Robert Estrin - piano expert
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How to play Moonlight and Pathetique Sonatas

Hot tips about studying and playing the most known Beethoven sonatas

Released on January 24, 2013

  
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mary on March 17, 2014 @11:04 am PST
This was a definite "ah-ha" moment for me! Thanks!!
christopher Slevin * VSM MEMBER * on February 25, 2013 @8:14 am PST
Really enjoyed your pedal advice. Can you now help with the "awkward one - the middle pedal. I am totally confused and hope there is a simple answer. I have had little or no formal training - about 20 lessons along time ago so I apologize if the middle pedal is widely understood and I'm a solitary eedjit.
reply
Robert Estrin - host, on February 25, 2013 @11:40 am PST
The middle pedal on pianos presents something of a mystery to many people. In fact, on upright pianos the middle pedal does various things such as enabling quiet practice or sustaining all the notes in the bass section of the keyboard only. On fine grand pianos, the sustenuto pedal (as the middle pedal is called) is a selective sustain pedal. While the sustain or damper pedal (as the pedal on the right is called) releases the dampers on all notes of the piano allowing them to continue sounding after the player raises the keys of the piano, the sustenuto pedal holds only selected notes. The way it works is, first depress notes on the keyboard. While those keys are still down, push down the middle pedal. Those notes will continue holding even after the hands are released from the keyboard. However, subsequent notes that are depressed on the keyboard will only hold as long as the keys are down. The middle pedal only became commonplace on pianos at the end of the 19th century. So, only 20th century piano compositions require the use of the sustenuto pedal.
Robert Estrin - host, on February 25, 2013 @11:46 am PST
Here is a link to a video which explains the middle pedal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ywv0k5wxCSw
christopher Slevin * VSM MEMBER * on February 25, 2013 @11:55 am PST
Wow, Thank you Robert for taking the time to answer my middle pedal confusion. Thanks to your explanation I can start experimenting and having even more fun.
Coren on February 13, 2013 @12:07 pm PST
Clear "before and after" examples! The different articulation practice technique presents a huge challenge to students until they learn that finger independence. As soon as they get it just once, they never forget how it feels, and can then apply it to all other similar situations. We were so lucky to have a magnificent teacher who taught us how to do this!!
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Robert - host, on March 17, 2014 @4:53 pm PST
You have that right! Our father (Morton Estrin) is the greatest piano teacher I have ever encountered and a musician with incredible depth which can be appreciated on his many recordings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvMYfJA_6cA&list=UU3SJs-fPxaLXE84JxWpEeXA

More than that, his ability to express musical ideas down to their essence is the primary reason I am able to share important musical principles in my teaching and video presentations. Thank you Dad!
fiftiethyear * VSM MEMBER * on February 13, 2013 @7:59 am PST
thank you Robert.. Very helpful. I wlll apply right away. Theres are two of my favourites..Peter Caldwell music teacher NZ
Maga on February 4, 2013 @6:31 am PST
Great tip, thanks a lot!!!
Jerry Dunne * VSM MEMBER * on February 1, 2013 @9:38 pm PST
I also wish I'd come across this tip years ago!
I'll pass it on
Piano teacher fo 29 years!( in Ireland )
Christine * VSM MEMBER * on January 31, 2013 @7:57 am PST
Do you have any tips for an adult with small hands? I am trying to learn Moonlight Sonata but struggle with sections where I need an octave or greater.
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Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator, on February 12, 2013 @8:08 am PST
Thank you Christine for your tip request, let's see if Robert can make a video about this.
Toya Harvey on January 30, 2013 @8:09 pm PST
Would you give suggestions for Chopin's Ballade in f minor? Especially the sections where the right and left hand rhythms are different and more complicated than 4 against 3! I'd be interest in your comment! Thank you.
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Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator, on February 12, 2013 @8:08 am PST
Thank you Yoya, Robert will surely tackle this Ballade. Stay tuned!
George Hamilton-Meikle * VSM MEMBER * on January 30, 2013 @9:35 am PST
That is really neat and I shall tuck it away for future use. The idea of a brief instruction is very exciting. I hope there will be others.
hil * VSM MEMBER * on January 28, 2013 @7:15 pm PST
Thank you. It was very informative
Brett * VSM MEMBER * on January 28, 2013 @4:24 pm PST
Nice fella... clear concise and easily adaptable. Will wait with earnest anticipation for your next giving :-)
Fay Lentin on January 28, 2013 @1:28 pm PST
USEFULL INFORMATION ROBERT, THANKS
Fay Lentin on January 28, 2013 @1:28 pm PST
Good Idea Robert, thanks
Alex on January 28, 2013 @4:07 am PST
Thank you! Very useful!
Jacqui Oosthuizen on January 27, 2013 @11:02 pm PST
Thank you very much, Robert. That was very instructive indeed. A lovely way to start a Monday morning here in Sunny South Africa.
LUIZ SETTE * VSM MEMBER * on January 27, 2013 @8:39 pm PST
Very smart idea quite useful for countless pieces . Tks!
Dr. Beverly A. Piccillo * VSM MEMBER * on January 27, 2013 @1:56 pm PST
Interesting well presented thanks
Tim Bryant * VSM MEMBER * on January 27, 2013 @1:27 pm PST
That is just great, such a tremendous help. Thank you.
Alison Barclay on January 27, 2013 @12:24 pm PST
Thanks for this helpful tip. Not only for me but also my students. As I teacher the thing I love most is that I never stop learning
Elson z on January 27, 2013 @10:59 am PST
thank you for the lessons i have learnt much because i have been having problems with producing the melody in moonlight sonata.
Cat * VSM MEMBER * on January 27, 2013 @10:50 am PST
not something I'd ever thought about before - can't believe what a difference it makes!!
KP * VSM MEMBER * on January 27, 2013 @10:35 am PST
would like some tips on Chopin's Military Polonaise. video is extremely helpful.
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Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator, on February 12, 2013 @8:09 am PST
Stay tuned KP, a video on this is coming later today! Keep watching:

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

for new videos. Thanks!
Barbara Booker on January 27, 2013 @9:43 am PST
I practiced for years to learn how to do that (it took years too). If only I had known this tip.
Steve * VSM MEMBER * on January 27, 2013 @9:09 am PST
Hi Robert. Enjoyed your mini-lesson enormously, very useful & looking forward to more. Bye
Federico on January 27, 2013 @8:48 am PST
Some interesting concepts indeed.

It is like I knew it but was unable to define, something instintive I would rather say.

I will try to play them each like you, stacatto and legatto and make sure I notice the difference
stefania on January 27, 2013 @7:55 am PST
Very interesting! I think that this approch could be used also for other master pieces. Thank you.
Marta * VSM MEMBER * on January 27, 2013 @7:36 am PST
Thanks so much for the invaluable tip! Keep them coming...
Marta
Music teacher
Mary Lynette on January 27, 2013 @7:17 am PST
What a wonderful "trick" for playing these pieces. Thanks ever so much for the help!
Kim Holst * VSM MEMBER * on January 27, 2013 @7:07 am PST
On a Mac, in Safari, I have to go to YouTube to see the video.
It doesn't start playing.
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Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator, on February 12, 2013 @8:10 am PST
I am sorry about that Kim, on my Mac everything looks good... do you have Javascript enabled on your Safari? What version do you have?
Kim Holst * VSM MEMBER * on February 12, 2013 @11:35 am PST
Safari 6.02
Yes, Javascript is enabled.
But it seems to have nothing specific to do with your video/site.
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator, on February 12, 2013 @4:59 pm PST
Thank you for your reply Kim... I am sorry to hear that, I have exactly the same browser on my Mac and the video playing works flawlessly inside this page... but I don't understand exactly what you mean with "it seems to have nothing specific to do with your video/site." ? (If you want to solve this issue via email, please contact me at support@virtualsheemusic.com, otherwise you are welcome to reply on this page. Thank you!)
Kim Holst * VSM MEMBER * on January 27, 2013 @7:04 am PST
Good idea!
Definately gonna try that with some students.

:-)
Kim
Jean on January 27, 2013 @6:59 am PST
Just brilliant! going to practice this right away.
Daveballarat * VSM MEMBER * on January 27, 2013 @6:39 am PST
I loved the video
Humberto Cruz on January 27, 2013 @5:06 am PST
Very useful video, thank you to Robert Estrin.
Please continue to have more of these videos.
One I would like to see is how to use pedal
with Moonlight Sonata (or do you use it for the whole piece?)
reply
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator, on February 12, 2013 @8:11 am PST
Thank you Humberto, stay tuned for a new video from Robert about using pedal with Moonlight Sonata... coming soon!
Trang on January 27, 2013 @4:49 am PST
It's such an awesome lesson!! Thank you so much for letting me know about it :D. I'm really looking forward ro your next lesson !!
Dom Ciraco * VSM MEMBER * on January 27, 2013 @3:39 am PST
Excellent insight.
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