have missed the mark in part of it, or he sees some refinement to do on it, or (worse case) I misunderstood, or exaggerated - or he seems some other aspect in my playing that needs to be addressed. What I think I am doing, and what I think I understand, may not be the total reality. That is why I asked about this part.

I've worked in a number of ways. I've only had lessons as an adult. The first was several years of regular hour long violin lessons in person the traditional way. I have worked/am working with more than one teacher on-line, some of it more ad hoc (but organized) and several are within organized programs that are designed for on-line instructions. Among them there is Jaak Sikk's series for piano. This has been written about before.

The other has been the ArtistWorks which is an organized platform for lessons by various (selected? vetted) teachers. In returning to violin, I registered with Darol Anger, a superb fiddler who is much more than that, whose approach to technique is also perfect for classical. I'm coming out of a mess with violin and restarting at the beginning. Nathan Cole is the classical counterpart there, also excellent. This platform offers the following:
- access to every single video lesson that the teacher has put in there, at all levels, shot in a professional studio often from multiple angles
- sheet music to go with it
- for non-classical, backing tracks
- discussion forum
- FEEDBACK. You upload a video of yourself playing, and within the registered group that feedback will be visible to you as well as other members. So for example, if there is a lesson "how to play staccato - using Piece X", all the videos submitted by all students having worked on that lesson are in there in a row, along with the teacher's video feedback and observations. Your playing will be commented on. You get insights in what others have done, and the feedback they got. Specifically.
- access to related material by other teachers in the same category (classical or non-classical, maybe banjo and violin)
- interviews with other musicians by your teacher and other related things
- write-ups and advice of various kinds in written form

Without the feedback, what I've learned to watch for is:
- is what I'm doing becoming more comfortable, and easier
- does it sound better; am I getting at the sound I want

I've also learned to watch out for some things. Years ago I worked briefly with a teacher who told me insistently what results I would be feeling and hearing. I did not experience those things, but since I was "supposed" to have those results, I doubted my senses and instincts. I went through some "choreography" at that time - move this in this way etc. - with some harm (this was not piano), which was undone when I started listening to my body. Paired with good instruction, listening to your own body is powerful.

I was also advised to listen to sample playing while not watching. Some people can have beautiful, flowing, choreographed playing which looks like swan-like ballerinas, and your eyes will you to hear flowing sound - but it's not coming out - Others seem to barely move (It's happening underneath all that), and yet the sound flows.

If you're getting the results you want, and especially if it differs from what you used to get in how you worked before, then it must all be in order. smile

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#2622600 - 03/11/17 11:22 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
Thanks for your comments.

Just wanted to mention that there is limited access to instructor feedback via the monthly Q&A video feedback session. For those who are looking for more feedback, the venues you mentioned may be more applicable. The type of feedback I am looking for is very specific: it from someone who plays with this naturally created "wave-like" expressive gestures that begin with the creative mind and flows through the body like waves as exemplified in this tutorial:

Expressive flowing water-like piano gestures

While many teachers play like this, I have found it very difficult to find a teacher who teaches like this.
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

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#2622603 - 03/11/17 11:29 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 14324
Loc: Canada
More generally: What bothered me in the past was when I saw various Russian teachers present what they teach by outlining "Western" in a stereotypical miserable manner, and then presenting an alternative as "Russian". What they present exists everywhere. However, there is a real problem that there is a lot of the type of teaching that they outline, so if you can get the alternative, that's what counts.

Everything you have written about here and in your new thread are familiar to me. A lot of it often doesn't get taught, or mistaught.

At the moment I'm on an Arrau binge. Claudio Arrau studied with a German teacher named Krause who in turn studied with Liszt. I'm watching a run-down by a former student on the main playing principles taught by Arrau, along that line. Many things are similar to what you have described. Liszt was fighting to change how playing was done: Chopin did so .... why on earth is what they fought 100 years ago still being taught? But it is NOT taught everywhere, and these things are not exclusive to Russia. Liszt was not Russian. Krause was German.

You wrote of abandoning Alfred because of what that repertoire does. My first learning was as a self-taught child using my grandmother's books. I later learned that my grandmother had been taught to keep her arms motionless, be able to balance a pencil on the back of her hand, etc. - all the things from the clavichord era. I was never taught. My playing resembled what my grandmother was taught, because I used the books that she used. In my recovery I have stayed away from that kind of music - Chopin opens the movements for me, and require different movements - going to this other music immediately pulls me backward.

In regards to large sweeping movements: In the older Russian school it was minimal motion i.e. no wasted motion. But if you try not to over-move and clamp down on yourself, that is a huge expenditure of energy. All movements must be there at least in miniature. Also, a choreographed movement can be ineffective if it's not doing what it is supposed to be doing. But again also, if you've always been restricted, then feeling the joints in your wrists etc. through the large movements at least makes them come alive to you. Little kids do everything in exaggerated style and then settle down. The whole body ends up working together.


Edited by keystring (03/11/17 11:30 AM)

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#2622610 - 03/11/17 11:40 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Online   content
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Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
Yes, I agree, at the end there should be a fluid, whole body movement (it may be very subtle) that expresses the music that one wishes to create. I have found that the Nikoleav approach much more conducive to the development of this feeling than the Alfred's approach.
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#2623000 - 03/12/17 01:46 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 14324
Loc: Canada
I'm still catching up. This caught my attention for a reason.
Originally Posted By Richrf
Currently, I am practicing the second lesson which is focusing on pieces 8-11 in the book. The instructor demonstrated full arm wave-like movement (which energetically begins at the back) for each finger in each hand.

What I have seen in general out there seems to emphasize the "other end" - wrist motion, rotation at the forearm, and some finger in conjunction with these (the old outdated hammer fingers not being included). What I know already is that since everything works together, and if you lock any part completely, you mess up the system, there is a co-relationship. That includes the upper arm which starts at the shoulder. In these, the upper arm is generally not included, and at most is sort of a loose passive thing that moves as a result of actions that originate somewhere around forearm, wrist, fingers, hand. Later on in some more advanced music, there was a kind of swinging or moving of the elbows, in response/conjunction with circular movement of the hands at the wrist - when the elbows move anywhere, the upper arm is in fact involved. Anyway, this has been a general theme.

Very recently I came upon a summary of what Arrau taught; somewhat crudely in this first video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB1tWSNlt_8 and much more subtly in a 90 minute video (3 parts) in an interview of a student of a student of Arrau. Here the emphasis is on he upper arm, the impetus coming from there. This goes with what you have written. At 5:41 she says something important - namely that it "appears as a wrist movement" but it isn't the wrist that is moving things. For me this was important, because for a while I had put my energy into the wrong place, and it had started through a video while I was self-teaching, of a teacher who actually lifted the wrist with a string to make her point. (I'm a sucker for imagery, which tends to stick.)

I'm inclined to thing that there is not any one correct way, because things seesaw and change, as they interrelate. What you do from the shoulder down will impact things down at the hand and fingers, and vice versa. But if your upper arms are sort of "dead" because the emphasis is always at the other end, it may be significant to look at that side of things.

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