Robert Estrin - piano expert
Music Theory and Piano
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Robert Estrin's latest Music Theory videos
Robert Estrin's latest piano videos
About Robert Estrin
Robert EstrinRobert 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:

Paul Niehoff * VSM MEMBER * on July 24, 2022 @3:08 am PST
Hello Robert,
I would like to apologize for my past criticism of a your playing of a Chopin Ballade No 1.
I have been a subscriber to VSM for oiver 15 years and have listened to your wonderful lectures with great appreciation for as long as I have been aware of them.
I had a question but your previous answer on February 3rd to Fred and Rita was exactly what I needed. Thank you.
On the humourous side, while I was accompanying my wife singing "Oh Divine Redeemer" by Gounod, she accidently added an unwritten repeat. Exciting times in front of 7000 people, but we managed to finish together and most would not have noticed.
Regards Paul
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Robert - host, on July 25, 2022 @9:27 am PST
You may like this recent performance of a piece of Chopin I just learned: https://youtu.be/9eMNY0aH3EA?t=138
Maikel Gilis on May 29, 2022 @3:42 pm PST
Dear Mister Estrin,

I just saw two videos of you. The one where you explain how to play the piano with small hands. But that made me wonder if you are able to play the 3th movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Maybe I'm to old to learn how to play the piano. I'm almost 32. And the reason I ask you this is because I also have small hands and I really want to learn how to play that piece on the piano. Because Beethoven is my favorite composer of all time. And the Moonlight Sonata is my favorite piano piece. Especially the 3th movement like I mentioned before. And in a other video you mention that the piano is losing in popularity. Not with me because I'm a huge Classical and Jazz enthusiast. And in both music genres piano is my favorite instrument. Sorry for my long email. But I hope you find the time to answer my question. Thank you in advance.

Sincere greetings,

Gilis Michael
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Robert - host, on May 30, 2022 @11:55 am PST
There are no large reaches in the 3rd movement of the Beethoven Moonlight Sonata that should make this piece difficult for people with small hands.
Jan Booth * VSM MEMBER * on March 3, 2022 @5:54 am PST
Robert, I always enjoy your videos with much information and ideas. Many families do not want to invest in a piano but only a keyboard. Do you have a presentation of pros and cons for piano vs. keyboard? I have a parlor grand for their lesson time. I find keyboards so limiting but parents don't understand the difference. Thank you.
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Robert - host, on March 3, 2022 @8:15 am PST
Here is a video & article on this subject for you: https://livingpianos.com/can-you-start-learning-piano-on-a-keyboard/
Rita Luise Chamberland on February 5, 2022 @2:45 pm PST
I am trying to do Chopin Nocturne 55 Op 2 and the 3 against 5 has me baffled! Cam you help?
Fred * VSM MEMBER * on February 3, 2022 @2:03 am PST
Robert, in most classical pieces, the treble clef notes are in some fixed relationship to the bass clef notes. I have difficulty trying a Chopin Nocturne Minor Op.9, No.1 where e.g. in bar 4 the treble clef are spaced unequally. I just can't get a fluid, natural flow. Do you have any suggestions for practicing these parts?
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Robert - host, on February 3, 2022 @9:19 am PST
So glad you asked! These cadenzas in Chopin provide a glimpse into how Chopin may have improvised on the piano since they are not measured. Here is a video and accompanying article that discusses this: https://livingpianos.com/how-to-play-unmeasured-cadenzas-chopin-liszt/
Frieda deHaan * VSM MEMBER * on January 19, 2022 @8:37 am PST
How do I get motivated... Lost interest dring covid
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Robert - host, on January 19, 2022 @9:39 am PST
With more time at home, it could be a great opportunity to spend more time at the piano. You can try working on music you have always wanted to learn. If you just start playing pieces you enjoy, it may motivate you to play more!
John Lander on January 3, 2022 @4:18 am PST
Robert, Can you please suggest resources that could provide tips for playing advanced rhythms. Specifically, when you look at a composition that uses 64th notes (with/without rest in a given measure) or 128th notes in the same manner. I have lately run into some pieces that make extensive use of combinations of 16th notes and 32nd notes. Despite my best efforts, I have not been able to find instruction books with examples that could be of help. In the interim, I essentially trying to play them beat-by-beat and fitting them in as evenly as possible. Thank you for the help/advice!
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Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on January 3, 2022 @7:36 am PST
John, this video of Robert's could help with that:

https://www.virtualsheetmusic.com/experts/robert/polyrhythms/
Robert - host, on January 3, 2022 @8:22 am PST
I have a comprehensive video about how to count rhythms that hasn't been released yet. It starts with the basics and works its way up to more complex rhythms.

When you get to the types of rhythms you describe, oftentimes, the best method is to draw in lines where the beats occur. You may want to add smaller lines where the half-beats (ands) are depending upon the nature of the rhythm.
John Lander on November 18, 2021 @12:33 am PST
Robert, As always, thank you for the information/explanation. Would I be correct in describing this as a secondary dominant? This would explain some of the jazz harmonic analysis I have seen. Again, many thank for your expertise. Happy Thanksgiving, John Lander
Mathew on November 17, 2021 @8:27 pm PST
Sir, my son is a learning piano, and I am impressed by your teaching of Burgmuller OP100 as shown in the You Tube. Do you have all the 25 lessons available,as my search shows there are 5 videos uploaded.
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Robert - host, on November 18, 2021 @1:13 pm PST
I have many videos, but only those 5 Burgmuller etudes. You can search with keywords here for over 1,200 videos: https://livingpianos.com/blog/ I also teach privately with Zoom and other platforms. You are welcome to contact me if you are interested: Robert@LivingPianos.com
John Lander on November 17, 2021 @1:53 pm PST
Robert, In a major key when your chords start with a I major chord and then moves to a VI major chord, what is this telling us. Simple music theory tell us that this should be a minor chord. Could you please clarify. Many, many, thanks. John Lander
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Robert - host, on November 17, 2021 @2:37 pm PST
This is referred to as, "thirds relations". It can also be considered a V of II deepening upon the context. So in C major, the II chord is built on D. Go to the 5th note of the D major scale which is A and build a chord in the key of D major and it will be an A major chord. So that is the V of the II!
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