Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cynthia Phan received an Honorable Mention in the Piano Guild International Composition Contest

Cynthia Phan received an Honorable Mention in the Piano Guild International Composition Contest

Cynthia Phan age 12 started to take Piano lessons 5 years ago. She is playing Advanced Level repertoire, passed Level 9 in the MTAC Certificate of Merit (TM) and enjoys composing beautiful music. Her style is unique, creative and musical. Her composition “Sweet Dreams” 140 measures, handwritten, took an Honorable Mention in the Piano Guild International Composition Contest, a great accomplishment considering the hundreds of entries. Cynthia entered the category of Intermediate Specially Gifted Solo Piano Composition. She is looking forward to composing more pieces and sharing her gift with the world.
Cynthia Phan has received all her Piano, music, theory and composition education from Eva Martin Hollaus, author of the innovative Play Piano In All Keys Fingering Charts Series, streamlining piano education, theory fundamentals and composition; Eva Martin Hollaus Piano Studio

Saturday, April 9, 2011

National Piano Guild Auditions coming up

I don't know how you feel as teacher, if you have students entered in the National Piano Guild auditions? I do, I have once again some 26 gold medal programs, that's once again 10 - 15 piece programs. Year after year, I say the same thing - why am I so crazy to go for 10 piece programs with so many students.
Well, I guess, it matters to me and when I see a student can manage, I feel obligated to make it happen. This is just my personality.
Several years ago, I talked to another teacher and he told me - why bother with learning so many pieces, why bring old pieces back, time is so short, just learn new pieces.
I can understand this point of view. However, I really feel that it is absolutely necessary to be able to bring "old pieces back", improve them. These are various skills that come in handy. Sometimes, it is necessary to be pressured to learn a piece in a very short time; it amazes me how able children are, nowadays. They do need to be challenged and each one is different; no-one learns quite alike. Adding a skill to learning quickly, learning to memorize quickly, visualizing pieces, learning a memorization routine that holds up, all are imperative skills.
The ones who never get ready, they will most likely not be ready later either; there's always something that comes in-between deadlines and busy schedules. As teachers, we are always challenged with these situations.
In all the playing requirements, I always insist on scales, chords, cadences and arpeggios. My students start these patterns in the very first lesson and after some short 3 or 4 lessons they show me how they manage to move their fingers running up and down the keyboard in scales patterns with accurate fingering. That always makes me very happy. They learn reading notes while learning to play. These early mechanical times are my GOLDEN TIMES with a student - they cannot yet play pieces and they are happy to move those fingers!
This is where I set my foundation for later on. Good habits, enjoyment of playing, moving the fingers nicely curved - oh wait - that's usually on my wish list and when I have parents who supervise I get nicely curved fingers. I always try to involve parent as much as possible.
So now, the Guild auditions are around the corner and we are on a strict schedule practicing diligently each piece entered a minimum of 5 times when very young and later on broken into sections with many more repetitions at various speeds, error-free. If an error is made the piece needs to be slowed down. The mind simply needs more time to think and it will be error-free if played slow enough.
That is the single most important habit to master that will take a student through any 10 - 15 piece program at any level.
And the second most important skill is scales, chords cadences and arpeggios - or maybe this is the very first utmost important skill to cultivate.
The book Play piano In All Keys Scales Chords Cadences Arpeggios Fingering Charts is the single most important book to have in any piano library. Without this book, I would not be able to take all my students through their large programs for their Guild auditions. And mind you, my students are regular honor students in school who also want to excel in piano.
Before Play Piano in All Keys Fingering Charts books, I would hand draw the scales fingering, now i just turn pages and the students love it, they can effortlessly master these skills time and time again.

Piano Guild Elementary B Scales Chords Cadences Arpeggios Musicianship p...

The National Piano Playing Auditions are coming up in a few weeks and over the next months. Using Play Piano In All Keys Fingering Charts is an excellent way to master these skills at Elementary and Intermediate levels.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hanon how to practice

This is a subject that is really close to my heart. Because somehow, students need to learn control over many varied finger patterns. And I feel it is so easy to get it right and make progress with a few hints. I wish I had known what I am sharing on this video when I started playing piano... that was ages ago... now i can see the results with my students. Enjoy.

Bach English Suite in A minor (Gigue) BWV 807 - Cynthia Phan, pianist

Cynthia had a great time performing her Gigue. Without her dedicated scales practice the piece would not have turned out as beautiful. The book Play Piano In All Keys Scales, Chords / Cadences, Arpeggios was very helpful.

Piano Guild Practice instructions Intermediate F, IS Scales Chords Caden...

The Piano Guild auditions are just around the corner. And as a teacher I am always searching for efficient solutions that will take my students to the desired results effortlessly -- well as effortlessly as possible. We still need to practice, but even there Play Piano In All Keys Fingering Charts make all the difference in ease of preparation. I get clean fingering; even very young students can effortlessly learn and review their 1 - 4 octave scales, refresh fingering, patterns, speed, security and sound. I also get effortless chords and cadences and arpeggios.
Before using my fingering charts books, it was quite challenging to say the least, to take students through their 7 piece repertoire and 3 musicianship phases (scales, chords / cadences, arpeggios). but I am adamant about working scales chords cadences and arpeggios and playing repertoire. This is in my opinion the only way how my students can progress so quickly.
Once a student can play a few scales, we can start learning a piece that uses those patterns. How quickly can my students play a scale? Well, I start my scale patterns in the very first piano lesson all ages - so within 2 weeks they can play 1 - 2 octave scales hands separate and together. That's the golden time learning to play piano - they do not know pieces yet and they do not know notes yet and they want to play!!! So it's mechanical patterns first! And at the same time we learn a few notes and beginners method books. Suddenly within a few weeks they play fantastic! - I am talking about ages 5 years on up.
I am posting my Piano Guild instructional videos using my fingering charts books. I hope many students will find how easy it is to accomplish piano scales, chords / cadences and arpeggios and then improve in leaps and bounds learning pieces.