Minuscule: Tips for Pianists With Small Hands

I am a pianist with small hands. That presents a challenge when many composers (cough, cough Rachmaninoff) write lovely pieces with large chords. Over the years, I’ve learned strategies for facing these challenges. Below are four tips on playing large intervals as a small-handed pianist that promotes healthy technique and ease of tension. But first …

Musical Memory: The Many Pieces of the Memorization Process

“The demands placed on memory during a piano performance are remarkable, sometimes requiring the production of over 1000 notes a minute for periods of up to 50 minutes,”Chaffin and Imreh wrote in their 1997 article about musical memory (315). Their work, as well as the work of many other scholars studying the elements of memory …

7 Steps to Practice Joy While Practicing an Instrument

Introduction In his 2019 literature review on the study of joy in positive psychology, Matthew Kuan Johnson explains there are four types of joy. Joy can be an emotion, mood, a disposition or trait, or what religious or spiritual practices consider a “spiritual fruit.” As an emotion, joy comes from an external situation; it’s an …

Playing Piano in the Style of Mozart

Since the 18th century, Mozart’s music has inspired deep analysis and discussion for both performers and music analysts. I won’t go into too much detail, but if you found this post, you’re interested in how to “correctly” play Mozart’s music on the piano. In this post, I first provide a brief description of the long-discussed …

Piano Course Review: ProPractice by Dr. Josh Wright

Introduction In this post, I review Dr. Josh Wright's full “ProPractice Lifetime Access Course” that currently includes 4 levels divided into 2 parts each, technique and repertoire. If you’re only interested in the repertoire section of one level, you can purchase just that section alone here. I purchased the full course, so this post will …

Twinkling Possibilities: Performance Tips and Theory Tidbits for Mozart’s 12 Variations on ‘Ah vous dirai-je, Maman,’ Part 2

Part 1 Last week we looked at the theme and first six variations of this famous piano piece by Mozart. This week, we’ll pick up right where we left off with brief analyses of what Mozart does to make each variation unique as well as the physical piano techniques required to successfully play each variation. …

Twinkling Possibilities: Performance Tips and Theory Tidbits for Mozart’s 12 Variations on ‘Ah vous dirai-je, Maman,’ Part 1

This post (in two parts) outlines the piano techniques required for success in each variation of Mozart's "Twinkle Twinkle Variations" and provides resources for success in each technique.

The Selection: How to Pick Piano Repertoire to Increase Momentum and Avoid Frustration

Finding new piano sheet music is one of the most exciting parts of being a pianist. I love visiting old book stores that have a sheet music section, as I've found treasures from composers I've never heard of. Learning to pick piano music that is at the right level for you (not boringly easy and …