Author Archives: nikkitytom

“Lang Lang it … Get an Attitude!”

  “Just Lang Lang it  … get an attitude!” Every time I shout this “code” for energy and emotion to discourage a lackluster performance by a student who is either bored or adhering too strictly to standards of posture, counting … Continue reading

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“From Cosmic Space” … A Unity Hymn

This lovely contemporary hymn combines classical harmonies with lyrics suggesting a connection between physics and mysticism.   Keeping in mind the fact that many church choirs today are composed of members without extensive formal training and that far too much … Continue reading

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Those Pesky Dotted Notes

  “No no, dear … it’s One … Two and    …..   One Two and    …..   the dot comes on the second beat.” The teacher repeats this several times.   We demonstrate it a couple of times more. … Continue reading

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Cleaning Up Your “Presto”

You’ve been practicing a piece for several months and know every note.   You’ve brought it up to speed and even memorized it.  But there are still some sections … usually the faster ones … which are “murky”.  The notes … Continue reading

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Farinelli il Castrato

This remarkable movie filmed in 1994 won the Golden Globe award for foreign language films a year later.  It traces the career of Carlo Broschi (1715-1782) who was castrated as a child to preserve his voice and who, years later … Continue reading

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Choosing a Piano Teacher

Choosing a teacher for your child  … or for yourself … is the single most important decision you’ll ever make to assure you’ll learn quickly and correctly.  And above all, that music will become a permanent joy in your child’s … Continue reading

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Parents and Piano Recitals

By now my loyal readers should be well ware of my feelings regarding piano recitals. But search tags leading readers to this site, repeatedly show people inquiring about those  recitals.  I’ve had queries about suitable piano pieces, how to prepare … Continue reading

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For Career Music Teachers … Fair Fees and Rules

When I opened my piano studio twenty-five years ago in Honolulu  shortly after immigrating to the USA, I was immediately confronted with the problem of deciding what fees I should charge for lessons.  I had stellar qualifications with three degrees … Continue reading

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Metronome … Yes or No?

Metronome … Yes or no? Fifty years ago, this question would probably never have been broached.  The familiar little wooden pyramid was an almost ubiquitous accessory to the piano and the beginning student was introduced to it very quickly.  And … Continue reading

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Piano Exercises … Yes or No

Scales and arpeggios.   Schmitt, Plaidy, Pischna, and Hanon …  the list is a daunting one and almost every teacher is familiar with the task of administering this “medicine” to all her students.  Those fingers must be strengthened and evenness … Continue reading

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My Juilliard Debut … Lip Syncing

. “Of  course you had great talent.   You were a piano prodigy! ” my mother insisted again and again over the years whenever I pointed out that my musical talents were limited and that it was mostly love of … Continue reading

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Zee Ped-ALL … Take zee foot off zee PedALL

. Get zee foot off zee ped-all   … Zee Ped-ALL   …  Too much Ped-ALL … In over a decade of studying music, under a panoply of instructors, ranging from my first gentle and encouraging teacher, to the dynamic and often … Continue reading

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The Classical Typewriter

. . This is a delightful bit of whimsy.  The music was originally written in 1950 by Leroy Anderson as an orchestral score but gained huge popularity after Jerry Lewis’s brilliant and wickedly funny pantomimed performance in  “Who’s Minding the Store” … Continue reading

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Repeat Repeat and REPEAT!

. Yesterday I found myself woefully entangled in a contemporary fugue with complicated fingering.  It apparently was composed on MuseScore using an electronic sound device which was erroneously labeled as an  “accoustic piano”.  This horrible digital instrument merely recorded and spit back the appropriate notes in … Continue reading

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Little Katy …. The Second Lesson

Like so many of life’s lessons, the one taught to me by the little marihuana plant didn’t come to fruition until later.   About three years later. When my marriage ended, I returned to Montreal and my little condo.  Shaken by the upheaval … Continue reading

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Little Marijuana Plant …. The First Lesson

 I met “Ermawn” in Montreal over twenty years ago.   And also met my first marihuana plant a couple of weeks later in his condo “grow room”. I was home for my annual summer break from the sweltering hot and oppressive … Continue reading

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Victor Borge … “The Page-Turner” … Classy Classic Comedy

 Victor Borge   “I only know two pieces;  one is Clair de Lune and the other one isn’t” Victor Borge is probably one of the most beloved comedians of the twentieth century.  He was born in 1909 in Copenhagen where his … Continue reading

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“Big Hands” … An Hilarious Spoof by Igudesman and Joo

Okay …  I confess.   I have a weakness for superb musicians who toss decorum to the winds while they indulge in a good prank.  I loved Victor Borge years ago and now this dazzling pair are bringing back some of the fun … Continue reading

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“You Vill Zank me Zomeday”

It was the Banff scholarship which finally ended my father’s promise to match the value of any award I  won.   It was a six-week summer session at the Banff School of Fine Arts and included everything but the plane fare.   … Continue reading

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The Best Learning Trick Ever!

I’m going to share my best learning secret for piano students right here.   It’s a simple trick which works on two basic principles. ♥   The first is that the brain is a computer which operates with amazing precision. ♥   The second … Continue reading

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