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{ Author Archives }

Why and how to make better practice with “random” practice schedules

A plausible argument (with some research, though mostly not about music practice) for using random rather than blocked (massed) practice. “Why the Progress You Make in the Practice Room Seems to Disappear Overnight.”   Posted with Blogsy

Falling (water) music

Wow.  The cleverness (and programming patience) of folks amazes me.

The oldest living Holocaust survivor, and oldest pianist?

Alice Herz-Sommer is the oldest known living Holocaust survivor.  She was a concert pianist before being sent to Theresienstadt concentration camp, where she played over 100 concerts including Chopin’s complete etudes (from memory).  She was married to Leopold Sommer (who died at Dachau) and her son (who was interned with her) Raphael was a distinguished […]

Consider helping a new composer

I received a request from Jeffrey Leiser to mention his Kickstarter campaign to fund a full orchestra recording of his new symphony, “The Summit”.  I’m happy to pass along the request, with no particular endorsement.  I don’t know Leiser, or other music by him.  But he’s a talented fellow, having scored and sound edited many […]

Preparing for performance (anxiety)

Some tips from a fabulous teacher and experienced performer – Polly van der Linde — on how to prepare for performance.  Polly runs a piano camp that has been in her family for over 40 years: summer camp for kids, and 4 and 10 day sessions for adults year round.

Pollini’s piano

A lovely, loving article about the beautiful tonal quality of Maurizio Pollini’s Hamburg Steinway-Fabbrini piano (which he takes with him on tour), with some history of the evolution of tone in concert grand pianos.  Makes me wonder wistfully if I should have searched longer for a rebuilt 1920s Steinway rather than get a factory new […]

Bach’s Crab Canon on a Mobius Strip

The first canon from Bach’s Musical Offering, BWV 1079, illustrated cleverly as a Mobius strip (wait for it to come about 2/3 of the way through the video).  A crab canon is a form in which the notes are first played forwards, then in reverse order, then forwards and reversed against each other.  Cool!

Denk: a musician with a brain

A few years ago my friend Marnie introduced me to Jeremy Denk’s piano performances, and his writings.  I’ve fallen in love with both.  But especially the two together: there are other great performers to listen to, and other great writers on music and life to read: there are few who are both. Another friend sent […]

pitch == rhythm

Duality is concept that was crucial — and somewhat magical — in my training as an economist.  I first encountered it when I learned linear programming, and then in my microeconomic theory classes, with the duality at the heart of the theory of optimizing behavior by both individuals and firms. So now I’m kicking myself […]

Acquired musical savant syndrome

There’s a story on “Snap Judgment” on NPR about Derek Amato, who on his 40th birthday dove into shallow end of a pool, hit his head, had a concussion. Afterwards, he could suddenly play the piano, at a very high level, after never playing before. Amato was diagnosed with “acquired musical savant syndrome”, and with […]