Robert Estrin - piano expert
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Gab on April 28, 2016 @3:08 pm PST
hi, Robert.
I was wondering if your know Mendelssohn's Rondo Cappriccioso op 14 and if you could compare it in difficulty with other romantic pieces. Thank you,
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Robert - host, on April 29, 2016 @12:15 pm PST
I have played the Mendelssohn Rondo Capriccioso. It is definitely a challenging piece. However, I have known many talented students who have tackled this piece and played it on a high level. It requires a lightness of fingerwork and wrists. It doesn't demand as diverse a set of technical challenges as some Romantic works of Chopin and Liszt, but it definitely presents substantial challenges.
Josh on March 30, 2016 @7:02 pm PST
Hi Robert!
My teacher wants me to try a couple of pieces by Prokofiev, namely the Vision Fugitive XVII and XI. They are so different to anything I have learned before, so it is a relatively daunting prospect. Do you have any advice on tackling a style of music like this?
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Robert - host, on March 31, 2016 @11:09 am PST
Music is a language. Actually, music has many dialects! You will gain an understanding and appreciation for Prokofiev's music by listening to a wide range of his compositions. That will help familiarize yourself with his voice.

After sight-reading through the pieces a couple of times, the best approach is to begin memorizing systematically as I describe here:

http://livingpianos.com/how-to-play-piano/how-to-practice-the-piano-part-1-memorizing-music/
Rupert Sherwood on March 30, 2016 @5:33 pm PST
Hi I'm a mature-aged pianist at intermediate level. I also teach the flute and would very much like to have a good level of sight-reading skill to accompany my more elementary students.My question is, how best to structure the sight-reading part of my practice so that I have a sense of developing and improving? I wish to have a step-by-step process rather than just using random pieces.

Thanks Rupert
Henrik on March 20, 2016 @2:36 am PST
Hi!
I am learning Czerny op 740 nr 1. Is this a piece/etude one should try to memorize?
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Robert - host, on March 21, 2016 @11:52 am PST
It's funny - I never worked on Czerny Etudes very much at all. But this is one that I did study! I would say that while it isn't essential to memorize this etude, it would be easier not to have to deal with page turns and it is a relatively easy piece to memorize. You may end up memorizing it just from practicing it since it is built upon predictable patterns.
Bill McClellan on March 16, 2016 @12:10 pm PST
Hi Robert,

Do you have any suggestions for a pianist who may be developing "trigger thumb".

Thank you.
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Robert - host, on March 16, 2016 @2:17 pm PST
So sorry to hear about your thumb. Your doctor may have suggestions for you regarding treatment. I would allow your thumb to rest if the problem causes any pain so you avoid injury. Good luck!
Mary Forsythe * VSM MEMBER * on March 23, 2016 @9:35 am PST
I had trigger thumb. After about 3 or 4 extremely painful injections with a
needle, (the result didn't work) over a few months, I was an out patient at
the hospital. It is a simple operation, but was put out completely. Happy
with the results as I play the pipe organ on a regular basis.
Sergey on March 15, 2016 @1:22 am PST
Hi, dear Robert!
Can you make a video about the meaning of the age? I mean, is it much better to start playing piano im early childhood? And is it true that if you start playin piano in adult age, you'll never reach high-skill livel and never will be able to play, for example, List's Campanella at high speed?
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Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on March 15, 2016 @7:57 am PST
Hi Sergey, I am sure Robert will be glad to answer you personally, but in the meantime I thought to let you know that Robert has actually already tackled your topic question in the video below:

http://www.virtualsheetmusic.com/experts/robert/old/

I hope that will answer most of your questions!
Robert - host, on March 15, 2016 @11:39 am PST
Thanks Fabrizio for pulling out exactly the right video! You are never too old to learn. Just make sure you have realistic expectations for yourself and enjoy!
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on March 15, 2016 @11:49 am PST
Thank you Robert for providing such wonderful videos for our audience! As a musician myself, I agree 100% with Robert, it's important to approach music with the right expectations. Enjoy your adventure Sergey!
Sergey on March 16, 2016 @5:35 am PST
Thanks you both for the answer!
I found some interesting information on this in Chuang C. Chang's "Fundamentals of piano practice". He says, that beginners, according to their age:
3 - 12: ideal age for starting piano.
13 - 19: this group still has an excellent chance of becoming concert level pianists. However, they may have lost the chance to become those superstars that the younger beginners can become.
20 - 35: some individuals in this age group still have a chance of becoming concert level pianists.
35-45: this age group cannot develop into concert level pianists, but can still perform adequately for simpler material such as easy classics and cocktail music.
And so on))
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on March 16, 2016 @8:17 am PST
Dear Sergey, you are very welcome! The information you have reported from Chuang C. Chang's "Fundamentals of piano practice" is very interesting. I think that matches pretty well what Robert was saying, and I'd agree with that as well.

Please, let me know if you have any further questions. Thank you!
Sharon on March 5, 2016 @5:25 pm PST
What differentiates the subdivisions +,a,e?
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Robert - host, on March 6, 2016 @1:48 pm PST
I'm not sure what video your question refers to. Please provide more information and I will do my best to answer your question.
Mike Skirvin * VSM MEMBER * on March 3, 2016 @7:28 am PST
What are the techniques for practicing a trill? Do you use a metronome and sync the notes to its beat?
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Robert - host, on March 4, 2016 @12:16 pm PST
Here is an article and video which describe how to approach trills:

http://livingpianos.com/piano-playing-techniques/piano-techniques-how-to-play-trills-on-the-piano/
RICHARD B on February 8, 2016 @8:14 am PST
Hello Robert. I have a question regarding scales. Every day I try to learn a new scale until I am able to get them all. Currently I'm on Bb flat and notice that the fingering is a bit odd. Is it ok to change the fingering to make it simpler for the player or should you always keep it the same as Hannon or other standard pianists?
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Robert Estrin on February 8, 2016 @11:22 am PST
Learning proper fingering is intrinsic to developing good piano technique. There is nearly universal agreement on what fingering to use for scales and arpeggios on the piano - with the exception of "Mirror Fingering" which is used by a small percentage of pianists:

http://www.virtualsheetmusic.com/experts/robert/practice-scales-arpeggios/

http://www.virtualsheetmusic.com/experts/robert/hanon2/

While initially you may find some fingering to be strange, there is great collective thought and experience in the fingering for scales and arpeggios which is contained in Hanon 60 Selected Studies for the Virtuoso Pianist
Bryan Nguyen on January 24, 2016 @9:45 am PST
Hey Robert, I have a question for you: I want to know how you can approach one of Chopin's famous pieces: Scherzo No. 2 in Bb minor?
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Robert - host, on January 24, 2016 @12:34 pm PST
This is a monumental work with many technical and musical challenges. Each section has unique requirements. I will offer a multi-part video tutorial on this piece in the future.
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