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October piano, great students, SHSAT pressure

Finally some cooler weather is moving in, which makes for a much more pleasant experience for me making my rounds of piano lessons in Brooklyn; nothing worse than running around trying to keep from being late for a piano lesson when it’s eighty degrees and humid. The Berkeley Carroll School third and fourth grade choruses have been keeping me busy; the lower school has moved to a “six day” schedule with the choruses meeting on day one and two, so my commutes in to Park Slope have become much more frequent.

I’m very excited for some new and old students that are continuing this year. Five-year-old kindergarten student Lucas has completed his first three lessons and is off to a terrific start. Lucas lives in a beautiful apartment building on Eastern Parkway near the Brooklyn Museum at Grand Army Plaza. The building was opened in 1929, according to a plaque in the lobby. The architecture of old Brooklyn is so amazing, I love visiting the homes of my students- these places must have so many stories inside them. One of my “older” students, Maya, had a lesson today. What a beautiful voice! She plays nice piano as well, especially to complement her singing. Maya is a sophomore at LaGuardia High School for the Arts. She sang for me today a beautiful Italian Aria that she’s been working on at school, I sight read the piano accompaniment. It was a real moment, I have to say.

Big week next week- Halloween! I’ve got to figure out what kind of costumes to construct for my third-grade son Faron and his little sister Millie, who’s in kindergarten. It’s a busy week for my eighth-grade daughter Ruby; SHSAT test this Sunday, which is a huge pressure test that will enable her to get accepted into one of the elite “specialized” NYC high schools if she does well. Good luck Ruby! I know she’ll get into some sort of great school, even if the SHSAT doesn’t work out as well as we hope.

New Piano Students In Brooklyn and Things To Do This Weekend

I started teaching three new piano students in Brooklyn this week, a third grader and a fourth grader in the Park Slope area and also a five year old in Prospect Heights. The Prospect Heights student is in a really convenient location, since the lessons that happen right before him are in Crown Heights, which makes for an easy and efficient drive from lesson to lesson. I love it when that sort of thing works out.

I always enjoy teaching that first lesson to beginners, breaking out the John Thompson “Teaching Little Fingers to Play” book. It’s a terrific book for getting started, and I think it’s the perfect start for someone even as young as four or five. There are a lot of beginner books out there that feature huge-font notes with the letter of the note displayed within the huge note- a total distraction, in my opinion. The “Teaching Little Fingers” book sticks to the very understandable finger numbering system, with both thumbs anchored on middle C, which leads to a very quick understanding of the Treble Clef/ Bass Clef relationship.

There is some fantastic live piano music in town this weekend. McCoy Tyner, the great jazz pianist that performed with John Coltrane’s legendary quartet, will be at the Blue Note October 4-6. Speaking of Trane, his son Ravi Coltrane will be at the Village Vanguard; his pianist is David Virelles- I’m not familiar with his playing, but I bet he’s a monster.

Now Accepting New Students