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#2624393 - 03/16/17 07:54 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: dogperson]  
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Portamento, between legato and staccato, was used as a term by

Horowitz

and Neuhaus (couldn't find the exact citation)

as well as others.


Thank you for the historical context. I found this in some c quick research. The subject appears to be one that deserves further research.

Horowitz on Portamento

"Stream of energy continuously flows to and through the right Zone (look at the samples 6 and 7, too) of the proper keyboard depths' level and is being directed to the side the musical progress is going on. The tendency to steer fingers' motions a little bit backwards and, simultaneously, to guide the whole hand to the side that accurately corresponds with the musical progress (left & up or right & up) – brings greater easiness to the action. Especially if connected with famous portamento (let you look up the V. Horowitz's explanations in the D. Dubal's book), this technique offers possibility to almost endless fingers' activity without any physical fatigue. It is worth to maintain that such spiral-like motions fully correspond with motions suggesting by the famous Alexander-technique; seemingly "thoughts for wisdom and truth and the perfection of our soul" represent the same nature; from the ancient India and TAO up to our times."

This is the Horowitz book being referenced:

Horowitz book

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 07:56 PM.
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#2624398 - 03/16/17 08:13 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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I found this article written by the instructor Illinca concerning the subject at hand, that discusses an aspect of her teaching approach:

Constructive tips for piano beginners

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 08:34 PM.
#2624423 - 03/16/17 09:25 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Interesting discussion on the term "portamento". I think it's odd that through my master's education in piano and all the years of private piano instruction I had the word never came up. But then, I didn't study with anyone Russian, and it seems from the references that this use of the word comes from the Russian school, so perhaps not as surprising.

Portato was a term only one piano teacher used, but it is taken from strings. All other teachers referred only to legato, non-legato, and staccato.


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#2624426 - 03/16/17 09:44 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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This is one teacher's take on the subject. Of some interest are the associated comments. My own preference is to always try to understand the underlying concepts as opposed to the words being used, since word usage is constantly changing.


[video:youtube]OD_GYpyZSpU[/video]

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 09:45 PM.
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#2624520 - 03/17/17 10:18 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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For supplementary knowledge I am often watching the pianotv YouTube channel. This is an example of the instructor discussing some famous performers:

[video:youtube]mhnZshIxtF4[/video]

#2624763 - 03/18/17 09:05 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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My practice plan has evolved into daily repetition of every study and piece in the Nikoleav book while debut revisiting the video instruction when necessary. I am supplementing this study with the extra, more advanced pieces, that the instructor has demonstrated as well as exercises from the Bastien Piano and Technic books.

I am following the same repetitive lesson approach that I used to learn Tai Chi, dancing, and drawing. With energetic relaxation and repetition I will gradually quiet all of the willfulness in my body so that what will be left within me will be the sound of the music that I wish to play. The constant repetition is training my body intelligence to play the sounds with gestures that are formed by the creative mind - not the willful mind.

In this way, I hear the music in my creative mind, my body expresses it through gestures which flow through the piano instrument that creates the physical sound that flows back to me. The circle is complete. This approach of relaxation, repetition, and creative expression seems to be applicable to every art (I am also applying it to singing and drawing) and seems to be very much in accordance to the approach of this book and this course.

#2624765 - 03/18/17 09:28 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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You might want to do a little reading about Dalcroze methodology. It was recommended to me by my primary piano teacher and I am taking Dalcroze lessons as well as the standard approach.


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#2624767 - 03/18/17 09:35 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Hi Dogperson,

Thank you for sharing your insights. Yes, this method very much dovetails my own self-taught approach, and I'll be investigating it more. Dance, song, art, and music do work together to create artistic expression. Thanks!


Last edited by Richrf; 03/18/17 09:43 AM.
#2624802 - 03/18/17 11:05 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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My Dalcroze teacher recommended a book by Lussy written in 1895 on musical expression. You can view it on the Internet as it is no longer in copyright but you can purchase it on forgotten books.com for about $11 which is a great deal as it is quite a large book . I've honestly just started reading it, and she suggested that I start with chapter 8. See what you think They also carry a book by Dalcroze which I have not purchased yet

I do think the Dalcroze is helping me even though I only take lessons about twice a month instead of weekly. My musical budget will only stretch so far ..... 😊

Last edited by dogperson; 03/18/17 12:11 PM. Reason: Correct spelling to Lussy
#2624811 - 03/18/17 11:36 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Thanks for the suggestion dogperson. I can't seem to find the book you recommended. Do you have a title you can share with me? Thanks!

I also have a limited budget. I find that a teacher can teach just so much at one time. Mostly I think it depends upon the quality and repetition of practice in order to build whole body intelligence. For me, this course is more than adequate for now and a bargain for the amount of knowledge and instruction I am gaining.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/18/17 11:39 AM.
#2624824 - 03/18/17 12:10 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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No wonder you couldn't find it ... it is Lussy crazy Sorry about the spelling; that's what I get for typing on a cell phone
https://archive.org/details/musicalexpressio00lussuoft

#2624841 - 03/18/17 12:47 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Thanks dogperson. Got it. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

#2624861 - 03/18/17 01:37 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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I am currently working on Lesson 20. Here is the full syllabus of the course:
Piano Career Academy Russian Method Syllabus

As you can see, there is a wealth of video and written instruction. I often go back to previous videos to rehear instruction and review the the demonstrations of the pieces. So far, everything is pretty well explained so I have not taken advantage of the once a month video Q&A.


Last edited by Richrf; 03/18/17 04:35 PM.
#2624905 - 03/18/17 04:13 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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The syllabus is only visible if you're logged in Richrf.


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#2624911 - 03/18/17 04:37 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Sorry about that Montuno. I updated the post with a new link that is coming from their publicly accessible FAQ. Hope this one works.

#2625139 - 03/19/17 11:53 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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This is one of the channels I use for supplemental knowledge. The already if this instructor is very similar to Illinca's though Illinca tends to be more concise in her applications.

In this video the instructor talks about playing the piano with relaxation. It is very similar to the way I teach Tai Chi. It is a water-like flow that begins with the imagination and propagates to the extremities. In Daoism, this flow is called the Yi (creative energy). This is different than the Zhi (willful energy).

In this video she uses singing as a metaphor. In Tai Chi I use waves in water or water filling a balloon.

https://youtu.be/tVkU_5G0Ow8


Last edited by Richrf; 03/19/17 12:01 PM.
#2625151 - 03/19/17 12:58 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Originally Posted by Richrf
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. ........

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.😃
Rich, what are you saying here with respect to Graham Fitch providing accurate information?


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#2625152 - 03/19/17 01:04 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Stubbie]  
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
Rich, what are you saying here with respect to Graham Fitch providing accurate information?


Hi Stubbie,

I don't usually describe things as accurate or inaccurate since everyone perceives things in different ways. In regards to Graham Fitch, his style of teaching does not resonate with me.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/19/17 01:04 PM.
#2625155 - 03/19/17 01:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by Stubbie
Rich, what are you saying here with respect to Graham Fitch providing accurate information?


Hi Stubbie,

I don't usually describe things as accurate or inaccurate since everyone perceives things in different ways. In regards to Graham Fitch, his style of teaching does not resonate with me.
Do you perceive Graham Fitch as providing inaccurate information?


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#2625156 - 03/19/17 01:35 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Stubbie]  
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by Stubbie
Rich, what are you saying here with respect to Graham Fitch providing accurate information?


Hi Stubbie,

I don't usually describe things as accurate or inaccurate since everyone perceives things in different ways. In regards to Graham Fitch, his style of teaching does not resonate with me.
Do you perceive Graham Fitch as providing inaccurate information?


Probably this deserves another thread. Thank you.

#2625169 - 03/19/17 03:18 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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This was in response to what I wrote.
Originally Posted by Richrf
One can seek precision in art if one wishes. It is the difference between Rembrandt and Monet - both seeking precision in their own manner.

We're missing each other here. I was referring to teaching, and trying to bring across things. In a very fundamental way, when you teach something you have to make sure the other person understands what you mean. So here it happens that on instruments where you create pitch, such as voice and violin, you can slide up to a note or down from it pitch-wise - this is a specific thing, sliding a pitch up or down. Another thing you can do with musical sound is to join one note to the next note (legato) or have an interruption of silence between them (staccato) with those degrees of silence being infinitely variable. Whether you are talking about pitch or moments of silence between notes - that is a definite precise thing. And that has to be clarified when there is confusion, just as a fundamental thing. It happens that "portamento" is largely used to mean a type of sliding into a pitch: that "portato" tends to be used to mean the silence-thing, but that in some quarters "portamento" is also used to mean the silence-thing. You can be intuitive, mystical and the rest in any art, but when describing something, people must be clear whether pitch or silence is meant.

Yes, Monet and Rembrandt were different. But they both used colours, shapes, and textures (those are the concretes or specifics). If one talked of "red" and the other thought "blue" was meant, there would be a problem. That is what I meant. smile

I once lost the chance to learn to play vibrato, because my teacher told me to move my "wrist" back and forth, when he meant the back of the hand. The wrist is the knobbly joint bendy thing. When I did precisely what he told me to do, it looked so weird that he got alarmed, and delayed teaching it for another two years. There is a "feeling" to vibrato; it is an emotional, delicate, beautiful, wistful elusive thing - I had that feeling, including in voice. But because he said "wrist" and meant back of hand, I couldn't follow the instructions.

#2625174 - 03/19/17 03:46 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Originally Posted by Richrf
This is one teacher's take on the subject. Of some interest are the associated comments. My own preference is to always try to understand the underlying concepts as opposed to the words being used, since word usage is constantly changing.

Most of the associated comments go toward that term again. Robert Estrin was aware of the problem which is why I put a double term in his title "Portato (Portamento)"
I agree 100% that the most important thing is concept(s). But I'll say that there is a marriage between a concept and a term, which makes it important and tricky. Your teacher taught a concept, and linked a word to that concept (in that order) so that when in her lessons she refers to "portamento" you keep that whole concept and experience in mind. If she didn't have a word for it, then she'd have to describe the whole thing over and over. Meanwhile when you try to bring this across to a group that has not studied with her, you have to be aware that the term will not mean anything to others - or mean something else You may well have to do an overview of the concept for it to come across, or they (we) may attach our own concept.

I think I get what she is actually doing by starting with this portato/portamento. The way many people learn to play, they are all "fingery" with a static pre-shaped hand and perhaps arms and wrists that are equally static. Trying to play legato and trying to hold on to each previous note last minute can make this even worse. Staccato, otoh, esp. repeated notes or chords, induces a more free and larger motion. Portato is somewhere between the two, and I can see it leading to a more free and graceful motion.

It was interesting to hear Robert talk about his experience as a brass player - the tata vs. the dada. On each instrument you experience it differently. The dada gives the feel of the sound as well. On violin, you create a continuous sound by having the bow rub against the string. If you lighten the pressure, as if you are about to lift off but don't quite so that the sound almost disappears and then comes back, that's the violin portato. (I actually thought the expression came from there, because you are sort of "carrying" the bow by lifting it briefly).

#2625185 - 03/19/17 04:40 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Originally Posted by Richrf
This is one of the channels I use for supplemental knowledge. ....

In this video she uses singing as a metaphor. In Tai Chi I use waves in water or water filling a balloon.

https://youtu.be/tVkU_5G0Ow8

I am familiar with this teacher. I haven't seen this video before - she seems to have brought out some new ones recently. I've done some thinking about the singing she presents, in particular - the same thing that she does around 27:00 (btw, that's "portamento" in the sense of glissing a pitch a short distance toward the target note). My thinking about this in particular:
- You can't bend pitch that way on piano, so what is she actually doing? At the same time she does a sideways motion at the wrist toward the next note. Putting this together - I had feedback that in my own playing, at times I will have a start-stop motion - reach note 1, stop my motion when I land there, restart the motion to get to note 2, etc. I was told of "perpetual motion" by the teacher who tends to stress this. Every time you stop, that's inertia, and effort in restarting. The concept is also "B as precise pitch, then C as a precise pitch, then D as a precise pitch" - like a distinct dot. Her glissing however mentally slides up the pitches so that you might picture a glissando even though you are producing a distinct B, then C, then D .... and joining the mental glissando with motion, this contains that continuous motion. That's what I figured out.

She also highlights that her previous idea had not totally worked for her: just mentally singing the notes didn't necessarily produce relaxed fingers. That makes sense to me, because when I sing (I'm an untrained singer) I'm not using the same physical apparatus as when I play. The whole thing is about JOINING TOGETHER all the things that work together: the whole body and all its part, the sounds you envision, and more. There are probably many ways of doing so.

An intriguing aside: In the beginning she talks about octaves, and how in that dream she dreamed that she had gigantic hands. The reverse of this is imagining that your hands are too small (she does not have large hands) and the need to stretch into the octaves - which creates a subconscious mental strain. By imagining your hands are gigantic, you're doing the opposite. This rang a bell, because a friend of mine took up viola, and her teacher (who taught violin and viola) kept telling her how "big and heavy" her instrument was. She was feeling a lot of discomfort. Then she worked briefly with a teacher who had her play "air viola" while he put on a recording - then had her freeze in place - then placed her actual viola on her. The "air viola" she was imagining was much bigger than the actual instrument. Constantly being told how big and heavy it was had caused her to imagine it that way, and then struggle.

#2625198 - 03/19/17 05:20 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring

We're missing each other here. I was referring to teaching, and trying to bring across things. In a very fundamental way, when you teach something you have to make sure the other person understands what you mean.


Thank you for your insights.

Yes, the instructor Illinca demonstrates everything repeatedly so there is no confusion in what she is suggesting. There are literally hous upon hours of a discussion about various techniques and gestures that can be used to produce different musical sounds. I believe visual demonstration is always the best way to demonstrate artistic ideas coupled with metaphors if applicable. Individual words are very susceptible to misinterpretation. I would never entertain the the thought of teaching Tai Chi with words. I think it is impossible.



Last edited by Richrf; 03/19/17 06:16 PM.
#2625478 - 03/20/17 05:12 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Since I have to hear the sound inside of me prior to playing it, I decided I needed to learn to look ahead in the piece as I play it but more importantly hear the notes before I play them. I am thinking that practicing singing would be a great supplement to my piano practice so I am perusing YouTube for singing exercises and lessons. Hopefully I find a channel that approaches singing less mechanical and more from creating the sound naturally from imagination.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/20/17 05:14 PM.
#2625758 - 03/21/17 05:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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At this point, I am repeating each lesson in such a way that I am hearing the music before playing the notes. Sometimes I have to scan ahead to see the notes before I hear them and then play them. Sometimes I just hear the notes and just play them. In this way I am developing a connection​ between the sounds I hear in my mind and the instrument I am using to produce the sounds. This is my primary focus and the course syllabus very much supports this learning process.

Not so Bastien or Alfred's which I decided to put aside at least for now. I can't figure out what the primary concept is behind these methods but it is not in concordance with this idea that I have. The Nikoleav book and this course seems to embrace a more naturally flowing learning process.

#2625761 - 03/21/17 05:44 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
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Which Bastien are you with? Primer?

I've done Primer, 1st and now 2nd level. I think it's good to learn to read? Pieces are graded slowly and tries to deal with the most basic concepts in order. Then the music is not like much of a thing... it's not like music most of the time, but I had fun with some uproarious pieces.

#2625764 - 03/21/17 05:50 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Albunea]  
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Originally Posted by Albunea
Which Bastien are you with? Primer?

I've done Primer, 1st and now 2nd level. I think it's good to learn to read? Pieces are graded slowly and tries to deal with the most basic concepts in order. Then the music is not like much of a thing... it's not like music most of the time, but I had fun with some uproarious pieces.


It's difficult to explain in words the particular issues I am having with Bastien and more so Alfred's, but there does not seem to be a natural learning flow for me. The early introduction of an enormous about of staccato in the Bastien pieces and the immobility in the Alfred pieces are very descriptive of the entire thought behind the methodologies. My own preference is for flow propogating throughout my body in a harmonious manner.

#2625765 - 03/21/17 05:51 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Albunea]  
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Originally Posted by Albunea
Which Bastien are you with? Primer?

I've done Primer, 1st and now 2nd level. I think it's good to learn to read? Pieces are graded slowly and tries to deal with the most basic concepts in order. Then the music is not like much of a thing... it's not like music most of the time, but I had fun with some uproarious pieces.


It's difficult to explain in words the particular issues I am having with Bastien and more so Alfred's, but there does not seem to be a natural learning flow for me. The early introduction of an enormous about of staccato in the Bastien pieces and the immobility in the Alfred pieces are very descriptive of the entire thought behind the methodologies. My own preference is for flow propagating throughout my body in a harmonious manner.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/21/17 05:52 PM.
#2625767 - 03/21/17 05:53 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,412
Albunea Offline
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Albunea  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,412
Spain
I was always using another method with music I like more, but that one was more difficult so I think Bastien really helped me in learning to read. Not sure how I'd have done with your method, for example. You are learning difficult pieces?

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