Robert Estrin - piano expert
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Robert Estrin - Meet The Piano Expert

Got questions about the piano? Post your questions, get your answers

Released on March 20, 2012

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Bill McClellan on July 27, 2016 @2:30 pm PST
After spending many days successfully memorizing a piece, it sometimes seems that if I then stay away from it for a couple days, it comes back firmer in my hands than if I had kept playing it every day.
Rich B on June 29, 2016 @6:46 pm PST
May i ask why my question was deleted? I had a question about broken chord fingering and then it was taken off. Why?
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on June 30, 2016 @8:30 am PST
Hi Rich. I am sorry to know this. I have no idea, I personally approve each single posted message on these pages and this is the first one I have seen from you. Maybe some glitch on either your computer or our server? I am very sorry, but please, post your question again if you can. Thanks!
Rich B on June 30, 2016 @8:53 am PST
Thank you for replying Fabrizio. It seems that my question is back. I guess it may have been a technical issue. Love the site. Take care
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on July 1, 2016 @9:36 am PST
Glad to know that Rich! Thank you for your support! Please, feel always free to contact me with any questions or ideas you may have, I will be glad to hear from you. Enjoy your time here on VSM!
Richard Brian on June 28, 2016 @7:43 am PST
Hello Robert. In one of your videos, you mentioned that Hanon's fingering system is like gospel for pianists and one should master them. Well, I have memorized all the major/minor scales, arpeggios, and chromatic scales. The problem is there is nothing in Hanon's book on broken chords and their fingering. What is the "gospel" when it comes to that. Does hanon have fingering for broken chords?
Robert Estrin - host, on June 30, 2016 @11:26 am PST
Arpeggios are broken chords. So you have fingering for those in Hanon. When dealing with expanded chords, there are thousands of possibilities making a standard difficult to achieve.
lourie mae on June 24, 2016 @6:04 am PST
Hi mr.Robert. I am an amateur and I want to know what is contrapuntal? I am an student. Thanks a lot.
Robert - host, on June 24, 2016 @12:33 pm PST
Contrapuntal writing is one that utilizes counterpoint - the interweaving of musical lines.
Constantine Coutroulos on June 13, 2016 @4:21 pm PST
Just watched your lesson on 2 against 3 and 3 against 4. Actually, 3 against 4 is pretty easy to figure out mathematically as is any combination of multiples of 2 and 3. Surely you've heard of the "least common denominator" method? Multiply the two numbers by each other, write out the full number, mark out the two sets of notes, practice them at a funereal pace and then gradually speed up. Hope that's clear. I've been doing this for years and have mastered any combination of 2 rhythms up through 9 (9 against 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8), This can get cumbersome after awhile, but you can figure out which notes come between which, which is all you need with high numbers. What's your opinion on this?
Robert - host, on June 24, 2016 @12:30 pm PST
Yes, that method is mathematically accurate. However, it requires such small subdivisions of the beat that it can be challenging if not impossible in some instances to play the rhythm up to speed counting in this manner. But it certainly presents a good starting point.
Mike on May 20, 2016 @7:51 pm PST
Hi - I'm an amateur that would like to share my play with family and friends...but I lose my concentration and end up ruining a piece in front of others. I would like to learn how to overcome this. Any suggestions?
Robert - host, on May 21, 2016 @1:04 pm PST
This is a challenge for anyone performer. Here is an article and video which delves into this subject for you:
kendah on May 20, 2016 @4:19 pm PST
hi are you? i'm still keep watching your amazing free lessons and actually i bought my digital piano from 2 years and i love it so much but i'm so worried about the keys of my dorrable piano how can i make sure that my piano keys in a good situation and what's the perfect way to play on it Knowing that I saw a lot of lessons which learn the best way to play but i feel that somthing is wrong in my playing . and thanks a lot.
Robert - host, on May 21, 2016 @1:06 pm PST
Playing the piano is a complex activity involving many parts of the brain and body. You can explore close to 700 videos and articles searchable by keywords here:

If you can find a private teacher who you connect with, that could provide an invaluable experience.
kendah on May 22, 2016 @4:22 pm PST
ok thank you so much for helping me i really appreciate that. thank you mr.robert.
Dimitris Malinis on May 5, 2016 @5:05 pm PST
I would like to ask this question : Wearing a watch, in any hand i am wearing mine to the left hand, is this an issue because of the extra weight of the watch? Is this affect the piano playing?
Robert - host, on May 6, 2016 @11:48 am PST
I no longer wear a watch because I always have my smartphone available. However, when I wore a watch, I never noticed any problems. Make sure the band isn't too tight. If you notice any issues, then I would suggest removing your watch when you play the piano.
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,
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?
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:
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