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Editions- a mention

28 Oct

What edition are you learning _____ from?

Why is this important to any developing artist at the piano? It’s important because every note is crucial. What we see, hopefully as close to the Composer’s written hand manuscript as possible.  Close to the Composer’s notes written in his students’ studied scores. All, to “recreate” a hearing of the piece that is live and as close to the “intent” of the composer as possible. Or, to know that which is intended and bring out nuances that, debatable, reflect a historical representation of sounds leading to that piece’s interpretation.

So, Tuesday, I went to the small Honolulu music store adjacent to Sanders Piano on King Street. And, I asked if they had a Durand edition of the Debussy Preludes.  Apparently, not. There was a small dose of Debussy that wasn’t much thicker than Beethoven’s complete Sonatas in Henle and the Complete Mozart Sonatas in Presser. The Debussy editions available were Henle, Alfred, and Schirmer. There wasn’t even a Dover Edition. And, then I was left with one choice for the Preludes, and I cringed…it was the Schirmer Edition. Something I was told to NEVER work from (except for my Concerti for already set competitions to be one by the highest bidder- not I).

So, There are no fingerings in the Schirmer edition. The print itself seems too lifeless…I don’t know how to explain that, being that I am the daughter of a Printer. And, there is no acknowledgement of where this edition was derived. There is a 1900 copyright acknowledgement and international copyright claim posted with G. Schirmer Inc., ASCAP on the 1st prelude page. I’m not sure about the notes throughout the edition. And being that Hawaii already severely lacks resources, it is quite expensive for me to order books since there is no free shipping to Hawaii;- I’m still waiting for 2 shipments of books for students that were to be here on the 18th, and have still not arrived via USPS from Amazon (5 days left before I can formally complain.)

However, with some recordings and listening and a highlighter in hand I’ll mark any stray notes and accidentals, as I have done in comparing a Dover edition of Mussorgsky’s Picture’s at an Exhibition with an International Music Company, (Frankenstein edition) of Pictures at an Exhibition. There seem to be more errors in the Dover Edition.

However, The only really decent editions I have secured after my $30,000 solo music library of good editions that I secured over the years was stolen, like my good CD’s by by college classmates, is in some Sikorski editions. Not to mention college faculty stealing my old Chopin markings with all my other scores from my Music School basement locker It would be nice, if anyone has editions to send my way;- to drop them in the mail to me. Even IMSLP is difficult for me to afford in printing costs, due to the high volume of pages that comprise my repertoire. I’m sure there’s a pianist, or anti-pianist laughing about further damaging my career while helping plenty of “their own”. This is not something new I have to contend with, though I have a love of music that is very seperate from the people who make this a most difficult path to exist on.


Tough decision time…

25 Oct

I had rice with teriyaki flavored nori & natto for dinner. Couldn’t focus on my practice. I feel that I have to decide on terminating a student before recital time due to 2 years of continual missed & mostly unpaid lessons on my time (wasted) & total disrespect of my policy (for the most part). Not a good situation, the person is seemingly spiteful towards me in private and the improvement is to little too late. I told them after the 3rd time – 2 years ago how unhappy I was. The behavior continued and is now a messy catastrophe with an (1) unpracticed work. My patience has been burned from both ends of the candle, and the fuse is nearly out. But I’m short on students who will commit to playing in a recital so there is a printed program. And, it costs me the same to hold the venue and everything else for 1 person (myself) as it does for 30.  Too frustrating right now….is taking me away from adding some Liszt to the program. Abusive people to my pianist mindset, whether intended or not detract from entire programs being completed, because I’m not in a good frame of mind. When I was 16, I eliminated people out of my studio who were like this so I could focus on me. It landed me @$100000+ in awards, scholarships, & paid expenses for my Chopin Ballade and Beethoven & Bach. I don’t see that much has changed 20 years later, in the sense that I know that my pieces are suffering.

How to sit at the piano

13 Oct

New parents who are serious about helping their child learn the piano, and adult learners should find a way to sit at the piano that is comfortable. There are many techniques that stem from first seating oneself on the piano bench. Any excellent teacher will be able to correct how a specific student sits at the piano to achieve a different performance effect, technique, sound, etc. To sit at the piano is studied and reworked when an advanced student is exploring sound production and reworking inferior techniques.

Annually, many inexperienced students who audition run up to pianos, bow, and plop themselves down on the bench and begin playing. They should demonstrate careful consideration of how they sit, individually, to the judges. There is no “universal” playing position simply (on the bench) that is where the bench was placed at the beginning of the auditions for ALL of the performers. This shows a seriousness about classical sound production and artistry, and that their instructor has taught this very basic and important component of good or excellent piano technique. Many students today, from Pennsylvania, NewYork to Hawaii neglect this most important part of their artistry when going before judges. And, some students then wonder why, the judges didn’t hear them play at all, or only heard a measure or so of one piece before hearing “Thankyou, that will be all” from the back of the audition room.


Distance from keys:  Sit on the bench an arm’s length from the fallboard (where the brand name of the piano is displayed above middle c). Then, sit on the bench so that your navel is at the center of the keys and extend your arms as far as possible (the entire distance of the keyboard) Small children will need to learn to balance or move themselves to reach the highest and lowest pitches.

Height for the bench:  Let arms hang naturally and rest hands on the piano with bent elbows. This is a good bench height for smaller adults as well. Taller adults and children can sit this way or lower their elbows to being almost parallel to the keytops.

*Support the back by keeping footstools nearby for small children. Adults should place feet on the floor near the pedals.


Distance from keys:  Small children to adults can sit closer than arms length (up to half the distance) to the piano. This is sometimes difficult to do at an upright since there is no space around the pedals, so it is more ideal for children at an upright rather than adults at an upright. This works best when seated at a grand piano.

Height for the bench:   The relaxed shoulder and arm should hang loosely and let the hands rest on the piano with bent elbows. The elbows should be at a 40 to 45 degree angle above the keytops.


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