JAN-FEB 2017 READ-ALONG: Josef Lhevinne’s “Basic Principles in Pianoforte Playing”

fb-read-alongHello Blog Readers!

Wow!  It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post, but things sure have been busy on the live streaming end of things.  You could say that most of my “blogging” now has been in-person and LIVE.  There’s much more emotion and tone you just can’t put into writing.  I’ve truly enjoyed connecting with you in this way.

A new year is great time for goal-setting, new inspiration and a “re-start.”  What better way than with a project to get your wheels spinning in new directions for 2017.  Instead of our usual Play-Along, the gang over at the FB Play-Along group has voted on a Read-Along, the first ever in the blogisphere I think.  If you’re reading this after Jan. 10, 2017, no worries!  Jump in at any time during our schedule since the book is not sequential and you can always catch up later by watching the previous replays.  I’ll post the replays here on the blog about every 2 weeks.

FROM JANUARY 10  thru FEBRUARY 14 (approximately), we’ll all be reading “Basic Principles of Pianoforte Playing” by Josef Lhevinne.  Click HERE for all the info you need to get started.  There’s no official sign-up, but purchase a copy of the book soon if you don’t have one.

Basic Principles in Pianoforte PlayingYou can grab a copy HERE on Amazon if you like.  If your book arrives after we begin, no worries. You can still watch the 1st LIVE broadcast on Chapter 1 on Tuesday, January 10 (or the replay) and catch up on the chapter afterwards.

WATCH THIS video introduction of the Read-Along for all the specifics.


Click HERE to read all the info you need to get started.

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Indispensables of Piano Teaching #2 – Music Dictionary

Hands down I believe this is the most useful at-the-piano dictionary a student or teacher can own.  It came highly recommended to me by a music professor during my first year of college. She mentioned then that it would be the one book that we would probably reach for most during our music study, and she was right!

The author, Christine Ammer, has compiled the most complete musical term dictionary I’ve ever seen.   It contains over 3,000 English translations of foreign terms from a variety of languages including French, Italian, German, Spanish, and even Portuguese!

Whenever I come across a word or even a phrase in a musical score that I’m unsure as to its meaning, I open this book.  This handy paperback has never left my bench side for years.  I made it a required text for all my college piano students in the past and now I require it of all my middle-school and high-school piano students. And better yet, several students have come back to thank me!

Now all I say to my intermediate to advanced students: “Be sure to look up all the terms in your new music and write their meanings in the score.”  No more excuses about not being able to locate a term!

PUBLISHER:  ECS Publishing. Catalog No. 4469.  ISBN: 0-911318-15-1  Size: 8.8 x 5.5 inches approx.

BEST PRICE:  $9.68 at  List price:  $10.75  You can order this through your favorite sheet music dealer since ECS Publishing is a music publisher.

Disclaimer:  My link includes a referral ID that allows a portion, a very small portion, of purchases made through the link to go towards funding for this website, giveaways, and other surprises.   Thanks for your support!

I know you’ll wonder where you’ve been all along without this book!  Enjoy!



Summer Book Reads: “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp“The composer Igor Stravinsky did the same thing every morning when he entered his studio to work. He sat at the piano and played a Bach fugue… repeating the routine each day in the studio induced in him some click that got him started.”

American choreographer Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit has a unique bent that is focused more on the habit of doing art as opposed to trying to explain what it is and why it’s important. The result is a book that can be very helpful to people from all walks of life who want to be more creative and develop the habits that go with it.

There is a sub-genre of self-help books on creativity. Some are good, some are fuzzy-headed, and some are tedious expositions written by observers of creative people.  Eventually though, understanding creativity comes down to understanding the process of it all. How any artist can go about making something from nothing, is really not mysterious, but usually is the result of a lot of hard work.

Tharp’s book does not shy away from this “perspiration over inspiration” notion. These ideas seem best explained by people who do art and have done it for a life time. In this regard, Tharp’s book speaks with authority, practicality, and real-world experience.  Anecdotes and creative exercises are drawn from her own work and the work of other creators. Chapters like “Rituals of Preparation”, “Your Creative DNA”, “Scratching”, and “Spine” go a long way in helping the reader think about how they can apply the principles she outlines and enjoy the process of being creative.

Twyla Tharp has had a 35+ year career as one of America’s greatest choreographers.  Her works have been performed by the Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Paris Opera Ballet and more. Her work work for the Broadway musical Movin’ Out earned her a Tony award. She is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Highly recommended. $16.00. Published by Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.   Available at Amazon for $9.04.  Read sample pages HERE.


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