Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s subject is about how to play for your piano teacher. I’ve been doing a lot of teaching lately, and I’m enjoying it. I’ve been so busy for the past few years I didn’t have time for much teaching. Now I’ve made the time, and through the wonder of video chat, I have students from all over the world! They are amazing, talented, and dedicated students. It’s a real joy! But I’ve noticed something with my students. If you are a piano student you’ve probably had this experience. You work all week long, then you go to play for your teacher and everything messes up! It’s so frustrating! You want to show your teacher what you’ve done, but you can’t play! Everything’s coming out wrong! Things that you never messed up are going wrong and you feel like an idiot! What can you do about that?

You don’t have to try to impress your teacher.

I want to reflect upon this whole notion of performing for your teacher. You have to understand that your teacher is a confidant. Your teacher is someone who really understands you, if you have the right teacher. You don’t have to try to impress them. They are there to nurture you and to help you get the most out of your practice. It’s not the most important thing for you to play your absolute best when you’re first playing for your teacher. Of course, it’s a great frustration if you don’t play your best when playing for your teacher. But how well you perform a piece for your teacher at the beginning of a lesson is really not the most important thing. A teacher can look beyond those things. The things that they’re going to go over with you have very little to do with the quality of that particular performance. Having said that, I know you want to play better for your teacher so I am going to address that.

You want to show that you can play the music. How can you prepare for such a thing?

It’s amazing how you can play something by yourself at home a bunch of times, and it sounds great! But as soon as you play for someone else, you make mistakes. With in-person lessons the classic statement was, “It went better at home.” Now there’s no excuses. You are at home! So what can you do to prepare so that you can play your best? You must prepare by performing. This is critical. A couple of days before your lesson when you feel really confident, set up the same device that you’re going to have your lesson on and record yourself as if it’s a performance for your teacher. If you go to lessons in person, imagine being in the room you’re going to be in with your teacher. Then make yourself play through your music and see what happens. Psych yourself into the reality that this is the moment you are playing for your teacher. You can actually create that same sense. You’ll always learn something from this. You could even record it. Then if it comes out great, you can send it to your teacher to prove to them that you can play that thing that you never seem to be able to play for them at lessons!

Playing for your teacher can be more relaxed than a performance.

Let’s say you’re working on a new piece. Maybe you don’t have the whole piece learned, so you have to take the end pretty slow. Should you take the whole piece dramatically slower to accommodate the end? Well, not necessarily. In a performance situation, whatever speed you can play the whole piece is the tempo you must play from the beginning. But you might have worked extensively on the exposition of a sonata, yet the development you really haven’t gotten into that much. So you want to play the first part up to tempo to work with your teacher to get it on an even higher level. Then at a certain point you can say, “Okay, this part, I don’t know as well, I’m going to play slower now.”

Changing tempo throughout a piece that you’re learning is not in anybody’s best interest. But playing the first section at a tempo that you’re comfortable with, and then slowing down when you need to, can be appropriate at your lesson. If you have only part of a piece memorized, you can reference the score. You wouldn’t do these things during a performance, but these are all valid ways of playing for your teacher!

Remember, your teacher is there for you!

It’s not about impressing your teacher. It’s about being able to show some kind of representation in the course of the lesson so your teacher can help guide your practice techniques for the following week. So it’s not necessarily about impressing them. However, if you take my advice and practice performing, and record your performance as if it’s your teacher listening to you, you may be able to have more satisfaction in that initial performance at your lesson and subsequent playing during the course of your lesson. Then you won’t feel frustrated that you’re not showing a true representation of your abilities.

I want everyone to know I am not judging you! For my students, I am only here to help you. I hope this helps all you piano students out there feel more confident when playing for your teachers! And teachers, remember to be sensitive to your students so they can feel good about coming into lessons and playing their best, which is what it’s all about. We’re all on the same side here! Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.

For premium videos and exclusive content, you can join my Living Pianos Patreon channel! www.Patreon.com/RobertEstrin

Contact me if you are interested in private lessons. I have many resources for you! Robert@LivingPianos.com

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How to Play for Your Piano Teacher

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s subject is about how to play for your piano teacher. I’ve been doing a lot of teaching lately, and I’m enjoying it. I’ve been so busy for the past few years I didn&

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s subject is about how to learn and memorize fugues. Fugues are some of the most complex examples of counterpoint. Most music has melody and harmony. Typically on the piano, you have the melody in the right hand and accompaniment in the left-hand. But with a fugue, you have several intertwining melodies. To demonstrate this, I’ve chosen the C Minor Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier book one. I’m choosing this one because it’s a relatively simple fugue. I want you to understand the methodology, because it’s going to apply to all counterpoint and all fugues.

A fugue has a subject and a countersubject.

The entire fugue is built upon the subject and countersubject. The subject is stated and then the subject repeats starting in a different key, typically, the dominant (5 notes above the starting note). So with the C Minor Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier, the subject repeats starting on G. While that’s happening, the counter subject is introduced. Amazingly, the entire fugue is crafted from those two elements! The subject is of particular importance. So you want to bring out the subject wherever it occurs. Of course it will start with just the subject, but then when the subject returns in the dominant, you want to bring that out more than the countersubject. Throughout the entire fugue you want to bring out the subject whenever it occurs.

Sometimes the subject is divided between the hands.

Any of you who follow my YouTube channel knows that I learn music and teach music by absorbing digestible chunks of music at a time. Dividing the hands and learning hands separately is a great way of doing that. Once you can play each hand fluently from memory, you have a good chance of being able to play the hands together and getting that memorized. But with a fugue, sometimes it’s not so neat and tidy! This is true of any music that has substantial counterpoint. When you have a place in the music where the fugue subject is divided between your two hands, you still want to bring out the subject. So anytime the fugue subject is divided between the hands, you want to play it so you hear it when you play hands together. That way, you can bring out the fugue subject, even when it’s divided between the hands.

So aside from learning hands separately, you also want to have the integrity of all the lines so you can hear them. You must not only learn the hands separately, but make sure that you follow each voice through, particularly in instances where a voice is divided between the hands. You need to hear each voice. Play voices by themselves so you can hear them. Then when you play the hands together, even if you do learn hands separately, you can follow through and hear the voices. You don’t want to hear just your separate hands, because they really are not complete by themselves when a subject (or countersubject) is divided between the hands.

That’s the method for learning fugues!

Learning a fugue uses the same methodology as learning any music, but with the extra element of following the counterpoint of all the lines. Now this is a very simple example. Sometimes you have things that get really complicated. You’ll see fugues where notes are constantly dividing between the hands. So you really have to study the score to hear what’s going on and not just abstractly learn each hand separately when voices are divided between the hands since that doesn’t always make sense. I hope this is helpful for you! Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.

For premium videos and exclusive content, you can join my Living Pianos Patreon channel! www.Patreon.com/RobertEstrin

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How to Learn a Fugue

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s subject is about how to learn and memorize fugues. Fugues are some of the most complex examples of counterpoint. Most music has melody and harmony. Typically on the piano, you have t

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is about why learning music one line at a time makes no sense. I’m going to demonstrate this for you in two ways. First, I’m going to play the beginning of Bach’s famous Minuet in G. I’m just going to play the first line. Then I’m going to do something different to show you why it makes absolutely no sense to learn a line of music at a time. It’s not just that it might not be the appropriate length of material to learn at a time. It’s something else that you’re going to understand once I give you this parallel. Let’s take the first line of Bach’s Minuet in G. Bach composed so many of these lovely pieces that are little gems that are accessible even to people in relatively early years of study. I love these pieces! They are a treasure for piano students. And they’re great pieces as well.

If you approach this piece and learn just the first line to start, why wouldn’t that make sense?

For an example, I’m going to read you a little bit of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night. I’m just going to read the first line of this play. “The fog was where I wanted to be, halfway down the path you can’t see this…” That first line doesn’t really make sense. But if I were to read the entire line, it says, “The fog was where I wanted to be. Halfway down the path you can’t see this house.” Alright, now that has meaning. So how does that relate to music? Well, if you listen to the rest of the musical phrase of the Bach Minuet, not just the line, you get the full musical idea. Just as the text of the play makes more sense by finishing the sentence, the music makes more sense by finishing the phrase, which doesn’t always line up with the lines of music.

Instead of learning music line by line, learn one phrase at a time.

The phrase is a complete thought, whereas the line is arbitrary. It makes much more sense to learn the phrase. Now if that’s too much material to learn, you could break it in half and learn half phrases at a time. That would still make sense. Knowing how much music to learn at a time is important. If I go further with this Eugene O’Neill play, the next sentence, “You’d never know it was here or any of the other places down the…” Obviously, that doesn’t work at all. Of course, it’s supposed to go on. “You’d never know it was here or any of the other places down the avenue.” Much like on the Bach Minuet, if I take the next phrase and just go to the end of the line, you end up with an incomplete thought. It makes about as much sense as learning half a sentence in a play, doesn’t it? Because you need to finish the phrase.

The music is written out on the page in a certain way, but that has no bearing on how much to learn at a time.

 

It’s critical to learn sections that make sense musically. Also, to take the amount that you can digest in a relatively reasonable amount of time. Because if you take too large of a chunk, just like if you are memorizing lines of a play and you try to memorize a whole paragraph, you might read it until your eyes are crossed and you still might not get it! But if you take just a sentence at a time and string the sentences together it is much more digestible. It’s exactly the same with your music! Take an amount you can digest, learning hands separately, taking five minutes with each hand, another five minutes to put them together, and then you can go on phrase by phrase connecting material as you go. It’s just like memorizing a play!

I hope this is helpful for you! I hope it’s opened your eyes to the significance of the musical phrase. Sometimes phrases are delineated with slur markings over them. Sometimes you just have to get a sense of the music in order to know how much to take at a time, because it varies tremendously. Some pieces have very long phrases, other pieces have shorter phrases. So it isn’t one-size-fits-all. You have to use your musical sense by reading through the piece first to understand the structure and the sizes of the phrases. Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.

For premium videos and exclusive content, you can join my Living Pianos Patreon channel! www.Patreon.com/RobertEstrin

Contact me if you are interested in private lessons. I have many resources for you! Robert@LivingPianos.com

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Why You Shouldn’t Learn Music One Line at a Time

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is about why learning music one line at a time makes no sense. I’m going to demonstrate this for you in two ways. First, I’m going to play the beginning of Bach’

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is personal. I found an old video of an improvisation I did with my nephews which I’m going to share with you today. Google photos is really cool, because you can go through and look up places or time periods. All the pictures or videos you took from that time or place come up. I was just exploring that the other day and found an improvisation I did with some family members almost seven years ago! It was just a spontaneous thing that popped up and I thought you would enjoy it.

Let me tell you a little bit about these guys.

They are my nephews. Both of them are very accomplished musicians. First, there’s Sean Kleve. Sean is a percussionist. He graduated from the Manhattan School of Music. He’s played in all kinds of orchestras and such. He has a great percussion ensemble called Clocks in Motion, which is worth checking out. In high school he was very accomplished on piano. He even played the Grieg Piano Concerto with orchestra. Currently, he’s got a really cool Twitch. If you go to Twitch you can see his video streaming playing harpsichord. So if you’re into harpsichord, you’ll definitely want to check that out!

My other nephew, who plays the other piano in this video is Evan Kleve. Evan is a really accomplished violinist. He’s done everything from playing with symphony orchestras to touring with rock bands. He’s also a really fine trumpeter. One night, it was late, there were no preconceived notions, we just started playing together. I thought what came out was really cool! I encourage all of you, whether you have training or no training, to try improvising. Sometimes things just come together. I hope you enjoy this.

See the video here

You may have noticed a little cameo from my daughter, Jenny, who walked through. This was one of those late night jams. All kinds of things were happening. We had a great time. Nearly my entire extended family are musicians of one sort or another. Whenever we get together, there’s all kinds of music! I thought I’d share this little personal glimpse with you. I hope you enjoyed it! If you like these sorts of things, let me know in the comments below! Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.

For premium videos and exclusive content, you can join my Living Pianos Patreon channel! www.Patreon.com/RobertEstrin

Contact me if you are interested in private lessons. I have many resources for you! Robert@LivingPianos.com

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Family Improvisation

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is personal. I found an old video of an improvisation I did with my nephews which I’m going to share with you today. Google photos is really cool, because you can go throug

Hi, I’m Robert Estrin and this is LivingPianos.com. Today’s subject is about the ultimate piano scam. I made a video years ago about piano scams. It’s a pretty popular video. Apparently, a lot of people have been the subject of attempted piano scams. There are so many people doing the same scams over and over again! I’m going to tell you how you can spot a scammer!

If you are selling a piano, be aware of this common scam.

Let’s say you have a piano for sale and somebody is interested in the piano. Everything goes easier than you think it will, no negotiation, not as many questions as you would expect. This is a telltale sign of a scam, but you never know, so you follow through. At the end of the line they want to buy the piano. Then, sure enough, a cashier’s check arrives in the mail. You look at the check and see it’s made out for more money than the cost of the piano. Next thing you know, you get an email. (By the way, these scams are almost always through email, rarely on the phone.) In the email, they explain that the check includes extra money for you to pay their piano mover, as they have arranged for the move. Then they have you send money to the mover, the $500 or whatever it is. Then of course you find out that the check is no good. I’m so tired of this scam. People are doing this same scam over and over. A little originality, please. Well, be careful what you wish for! Because we did get one recently that was very creative.

A new piano scam.

I want to bring this scam to your attention because we got contacted by another potential victim of this scam in an interesting way, which I’m going to get to at the end of this article. Here’s how this one goes. If you’re a piano teacher or a piano store, or anyone who has anything to do with piano, you may get an email saying, “My father just died and I have to get rid of his piano. I just want it to go to a good home.” Right away, it might raise suspicion. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But that’s not always the case. You can miss out on a lot of opportunities in life if you always assume any good thing is a scam, because a lot of times they aren’t! We do sometimes get offers for free pianos. Sometimes it’s harder to sell a piano than it’s worth for the time it takes. So it wasn’t so unusual that we got this offer, although this piano was a little bit nicer than most of the free pianos that are offered to us. So we were just waiting to see what would happen next.

We were told the piano was in storage and to contact the moving and storage company. In this case we actually talked to someone on the phone, which is really unusual. Most scams are all done through email because they’re sending a massive number of emails. Also, they might be in a different country and can’t speak English well enough. But these scammers were pretty clever. We got an email from the moving and storage company giving us rates for the move of the piano. They were in a neighboring state. Here’s where it gets really creative. They had a website for the moving company. The website looked totally legitimate. Everything was there, address, phone number, everything.

There are very few national piano movers.

We were actually more excited about the moving company than we were about the free piano! There are so few companies that specialize in long distance piano moves. Walter Piano Transport is a great company, Modern Piano Moving is another one. Keyboard Carriage is a company that caters mostly to the piano industry. There are just about no other major national piano moving companies. This moving company had different options for one day, four day, or ten day moves at different price points. It never works that way with piano moves. Piano moves are very sporadic. They can sometimes take months, and they usually can’t promise such specific timeframes. I realized it was a scam. That was the tip off. But boy, there was such sophistication in this scheme!

We were recently contacted by someone who was also targeted by the same scam.

Here’s where it gets really crazy. These scammers randomly used pictures from LivingPianos.com of a piano we had for sale years ago. This person was smart enough to search the serial number of the piano and found it on LivingPianos.com. They contacted us and I said, “No, we know nothing about this. In fact, we got emails from people trying to pull off the same scam on us!” So if you get something in your email about a free piano and they have the moving company all lined up, it may look legit, but it’s probably not. So be aware! This is a scam that I hadn’t seen before. I respect the intelligence and how far they went to try to perpetrate the scam. But obviously, ripping people off is something that’s disgusting and should be stopped!

How can you avoid being scammed?

You just have to be diligent and do your homework! Always check the URLs. Also, if there’s an address, go to Google Maps to see if the place actually exists. This moving company was on Google. But if you dig deep, you’ll always be able to uncover these scams for what they are. Be careful out there! And if any of you see something that you think could be a scam, feel free to email us at info@LivingPianos.com and we’ll get to the bottom of it for you! I hope this is helpful for you! Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.

For premium videos and exclusive content, you can join my Living Pianos Patreon channel! www.Patreon.com/RobertEstrin

Contact me if you are interested in private lessons. I have many resources for you! Robert@LivingPianos.com

THE TOP 5 PIANO SCAMS

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The Ultimate Piano Scam

Hi, I’m Robert Estrin and this is LivingPianos.com. Today’s subject is about the ultimate piano scam. I made a video years ago about piano scams. It’s a pretty popular video. Apparently, a lot of people have been the subject of atte

Welcome to LivingPianos.com. I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is about how to get a unique sound out of the piano. It seems like all that’s involved in getting a sound out of the piano is just the speed at which the hammers hit the strings. So how could you possibly get a unique sound? Obviously, singers each have distinctive sounds because the physiology of everyone’s body and vocal chords are unique. With wind instruments, it’s the same thing because the whole vibrating chamber within you is essentially part of the instrument. But the piano is a mechanical contraption. How could you possibly get a unique sound? Yet, if you listen to different pianists, you hear drastically different sounds! You might wonder how this is possible. Well, there’s a lot to this subject.

First let’s talk a little bit about the mechanics of a piano.

I just happen to have an instrument with the action of a nine-foot concert grand piano I use on many of my videos. It’s my second prototype, modular piano system. You see that you push a key and the hammer goes up. Key goes down, hammer goes up. Really the only thing affecting the key once it’s pushed is its speed. It’s the only thing being measured. You might wonder how you can possibly get a unique sound. Is it really possible, the physics of it? The answer is yes! I’m going to explain how this is possible.

First of all, of course the speed has a lot to do with the tone and the loudness. Before we get into the subtleties of pedaling, what about just playing with your hands? Can you really get different qualities of sound just with your hands? For example, if I were to play Bach’s Sarabande Movement from his G Major French Suite no. 5, to see if it’s possible to achieve a different sound playing it with two completely different types of touches, I wonder if you can hear any difference.

See the accompanying video to hear for yourself!

You might have noticed some different shadings of expression. It is possible to play with completely different techniques in order to create different qualities of sound. The first time I just let my fingers be totally relaxed and floppy. I just let them play the attack of the note without any regard to the sustain of the note. You might be thinking it doesn’t make any difference on a piano, but it does! Why it does and how it does is partly due to the fluidities from note to note. You have the analog of the breath by the weight of the arm being transferred smoothly from note to note. That’s one aspect of sound. And secondly, the precise balance between the hands. It can be achieved by having different weights in the two hands and even different weights on the different sides of the hands. So right there, already, you can hear some difference.

The sustain pedal allows for even more expression.

When you add the complexities of what the pedals do on the piano, there are dramatic differences! Of course, if you put the pedal down before you play a note, it’s going to have an echoey sound. In fact, it almost has a little plume right after the initial attack. But if you want to achieve a truly sustained tone, you wouldn’t want to necessarily have that large swell on the attack. You probably would want to increase the sustain of the tone by pedaling just after the initial attack. You do this to capture more sustain, to make the note hold longer so you can create a smooth line instead of a percussive quality of each note. By pushing the pedal down about half a second after playing each note, you can achieve much more sustain. There’s a subtle difference in the tone. The sustain is more full when you put the pedal down after the initial attack. Unlike putting it down before you play the note, which just makes the beginning of it very loud and doesn’t really achieve that continuous quality you want, to mimic the sound of a human voice or a bowed instrument.

Many modern digital pianos will do some of the same things I’m talking about by using physical models of acoustic pianos. But naturally doing this on an acoustic piano is the ideal situation for you. I’m using Pianoteq physical modeling piano software which is not sample based. So you can really get a feel for the sound of the pedals and all the complexities of piano tone.

The una corda pedal can also help to create a sustained tone.

The una corda pedal, or soft pedal, is the one on the left. On a grand piano it shifts the whole action over so the hammers are not striking directly on all three strings. They strike more directly on two of them. You get a warmer tone, because the initial attack is less intense, yet the sympathetic vibration of the three strings is relatively more prevalent. You get a more sustained tone just by using the una corda pedal. It’s not just softer, but the envelope of the sound is different. The initial attack is less and the sustain relative to the attack is greater.

Combining the una corda pedal with the technique I showed you earlier of depressing the sustain pedal just after the initial attack, you can get a very sustained, continuous tone. And that’s just scraping the surface, because you can utilize the pedal in innumerable ways. You can try half-pedaling techniques, where the dampers are just coming a little bit in contact with the strings, just to be able to dampen the tone a little bit to get different tonal colors. There are even ways of fluttering the pedal or just using little bits of pedal here and there to bring out certain notes within a line. So yes, there are ways in which you can get different sounds out of the piano with the pedals as well!

Support the weight of your arms when playing massive chords instead of hitting the keyboard.

When you hit the keyboard, it’s a rather harsh sound. Whereas if you keep your fingers on the surface of the keys, you can precisely depress all of the notes with the same energy. It’s a more musically pleasing sound. You do this to avoid some of the notes being overplayed and harsh while others are underplayed. You don’t have the same control when you are hitting the keyboard from above. Try that on a fine grand piano and you’ll really hear a difference!

Pianists have dramatically different sounds! Ultimately one of the most important components of getting a unique sound out of the piano is how you balance the notes within a chord or the lines within counterpoint. You can achieve a tremendous variety of sound on the very same pieces of music. I often love to listen to a great number of performances of the same piece with great pianists. It’s so enlightening! I encourage you to do the same thing. YouTube is a tremendous resource for that. Look up almost any piece of music and you’ll usually have dozens of different performances from professionals, up and coming pianists, and even students. You’ll hear a great variety of sounds on the piano.

So yes, you can get a unique sound out of the piano! I’ve just shown you many techniques, and there’s even more for you to discover. I’d love to hear your ideas for getting a unique sound out of the piano! Let me know in the comments! Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.

For premium videos and exclusive content, you can join my Living Pianos Patreon channel! www.Patreon.com/RobertEstrin

Contact me if you are interested in private lessons. I have many resources for you! Robert@LivingPianos.com

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How to Get A Unique Sound on the Piano

Welcome to LivingPianos.com. I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is about how to get a unique sound out of the piano. It seems like all that’s involved in getting a sound out of the piano is just the speed at which the hammers hit the st

This is LivingPianos.com. I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is about the difference between sforzando and forte. On the piano, it’s really tough. You don’t have much control over the shape of the tone once a note is played, other than the pedals. I’ll get into that in a moment. You must be able to delineate what a sforzando is compared to a forte or fortepiano. Sometimes you’ll see a forte and right after that a piano (FP)! What is it!? Is it forte or is it piano? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today!

Forte means loud.

Forte indicates everything is played at a high volume. On the piano when you play a note, it’s immediately fading away. So you get a strong attack. In fact, when you play the piano without the pedal, everything is somewhat sforzando, because a sforzando is basically just a strong attack. So forte is loud throughout, sforzando is a strong attack that fades away, whereas a fortepiano is like a sforzando, but with a longer time before the sound diminishes in volume. I also play French horn. All of those distinctions can be achieved with much more precision on the horn. So how do you achieve these things on the piano?

One sforzando technique is to let go of the pedal after the initial attack to make the chord fade away.

You can fake a sforzando-like sound by utilizing the pedal. It’s a very subtle difference in tone. Little touches of the pedal sometimes can create a sforzando effect. On the piano we don’t have as much to work with on the tone of a note once it’s struck. All you have are the pedals! You can do half pedals, you can incorporate the soft as well pedal. But to understand the tone you’re after is key for achieving the desired results. If you listen to the beginning of Vladimir Horowitz’s performance of the Pathetique Sonata of Beethoven, it is very stark in the way he pedals it to get that fortepiano effect. Other pianists play a little bit smoother, without so much angularity in their fortepiano or sforzandi. So there are a lot of different ways of approaching this.

On the piano, you just have to do your best with what you have to work with.

On the piano, you can use the pedal to try to achieve some sense of the beginning of the note compared to the end of the note. But on wind instruments and string instruments, there are infinite possibilities for the shape of every note! That’s why you see all these different markings of accents in the score: fortepiano, sforzando, accents, fortissimo piano, et cetera. You have to understand what the sound would be if it was played by a symphony orchestra, or a string quartet, or a brass choir, to get a sense of the sound you are after. As a pianist, you just have to do the best you can with your hands and your pedaling to achieve the sound the composer intended.

I hope this is helpful for you! Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.

For premium videos and exclusive content, you can join my Living Pianos Patreon channel! www.Patreon.com/RobertEstrin

Contact me if you are interested in private lessons. I have many resources for you! Robert@LivingPianos.com

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What’s the Difference Between Sforzando and Forte?

This is LivingPianos.com. I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is about the difference between sforzando and forte. On the piano, it’s really tough. You don’t have much control over the shape of the tone once a note is played, other

This is LivingPianos.com. I’m Robert Estrin. Today I will answer a question I received from a viewer. Heinrich asks, “Is it true that you should never trust a person selling pianos?” There are so many implications to this question. I was taken aback by this. What kind of experiences has this man had? And if he’s had these experiences, how many others out there have had similar experiences? To answer this question, I want to talk about something personal.

We recently bought a restored Victorian building in the Waterloo Arts District in Cleveland.

The Waterloo Arts District in Cleveland is the new home of Living Pianos! The building is a magnificent structure that was built during the Civil War. It’s absolutely beautiful! Throughout the building there’s woodwork from old growth forest. You just don’t see that anymore. But nobody ever did anything with the floors. They looked old and tired. We came across a contractor who was recommended by my brother-in-law, who restores floors. It can be a hair-raising experience dealing with contractors. They tell you a bunch of stuff. You don’t know what to believe! They’re usually trying to sell you all kinds of things. You don’t know what you should do. But when you have a great salesperson, like we had, it makes all the difference. Johnny took us through and showed us everything we needed to understand. He educated us. More importantly, he listened to us.

There’s nothing worse than a salesperson who doesn’t listen to you.

We’ve all dealt with bad salespeople. You can talk until you’re blue in the face, but they’re obviously just trying to sell you something. They’re not solving your problem. Ultimately what a great salesperson does is listen to you so they understand your situation and can solve your problem.

Great salespeople are few and far between.

Are you more likely to meet a bad salesperson in the piano industry? I don’t believe there are worse salespeople in the piano industry compared to other industries. But great salespeople are quite rare. For example, years ago I had an opportunity to move to California, managing the tenth largest music store in the country. This was in Universal City. The store catered to the recording industry. I’ve always been very absorbed, some would say obsessed, with music technology. It was a natural fit for me. The reason I bring this up is that people would come in and they would ask for a specific item. They had it in their mind, they wanted this one item. And instead of just ringing it up, I’d ask about their studio. I’d ask about the other gear in their studio and what they were after with the item they came for. Sometimes I could steer them to a less expensive item that would solve their problem.

A great salesperson will listen to somebody to know what they’re trying to achieve and educate them so they can make the right decisions for themselves.

I’d like to think that there are people in the piano industry who are truly helping people. I know many people in the piano industry who have a passion for the piano and really care about the people and the music. But I want to hear from you! I want to know what your experiences have been. Are great salespeople more common in the piano industry? Or do you feel that the piano industry has more of the self-serving type? I hope it’s the former and not the latter! Let’s get a discussion going on this topic, because Heinrich really wants to know, and so do I. He brought up a really good point. I’m looking forward to the comments about this! Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.

For premium videos and exclusive content, you can join my Living Pianos Patreon channel! www.Patreon.com/RobertEstrin

Contact me if you are interested in private lessons. I have many resources for you! Robert@LivingPianos.com

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Should You Trust A Piano Salesperson?

This is LivingPianos.com. I’m Robert Estrin. Today I will answer a question I received from a viewer. Heinrich asks, “Is it true that you should never trust a person selling pianos?” There are so many implications to this question.

Welcome to LivingPianos.com. I’m Robert Estrin. Today I’m going to tell you about 5 classical music myths. I’m going to finally put these myths to rest! I hear these things all the time. But usually from people who don’t have much exposure to classical music. They just think these things are true, but they’re really not. Are they 100% categorically false? Not all of them. But generally, these things are not necessarily true:

Myth #1 – Classical music is relaxing.

People will say they like classical music because it’s relaxing. And it’s true that some classical music is relaxing. There’s some beautiful music on the piano as well as other instruments. But classical music isn’t just relaxing. It can elicit a wide variety of emotions. It can be angry. It can be scary. It can be exciting! It can be relaxing. It can be contemplative. It can be humorous. There’s a whole range of emotions. It’s not just relaxing. So if you want relaxing music, there are some pieces that are relaxing. For example, Mozart and Brahms offer relaxing music, however. a lot of their music is not relaxing at all! There’s a lot more to classical music than just being relaxing

Myth #2 – Classical music is serious.

I just mentioned that classical music can be humorous. There are many places where Beethoven and other composers have elements of humor in their music. It’s not all serious! Like I said before, classical music has a whole range of emotions.

Myth #3 You have to have training to appreciate classical music

If you have training, it may help you to appreciate classical music. But simply listening to classical music is all you need to appreciate it. If you listen enough you will develop an understanding and appreciation for the music. Listen to the same piece more than once, because you may capture more the second, third or fourth time listening to a piece as you become more familiar with it. So you do not need training to enjoy classical music.

Myth #4 – Classical music is boring.

Once again, if you take the time to become familiar with a piece of classical music, you may find that it’s incredibly enriching! There’s so much there that you might not capture in one listening. It might just go right over your head the first time you listen to it. So you think it’s boring because you didn’t get it. It’s like learning a concept that is a little bit hard to grasp. You might just decide it is too boring and give up. But if you just stay with it a little longer, you may come to understand the concept you didn’t get the first time you are exposed to it. But once you spend the time to become familiar with it, it can be really exciting and enriching once you understand it. The same thing is true with classical music. Once you become familiar with a piece of classical music, it’s not boring, far from it.

Myth #5 – Classical music is for snobs.

This one is tough. Unfortunately, since classical music is not supported by the government, at least in the United States, the only way that it can exist is by donors. So if you do go to the symphony or to the opera, there’s the exclusive section with the gold plaques honoring the donors. And then during intermission. they’re sipping champagne behind velvet ropes. You might say these people are snobs. But thank goodness for these snobs! If they didn’t support the symphony and the opera, as well as chamber music and concert halls, we wouldn’t even have classical music! So you might think of them as snobs. And when you’re on the other side of the velvet ropes, it might feel that way. But in reality, they have a passion for music and they have the means to bring music to people. That is a great service to the community. Are some of them snobs? Absolutely. Some people do it for the wrong reasons. They want to get dressed up and be looked up to. There’s some of that. But the classical music world is so underfunded. They’ll take any support they can get!

Generally speaking, classical music is not just for snobs. It’s for everyone! Once you become familiar with a few key pieces, you’ll fall in love with them. Maybe at first you’ll think those are the only pieces that are worth listening to. But when you open up your horizons and listen to other music, you’ll realize there’s a world of great music for you to enjoy!

Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.

For premium videos and exclusive content, you can join my Living Pianos Patreon channel! www.Patreon.com/RobertEstrin

Contact me if you are interested in private lessons. I have many resources for you! Robert@LivingPianos.com

www.LivingPianos.com
www.Facebook.com/LivingPianos
949-244-3729

5 Classical Music Myths

Welcome to LivingPianos.com. I’m Robert Estrin. Today I’m going to tell you about 5 classical music myths. I’m going to finally put these myths to rest! I hear these things all the time. But usually from people who don’t have