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.
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:
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!!
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.

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.
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, 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.
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, 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
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