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#2623008 - 03/12/17 02:11 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Originally Posted by Richrf
I have found that the Nikoleav approach much more conducive to the development of this feeling than the Alfred's approach.

Is Nikolaev the name of the teacher? I've never worked with Alfred or any method book, but from what I know, I wouldn't see it as an "approach". A good teacher can take any "textbook" (in this case method book) and teach how to move, and other approaches, using the material. That said, material itself affects how we move. If the music stays in a 5-finger hand span, in the middle of the keyboard, mostly on white keys, this affects how you move. If the LH is constantly playing chords, while the RH plays melodies, this also determines how you develop. So in that way you are probably on the right track.

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#2623069 - 03/12/17 06:00 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Nikoleav is the author of the fundamental book Russian School of Piano playing, the book used by the instructor Illinca who created the online teaching course at pianocareeracademy.com. when she created the course 5 years ago, she was clearly putting her heart and soul into a complete course that teaches most of all creative imaginative expression via relaxed piano technique.

#2623114 - 03/12/17 09:50 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
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emphasize the "other end" - wrist motion, rotation at the forearm, and some finger in conjunction with these (the old outdated hammer fingers not being included).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.


I am self taught, two years in, good at self study, and good at sifting the wheat from the chaff. During the course of my self study, I encountered the concept of wrist rotation, and gave it some serious study. At first, it seemed like an answer that the world needed to know about. I watched a lot of videos by well intentioned, widely respected teachers, describing the technique. However, I soon noticed that I was not seeing this technique put into practice by the highly acclaimed and noteworthy pianists that I had the opportunity to watch. This puzzled me.

I eventually stumbled onto a seemingly benign comment by one teacher to the effect that the rotational technique, in the very visible form utilized in teaching sessions, was not in fact what gets put into practice during effective piano play. The teaching version was a purposeful exaggeration of the rotational motion, and the grandiosity of the teaching version served the purpose of providing the student with effective visual and tactile recognition of the concept of rotation. The exaggeration is just a tool to get the student to recognize the movement, so he/she can begin to blend it into the array of other techniques and skills possessed.

The actual piano playing version of rotation is, by contrast, very subtle and nearly undetectable. The highly proficient pianist merely uses what small amount of it that is called for in the moment, and that usually looks very little like the versions we see in those teaching videos. This solved, for me, that mystery of why teachers were teaching big rotational movements, but, the best pianists did not appear to be using it.

So, I think you are correct in saying that all the parts work together, and that the impairment or neglect of one impairs the others, as well.

This also causes me to take the "full arm wave-like movement" of the Russian teacher, referenced by the OP above, with a grain of salt. I have watched her. She is impressive. But, I wonder if she is exaggerating the movements as an effort to teach the greater, yet more subtle, version that would be employed by a highly proficient pianist trained in those techniques. I have not, but would like, to see her performing in concert, where her sole and complete purpose would be to provide a perfect performance. It would be informative to compare her movements in actual performance to her movements in her training videos. If the teaching movements are purposeful exaggerations, it would be good for her students to know that.

I hope this does not come across as trashing her or her teaching effort. She is impressive, and clearly knows about piano. I just hope the exaggeration, if any, is made clear to the students, so they don't hinder their own development by trying to play with a lot of excess and inefficient movements.

Richrf, have you learned anything about whether the movements she demonstrates are exaggerated for teaching effect?

Last edited by Ralphiano; 03/12/17 10:00 PM.

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#2623131 - 03/12/17 10:42 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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They appear to be "exaggerated" in accordance to the music which is being demonstrated, e.g. very slow portamento, legato, or staccato, for instructional purposes. As the tempo and rhythm become more in concordance with final tempo, the movements become more minimal. Gestures and movements are always as one unit (there are in reality no such things as parts of a body) and necessarily in concordance with the music that is being expressed. There is always a gently rolling for motion in legato, for example, because that is precisely the the gesture that reflects the musical expression.

One can observe the totally natural gestures of this artist and how it adjusts to create different rhythms and tonalities an accordance to what the artist wishes to express. She studied under a student of Horowitz.

Nicole Wang in concert

In my opinion "rolling the wrist" is an inadequate description to explain the motion since the whole arm (and of course more since the whole body is involved) is acting as a unit. The instructor in her videos explains it as shifting the whole arm weight to different fingers. I would describe it as a soft, rolling, wave.

At about 1:35 of this video to can see that soft rolling gesture in Horowitz's play:

Horowitz technique in slow motion

I would, of course, practice very slowly with larger gestures since I am still a beginner developing body memory. More practice yields greater subtlety, as appropriate.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/12/17 11:20 PM.
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#2623141 - 03/12/17 11:11 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano]  
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Ralphiano, I think we are on the same page about a lot of things. It is indeed true that often techniques that are taught as principles are taught in isolation, in an exaggerated and unnatural way. I have been advised (by teachers I trust) to always watch what that same teacher does when they are "just playing normally". Recently there was one (I forget which) who was brought up in the ABF and I watched other lessons by him. Among others, he spoke against any motion of the wrist for something or other and demonstrated his idea - later when he played, esp. putting him in slow-mo, one saw a soft feathering in the wrist. I had expected it.

I have also seen lessons of choreographed motions, showing children being taught, and those motions should have a given effect. But when those children played in recitals, that effect could not be heard, because you also have to have a feel for it, to interact with the keys and hear the sound. Otherwise it is programmed puppetry.

I have also seen (always on-line) teachers preaching about relaxation, holding the child's hand or wrist, making it go up and down in a "relaxed" manner - and at the end you'd see the poor tyke's fingers splayed like a trapped wild mouse.

We will hear very expressive playing while seeing what seems like almost no motion - unless you put it on 50% speed or slower and really watch for the subtle things - And we will also see very large motions with less expression: but our eyes may make us hear what isn't there. It's a thing to be careful about.

One thing for myself: In the beginning I can't do "subtle" because my reflexes are not refined enough. When you watch little children, their motions are exaggerated - heck, even their speech is exaggerated - using big muscles, the whole arm - and then it refines. I can't feel the joints I'm using, at first, unless I do rather large silly looking things, and then as those parts wake up, I can get subtle. Exaggeration might be a stage.

#2623227 - 03/13/17 09:05 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring


I have also seen (always on-line) teachers preaching about relaxation, holding the child's hand or wrist, making it go up and down in a "relaxed" manner - and at the end you'd see the poor tyke's fingers splayed like a trapped wild mouse.


Relaxation is absolutely the most fundamental skill after imagining the sound itself. Every single art that I have ever studied is based upon these to skills: first imagining and then expressing through a relaxed but still energetic body.

#2623251 - 03/13/17 11:35 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano]  
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Originally Posted by Ralphiano
Originally Posted by keystring
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.


I am self taught, two years in, good at self study, and good at sifting the wheat from the chaff. During the course of my self study, I encountered the concept of wrist rotation, and gave it some serious study. At first, it seemed like an answer that the world needed to know about. I watched a lot of videos by well intentioned, widely respected teachers, describing the technique. However, I soon noticed that I was not seeing this technique put into practice by the highly acclaimed and noteworthy pianists that I had the opportunity to watch. This puzzled me.

I eventually stumbled onto a seemingly benign comment by one teacher to the effect that the rotational technique, in the very visible form utilized in teaching sessions, was not in fact what gets put into practice during effective piano play. The teaching version was a purposeful exaggeration of the rotational motion, and the grandiosity of the teaching version served the purpose of providing the student with effective visual and tactile recognition of the concept of rotation. The exaggeration is just a tool to get the student to recognize the movement, so he/she can begin to blend it into the array of other techniques and skills possessed.

The actual piano playing version of rotation is, by contrast, very subtle and nearly undetectable. The highly proficient pianist merely uses what small amount of it that is called for in the moment, and that usually looks very little like the versions we see in those teaching videos. This solved, for me, that mystery of why teachers were teaching big rotational movements, but, the best pianists did not appear to be using it.

So, I think you are correct in saying that all the parts work together, and that the impairment or neglect of one impairs the others, as well.

This also causes me to take the "full arm wave-like movement" of the Russian teacher, referenced by the OP above, with a grain of salt. I have watched her. She is impressive. But, I wonder if she is exaggerating the movements as an effort to teach the greater, yet more subtle, version that would be employed by a highly proficient pianist trained in those techniques. I have not, but would like, to see her performing in concert, where her sole and complete purpose would be to provide a perfect performance. It would be informative to compare her movements in actual performance to her movements in her training videos. If the teaching movements are purposeful exaggerations, it would be good for her students to know that.

I hope this does not come across as trashing her or her teaching effort. She is impressive, and clearly knows about piano. I just hope the exaggeration, if any, is made clear to the students, so they don't hinder their own development by trying to play with a lot of excess and inefficient movements.

Richrf, have you learned anything about whether the movements she demonstrates are exaggerated for teaching effect?


Ralphpiano, Thanks for your post. Your feeling/instincts very much echo mine.

In that light, I would add, what you say is a very good example why in my opinion I value Graham Fitch as an instructor so much, and a lot of the pianist magazine videos. I mentioned Graham the other day a couple of times. I can't say about piano career obviously in that regard, since I have not used it, but to make my point.

Graham will demonstrate X, then say,

"See what I did there, watch carefully, but of course not that much, I am exaggerating to make the point"

To me Graham comes across as an example what would make an excellent instructor, ( at least for me I feel with the type of thing I look for ). Graham is very precise in saying everything that needs to be said, nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes, with other videos it's left to the imagination, the student has to read between the lines. Most of the time I am okay with it, because I ( try to anyway) read between the lines to get the right idea, but, you never know, this is where errors/misunderstandings can develop too. When it comes to the more subtle aspects, it could just be that one all important sentence, one word even, that could make a big difference in the end.

To me, statements such as playing with wrists means nothing isolation. Playing with flat or more curled fingers has to be put in context when and where it is appropriate etc. etc., but often I do hear statements of that sort, that really do not give any meaningful perspective to put those things in context, just as with your example of suspecting slightly OTT motions above.

I suspect it's often the case that such things can happen, at least with many videos I have seen, so I am ready for it, it's always in the back of my mind while watching them, but I try to take out of it what I can, as best as I can.

Best regards,

Alex.



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#2623297 - 03/13/17 01:18 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Alex, I'm curious about the Graham Fitch. I read a lot of praise from various people including one teacher I respected, and one person who went through "the whole series". So I purchased the "set" on-line. What I got was a lot of text and a lot of words. There were a few videos embedded which featured somebody else's hand - not Fitch's - and even though that hand was doing what had been described, it looked oddly tight or "shaped" in an old fashioned sense, and the demos were ultra brief. I'm wondering if there is a different set out there.
I have seen a few Fitch videos on Youtube which go into things a lot more.

#2623323 - 03/13/17 02:03 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Graham Fitch does regular articles for Pianist Magazine and there are dozens of associated videos he does on YouTube associated with those articles (check out the Pianist Magazone channel). He also is part of an online teaching Academy called "Practising the Piano" which is still in its infancy. I would hire Graham for weekly lessons in a heartbeat but there's no way he is going to have the time for beginners like me.

I have done a 3 month subscription to Piano Career Academy and very much like what I see. It certainly complements my regular lessons with my teacher.

#2623586 - 03/14/17 12:20 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Tiger22]  
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Originally Posted by Tiger22

I have done a 3 month subscription to Piano Career Academy and very much like what I see. It certainly complements my regular lessons with my teacher.


If be very interested in hearing your comments in this thread. Let me know how things are going for you. I might be missing things that you are picking up.

Right now, I'm studying gestures more costly. I just finished a video that delves into the subject more deeply. Gestures (movements) mad are always congruent with the music sound, rhythm, and dynamics desired. The larger or more subtle movements are dictated by the creative expression. Expression is always relaxed, but not relaxed like a wet noodle. It is full of energy - but not muscular.

#2623838 - 03/15/17 01:34 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Today's video was quite long (45 minutes). The instructor, Illinca, spent quite a bit of time describing the expressive aspects of a special piece she chose that is outside of the primary method book. Since understanding the story behind a piece of music is intrinsic to expression, she first explained the background of the piece an then how each of the phrases express different parts and aspects of the story. After that, she described how different techniques can be used to express various emotions and ideas within the story and phrases.

This was quite a lot to digest and I'll be revisiting this lesson again tomorrow. In the meantime, I keep repeating most of the previous lessons and have added Bastien Level 1 to my practice since it reinforces in a complimentary manner the material I am learning in this course. I supplement the Bastien material with online demonstrations I find in YouTube.

One more thing, there are many excellent questions and answers on the forum that follow the lessons. Most date back to 2012, but all quite relevant and full of information for students such as myself.

#2623915 - 03/15/17 10:00 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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This is Fern, who is one of the students taking the course. I practiced Tai Chi today to this beautiful rendition of the Moonlight Sonata. I was quite literally swimming in her music. I invite you to like her video if you enjoyed it as much as I did!馃槂

Moonlight Sonata performed by Fern


Last edited by Richrf; 03/15/17 10:30 AM.
#2623991 - 03/15/17 02:19 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Very nice. But I think she's sitting about half an inch to an inch too low, which requires her to bend her wrists downward.



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#2624237 - 03/16/17 10:44 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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What I've noticed it's that Illinca, the instructo adjusted her lessons to suit the student body when she first began developing the course. There is a completely separate advanced course which I have not involved myself with, but even within the beginner's course, there are more advanced elements and pieces introduced, beginning with lesson 19, in order to address the advanced beginners who are taking the course and would like slightly more advanced pieces to practice.

Every lesson reveals elements of Illinca's teaching method, so it appears that all students, whether beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate or advanced, are walking through each lesson, but there are branches in the lessons for those who are more advanced.

Right now, I am studying the more advanced pieces, first bar by bar, then phrase by phrase, allowing repetition to guide me to greater skill and proficiency. I use Bastien's studies and techniques to augment and add more differences but at the same time more repetition to my daily practice. My approach is to slowly develop more and more body memory and connection between myself (including my creative mind) and my beautiful Kawai piano. I wonder if I should give it a name?

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 10:44 AM.
#2624313 - 03/16/17 04:13 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano]  
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Originally Posted by Ralphiano
This also causes me to take the "full arm wave-like movement" of the Russian teacher, referenced by the OP above, with a grain of salt. I have watched her. She is impressive. But, I wonder if she is exaggerating the movements as an effort to teach the greater, yet more subtle, version that would be employed by a highly proficient pianist trained in those techniques. I have not, but would like, to see her performing in concert, where her sole and complete purpose would be to provide a perfect performance. It would be informative to compare her movements in actual performance to her movements in her training videos. If the teaching movements are purposeful exaggerations, it would be good for her students to know that.


Valentina Lisitsa uses exaggerated gestures when she performs, and she's clearly not in the learning phase! It's mainly a visual aid for the audience, adding drama and theatrics to the performance. Like those players who, when they hit a loud and powerful chord, they whip their head back like they just got an uppercut from Mike Tyson. Their hair flies around very dramatically and all that. Or how Lang Lang always looks like he's at the height of ecstasy when he plays. I saw a video of a woman performing Bach, and as she started playing the piece with her right hand, her left hand was stretched way above her head. How or why it got there, I do not know. But they're performers. It's theater. Guitar players practice that stuff in front of the mirror.



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#2624315 - 03/16/17 04:25 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Alexander Borro]  
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Originally Posted by Alexander Borro

To me Graham comes across as an example what would make an excellent instructor, ( at least for me I feel with the type of thing I look for ). Graham is very precise in saying everything that needs to be said, nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes, with other videos it's left to the imagination, the student has to read between the lines. Most of the time I am okay with it, because I ( try to anyway) read between the lines to get the right idea, but, you never know, this is where errors/misunderstandings can develop too. When it comes to the more subtle aspects, it could just be that one all important sentence, one word even, that could make a big difference in the end.


I like Graham Fitch too. I don't want a teacher to give me inaccurate information, even if they think they're doing it for my benefit. That's like getting a kid to eat his spinach by telling him he'll have super-strength like Popeye if he does.

But that's just me. To each their own.



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#2624321 - 03/16/17 04:41 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Originally Posted by Richrf
They appear to be "exaggerated" in accordance to the music which is being demonstrated, e.g. very slow portamento, legato, or staccato, for instructional purposes.

Just reading through this discussion, and this is the 2nd time you used this term, but I'm not sure it is what you mean to use. Portamento most commonly refers to a gliding between pitches or bending of pitches. It can have other uses as well, but I wonder if you meant "portato" which is more of a string term, notated as staccato and a slur at the same time, implying a long staccato if you will?


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#2624333 - 03/16/17 05:07 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Portamento would be the range between staccato and legato. There are many different techniques that can be used within this range that the instructor demonstrates. She usually suggests playing a piece with portamento at the beginning learning stages and gradually introduce other dynamics once the student becomes familiar with the piece.

#2624335 - 03/16/17 05:09 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: fishandchips]  
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Originally Posted by fishandchips
Originally Posted by Alexander Borro

To me Graham comes across as an example what would make an excellent instructor, ( at least for me I feel with the type of thing I look for ). Graham is very precise in saying everything that needs to be said, nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes, with other videos it's left to the imagination, the student has to read between the lines. Most of the time I am okay with it, because I ( try to anyway) read between the lines to get the right idea, but, you never know, this is where errors/misunderstandings can develop too. When it comes to the more subtle aspects, it could just be that one all important sentence, one word even, that could make a big difference in the end.


I like Graham Fitch too. I don't want a teacher to give me inaccurate information, even if they think they're doing it for my benefit. That's like getting a kid to eat his spinach by telling him he'll have super-strength like Popeye if he does.

But that's just me. To each their own.



Graham Fitch's mode of teaching is not to my own personal taste. In regards to providing accurate information - well since every teacher has their own way of teaching, one can take the stance that they are all accurate or that they are all inaccurate. I prefer to take the stance that they are all different, since that would be accurate.馃槂

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 05:12 PM.
#2624340 - 03/16/17 05:25 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Originally Posted by Richrf
Portamento would be the range between staccato and legato. There are many different techniques that can be used within this range that the instructor demonstrates. She usually suggests playing a piece with portamento at the beginning learning stages and gradually introduce other dynamics once the student becomes familiar with the piece.
Interesting. I've never heard it used in that way before. Thanks for clarifying.


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#2624357 - 03/16/17 06:24 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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I'm wondering if what is meant is portato, because the definition matches that of portato.
Also, I don't think it's dynamics, but articulation.
(Hopefully to avoid confusion)

#2624362 - 03/16/17 06:33 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Googled portamento. First listing on page:

por路ta路men路to

noun MUSIC
1.
a slide from one note to another, especially in singing or playing a bowed string instrument.
2.
piano playing in a manner intermediate between legato and staccato.
"a portamento style"

Portamento is a type of articulation that can be played with a variety of dynamics which the instructor illustrates. For me learning to play the piano is all about hearing a sound inside of me and using many different techniques to manifest this sound via the gesture. The instructor often emphasized this concept since at this end it is about bringing one's own artistry to the music. It is far less about mechanics and far more about spirit.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 06:40 PM.
#2624365 - 03/16/17 06:43 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Originally Posted by Richrf
Googled portamento. First listing on page:

por路ta路men路to

noun MUSIC
1.
a slide from one note to another, especially in singing or playing a bowed string instrument.
2.
piano playing in a manner intermediate between legato and staccato.
"a portamento style"

Portamento is a type of articulation that can be played with a variety of dynamics which the instructor illustrates. For me learning to play the piano is all about hearing a sound inside of me and using many different techniques to manifest this sound via the gesture. The instructor often emphasized this concept since at this end it is about bringing one's own artistry to the music. It is far less about mechanics and far more about spirit.
What you've added makes a lot more sense to me. Portamento literally means "to carry the mind", and so that can be done in a number of ways, I had not heard of it used as a means of in between legato and staccato, however.


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#2624367 - 03/16/17 06:50 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
What you've added makes a lot more sense to me. Portamento literally means "to carry the mind", and so that can be done in a number of ways, I had not heard of it used as a means of in between legato and staccato, however.


Clearly the meaning of portamento as lying between staccato and legato must be fairly widespread or it would not appear as the basic Google definition, but possibly it may be more regionalized in its usage.

I can understand derivation of this word since surely musicians, as artists, wish to convey their spirit through the music they create. I most enjoy teachers that embrace this spirit in their teachings.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 06:51 PM.
#2624368 - 03/16/17 06:58 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Portamento, between legato and staccato, was used as a term by

Horowitz

and Neuhaus (couldn't find the exact citation)

as well as others.

#2624374 - 03/16/17 07:14 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Originally Posted by Richrf
Clearly the meaning of portamento as lying between staccato and legato must be fairly widespread or it would not appear as the basic Google definition, but possibly it may be more regionalized in its usage.

Morodiene is an expert teacher in the area of singing, and I studied violin for a few years - both instruments where you control pitch and can slide pitch. Even the definition you found through google has the pitch definition coming first. It is not lack of knowledge that created the confusion.

Btw, did you miss my post on portAto? smile

It is not puzzling that Morodiene, as a singer, thought of the usual meaning of portamento first, and had not heard of portamento being used to mean portato.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portamento
Here you will find in the title "portato (portamento)"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD_GYpyZSpUHY
Here it is as shown as notation
http://andrewhugill.com/manuals/violin/lefthand.html

portato
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portato
Here is portato on the violin (taught) and it goes somewhat with what is being taught in this piano course, except it can be done more subtly.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whXj4-60SR0

I am not disputing the use of the term "portamento" - only stressing that it is most often used to mean the sliding of a pitch, and anyone used to that term may not be familiar with the other. It is not ignorance or lack of knowledge, far from it.

Horowitz studied in Russia, and so did Neuhaus. They would not be good references for English usage. My multilingual music dictionary shows a blurring of "portato" and "portamento".

"Heinrich Gustavovich Neuhaus (Russian: 袚械虂薪褉懈褏 袚褍褋褌邪虂胁芯胁懈褔 袧械泄谐邪虂褍蟹, Genrikh Gustavovi膷 Nejgauz; 12 April [O.S. 31 March] 1888 鈥 10 October 1964) was a Soviet pianist and pedagogue of German extraction."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Neuhaus

Music is an international language practised internationally but described in many languages, so there will always be some confusion of terminology.




#2624378 - 03/16/17 07:20 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Originally Posted by Richrf
I can understand derivation of this word since surely musicians, as artists, wish to convey their spirit through the music they create. I most enjoy teachers that embrace this spirit in their teachings.

In this case it is not spirit but precision. In an instrument where you can create pitch and sustain a note, you can hold that pitch or change it after producing it. One way is a long sustained slide called glissando or "gliss", the other is a more brief kind of sob which is the portamento. there is a specific word used to describe that desired pitch effect.

Then you have the articulations - the ultra sharp staccato that lasts only a tiny point of time, with big spaces between notes on the one hand, and legato at the other extreme where one note almost blends into the next, and there is no separation --- and in between. The portato of violin or piano cannot be duplicated on piano, but something close to it can be produced. It's sort of the fine line between legato and the beginning of staccato. This too is a definite thing rather than something vaguely about feelings.

#2624380 - 03/16/17 07:27 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Originally Posted by Richrf
...
Right now, I'm studying gestures more costly. I just finished a video that delves into the subject more deeply. Gestures (movements) mad are always congruent with the music sound, rhythm, and dynamics desired

I think the above statement should end with the sound desired and perhaps what is meant.

It just all seems like a lot more to think about, to me. There is already a lot to think about, just with the music. I believe, that if you focus on the sound you want to produce, the gestures will take care of themselves. Not the other way around.

The way I was taught, fingering wasn't considered highly important, was never fussy or much discussed. Gestures not at all. What was always important though, was the sound. How to bring out the melody or move from here to here quickly and softly, which may have included a tad bit of fingering. Listening closely for the sound was always the focus.

There is surely value in exaggerated movements and exaggerated everything for teaching purposes, but I do not agree with focusing on physical movements to get the sound. Find the sound and once you have found it, repeat it and practice it to secure the gestures you need to achieve it. If you want to get fancy after that for visual flair that's fine as you've already secured the sound. The end product may all look as one, but personally i think the approach is backwards. But, then again, maybe mine was.

#2624385 - 03/16/17 07:43 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Greener]  
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Originally Posted by Greener
Originally Posted by Richrf
...
Right now, I'm studying gestures more costly. I just finished a video that delves into the subject more deeply. Gestures (movements) mad are always congruent with the music sound, rhythm, and dynamics desired

I think the above statement should end with the sound desired and perhaps what is meant.

It just all seems like a lot more to think about, to me. There is already a lot to think about, just with the music. I believe, that if you focus on the sound you want to produce, the gestures will take care of themselves. Not the other way around.

The way I was taught, fingering wasn't considered highly important, was never fussy or much discussed. Gestures not at all. What was always important though, was the sound. How to bring out the melody or move from here to here quickly and softly, which may have included a tad bit of fingering. Listening closely for the sound was always the focus.

There is surely value in exaggerated movements and exaggerated everything for teaching purposes, but I do not agree with focusing on physical movements to get the sound. Find the sound and once you have found it, repeat it and practice it to secure the gestures you need to achieve it. If you want to get fancy after that for visual flair that's fine as you've already secured the sound. The end product may all look as one, but personally i think the approach is backwards. But, then again, maybe mine was.


Yes, what I said, and what the instructor emphasizes, is that the sound comes first and manifests as a gesture. She then demonstrates the various gestures that one might use, but in practice the are literally an infinite number of infinite gestures that manifest. Ditto with Tai Chi, dancing, drawing, etc. And if the gestures are large and dynamic and reflect the spirit of the artist, so be it. That is the nature of artistry. First comes imagination and physical gesture follows.


Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 07:46 PM.
#2624388 - 03/16/17 07:48 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Richrf
I can understand derivation of this word since surely musicians, as artists, wish to convey their spirit through the music they create. I most enjoy teachers that embrace this spirit in their teachings.

In this case it is not spirit but precision. In an instrument where you can create pitch and sustain a note, you can hold that pitch or change it after producing it. One way is a long sustained slide called glissando or "gliss", the other is a more brief kind of sob which is the portamento. there is a specific word used to describe that desired pitch effect.

Then you have the articulations - the ultra sharp staccato that lasts only a tiny point of time, with big spaces between notes on the one hand, and legato at the other extreme where one note almost blends into the next, and there is no separation --- and in between. The portato of violin or piano cannot be duplicated on piano, but something close to it can be produced. It's sort of the fine line between legato and the beginning of staccato. This too is a definite thing rather than something vaguely about feelings.


One can seek precision in art if one wishes. It is the difference between Rembrandt and Monet - both seeking precision in their own manner.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 07:49 PM.
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