Sunday, September 9, 2012

Scales, Touch, and the Ear

First a brief description of another long-time student: This young man is a graduate of School for Visual Arts, a distinctly creative computer animation artist who has been improvising consistently since the age of seven; he scores and performs piano in his films.

Recently we have been concentrating on Clementi's Preludes and Exercises: a brilliant compendium of studies in the sound and feel of the piano's tonal specificity.  Yesterday it was a question of exercises based on the E-flat major scale.

I do not teach scales as routine formulaic affairs--they are much too important to be relegated to the boredom bin.

It was moving to hear him unearth the expressive beauty of this scale, to listen as he found its awkwardness "interesting."