Robert Estrin - piano expert
Music Theory and Piano
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About Robert Estrin
Robert Estrin is a pianist who truly lives his instrument. Not only does he play and teach with proficiency and passion, but he also knows just about everything there is to know about pianos - from their construction to their history. Music is "all in the family" for Robert, with his father, Morton, a concert pianist; his sister, Coren, a pianist as well; his wife, Florence, an accomplished flutist; and his daughter, Jennifer, a violinist of great acclaim.

Robert studied piano and French horn at New York City's Manhattan School of Music, and he also received a degree in piano performance from Indiana University. He performs with symphony orchestras, at arts festivals, for music teachers' associations, at museums, and on college campuses. His most unique performance experience, however, is his Living Piano: Journey Through Time. In this creative endeavor, Robert dresses in period costumes and plays historic instruments, from his own collection, to tell the story of the piano over time to a wide variety of audiences - not just piano enthusiasts.

Robert maintains a vibrant online presence, with countless videos on YouTube and through Virtual Sheet Music. His videos, which have been viewed by millions, are engaging, entertaining, informative, and sure to enhance the knowledge, skills, and overall playing experience of pianists from beginners to the most advanced.
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Questions, Comments, Requests:

Meg * VSM MEMBER * on May 17, 2018 @9:59 pm PST
According to my metronome on my iphone, MM 2/2 time minim = 80 is the same tempo as 4/4 time, crotchet equals 80. But some people differ, and say the 2/2 minim = 80 is the same as 4/4 crotchet = 160,i,e, twice as fast.
I am very confused about this, and I know I will get the correct answer from you.
Thank you very much.
Meg from Australia.
Beth * VSM MEMBER * on April 25, 2018 @9:50 am PST
I like Firstprise (April 8, 2018) give you a huge "Thank you!!! I agree totally with everything Firstprise said. I just finished watching your video about playing octaves and it was wonderful. Octaves have always be challenging for me although I have played the piano for probably about 60 years! I am excited to try out the techniques you taught on the video. Thank you for this video and the many other wonderful videos you have made. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent and techniques in such an enthusiastic and genuine way. I have so enjoyed the fact that even though you are tremendously talented and accomplished, you do not have a superior attitude about you. Instead, you make the rest of us feel like we are of value and can reach greater heights in our playing.
reply
Robert Estrin - host, on April 27, 2018 @3:41 pm PST
It's a funny thing with piano - there are so many different styles as well as skills involved, that everyone has something unique to offer.
Firstprise * VSM MEMBER * on April 8, 2018 @2:04 pm PST
I have to add a huge "Thank you!! I began piano one year ago. Your instructions, videos, and especially your contagious inspiration cheer me along the journey. Your legacy is incalculable. I cannot imagine how many students of the piano you have encouraged and trained. I am one more.
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Robert Estrin - host, on April 9, 2018 @2:18 pm PST
So glad you are enjoying piano and I could be part of your experience. It is truly remarkable what is possible today being able to connect with people all around the world.
Firstprise * VSM MEMBER * on April 8, 2018 @1:58 pm PST
What electronic device do you find most helpful for electronic sheet music? In place of pieces of paper and books of music on the piano, what electronic device do you find easiest to use?
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Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on April 9, 2018 @6:21 am PST
Dear Firstprise, thank you for your inquiry.

It is possible that Robert has different advice for you, but I would suggest an iPad Pro (the one with the larger screen) coupled with an AirTurn device to turn pages with your foot:

https://www.virtualsheetmusic.com/item/AirTurn_PEDPro.html

Our piano accompanist Lisa Maresch uses that configuration all the time as you can see in her videos below, and works like a charm:

https://www.virtualsheetmusic.com/pav/


I hope this helps!
Ben on March 13, 2018 @7:17 pm PST
Hello! Any suggestions for how to practice the opening to the third movement of the emperor piano concerto? Beethoven
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Robert Estrin - host, on March 14, 2018 @12:10 pm PST
There are many techniques and musical considerations involved in playing the 3rd movement of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto. As with all pieces of music, memorizing the music first is key to being able to build a solid performance. Fingering must be figured out with great care. Slow practice with no pedal, progressive metronome work and other techniques are also useful. Without more information about what issues you have with the music, it's difficult to provide anything beyond this.
Ben on March 15, 2018 @2:30 pm PST
thank you! that is helpful!! Is it mostly wrist? and not arm? in the opening of the third movement?
Also--on the 4th page of the third movement, where there are 2 groups of 16th notes in the left hand in each measure for about 15 measures, is it ok to learn that part in 2 (6/8 in 2), as opposed to counting 1 2 3 4 5 6 like in the opening? Thanks for your help, I appreciate it greatly.
Raul Flores Suarez on February 28, 2018 @7:51 pm PST
there is no doubt you are an exelent teacher, I see your videos very often & congratulations sincerely Raul Flores
David Pippenger * VSM MEMBER * on February 28, 2018 @12:53 pm PST
I just received an email with the video " What are the different sizes of Grand Pianos" included. but when I clicked on the video, all I got was a blank page, no video. Can you send a corrected e-mail?
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Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on March 1, 2018 @8:23 am PST
I am sorry about that David, I have just checked the email we sent out and it look correct, maybe there was some kind of temporary issue either on our end or between your computer and our server (a temporary connection problem).

Please, try again, here is the link of that video:

https://www.virtualsheetmusic.com/experts/robert/grand-pianos/


Let me know if you have any further questions or need any additional help.

Thank you again.
Bill Fowell on February 21, 2018 @5:10 am PST
I need a beginning piano book for our autistic granddaughter.
Any suggestions?
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Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on February 21, 2018 @8:17 am PST
Hi Bill and thank you for your question. I am sure Robert will have some suggestions for you, but I love to help as well. Could you please tell me if you granddaughter already knows how to read music? Or she doesn't have any musical knowledge yet?
Robert Estrin - host, on February 21, 2018 @11:05 am PST
Repertoire for students varies depending upon many factors. After telling Fabrizio more about your granddaughter, he will probably have good suggestions for you.
Bill Fowell on February 21, 2018 @11:52 am PST
She is a product of the court system. The last foster parent didn't want her back and she was visiting with us over the holidays We are now the foster parents. As far as I know, she hasn't had any musical experience.
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on February 21, 2018 @2:41 pm PST
Thank you Bill for your provided information.

I couldn't find any specific basic music book for autistic children, but I think that any child can start learning piano with a basic method like this one:

http://a.co/39WawY5


I used that book with both my children with great success. With an autistic child though, more patience is required and it is going to take much more time to move from step 1 to step 2, and so on. Supplemental material like flash cards or music toys can also help a great deal.

There are several articles on the web that can help with that, here are a few I'd recommend reading:

http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/2011/10/learning-to-play-musical-instrument-is.html
https://www.teachpianotoday.com/2013/08/04/one-super-strategy-for-teaching-piano-to-children-with-autism-adhd-or-behavioral-problems/


But I'd strongly recommend either dedicate some in-depth study into this different kind of teaching before starting music lessons (if you are a professional musician), or ask help from a professional piano teacher. I wouldn't be surprised to find piano teachers out there that have had already some teaching experience in this realm.

I hope this helps!
Verdi Ingersoll on February 9, 2018 @6:51 am PST
Is there a simple way of playing tuplets, esp. those with 4 or more beats?
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Robert Estrin - host, on February 10, 2018 @2:53 pm PST
Tuplets are simply having 2 notes in place of 3 notes. Counting the larger unit of time that accommodates the beginning of the group of 2 or 3 enables you to fit the notes while maintaining the pulse. There are countless examples of rhythms which may have greater degrees of complexity. The secret is finding the lowest common denominator so you can maintain the beat while fitting in the appropriate number of notes.
Verdi Ingersoll on February 12, 2018 @6:26 pm PST
Thanks, Robert.
The same idea would apply to groups of 5 to the count of 1 beat as well? For instance, in 4/4 time the top measure has 2 groups of 5 (sixteenth notes) followed by a half note ... on the bottom, bass clef, there are 4 eighth notes plus a half note. Seems complicated.
Scott on February 1, 2018 @11:54 am PST
Robert,

If hitting the keys faster makes the sound louder, how is it possible to play both quickly and softly at the same time?

Thank you

Scott
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