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Valentina Lisitsa on Searching for the Rachmaninoff Affinity

When Valentina Lisitsa came to Stockholm to play Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto, it was a welcome fact not only for all her fans but also for anybody well aware of the enormous challenge this concerto means for any performer. In 2013 Lisitsa released her Complete Rachmaninoff Concertos (including the Paganini Rhapsody) on Decca and therefor this was a rare chance for Piano Street’s Patrick Jovell not to talk to her about YouTube but… Sergei Rachmaninoff. Read more >>

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Author Topic: How to teach phrasing?  (Read 3753 times)
fuel925
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« on: August 15, 2010, 08:32:27 AM »

Hi, what explanations/techniques do you use to describe to your students how to play phrases correctly? Explaining that they are in effect musical sentences is ok, but i'd like more ideas on how to better explain how that relates to how they physically play the piece.

Thanks! Grin
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go12_3
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2010, 09:59:35 AM »

For me phrasing is a challenge to teach students.  When a student acheives an aptitude in the technical aspect of playing piano, knowing how to play loud and soft, then they can learn to recognize the various touches upon the piano to create a musical phrase...that playing musicially requires a good listening ear to determine to begin softer at the beginning of the phrase by a lighter touch.  You can demonstrate your students how a musical phrase should sound.  Then have them play what you demonstrated.  I think it takes time to  have a student physically  comprehend playing a phrase, it depends upon what level they are.  Beginner to Intermediate students I don't even explain about phrasing, not until they are at a higher level. 
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lilla
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2010, 04:33:37 PM »

There are so many ways to help students with phrasing.  What material are you using?  Is it a method?  or assigned literature?  If it is a method, are you using the coordinated technique books?  They usually have insightful ways to help demonstrate.  The student can practice "lift-offs", lifting wrists gently like a balloon is tied to their wrist, floating up and landing gently - Bartok has many exercises where he demonstrates quiet endings at the end of a phrase line.  Have you tried inserting "singer breath marks" at the end of a phrase.  And helping the student understand that you observe the breath mark, but that it gets no count (beat?). Have you tried having them sing each phrase as they play?

Does any of this help?  If not, perhaps being more specific would bring more focused solutions.
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