Piano Blog

Below you will find my educational piano blog. For each video, you'll find some of my thoughts about the music along with some historical context, interesting facts, or questions designed to help you or your child understand this beautiful music.

For older posts, click HERE.

Composer of the Month Club

Enjoy!

Clara Schumann: Piano Sonata

Clara Schumann was one of the most accomplished pianists of the 1800s. She was also a composer, though her reputation as a composer is often overshadowed by the reputation of her husband, Robert Schumann, and her association with another great composer, Johannes Brahms. Here is a beautiful, energetic movement from her Piano Sonata, wonderfully performed by the 23 year old British pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason.

Brahms: Intermezzo in A Major, 0p. 118, no. 2

This is one of my favorite piano pieces, performed here by the young Dutch pianist Arthur Jussen. Enjoy!

Janáček: In the Mists

This set of pieces by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček is at times very subdued, but also quite virtuosic and wild! They were composed in 1912. The sound of this music is a fascinating blend between Romantic music (think Tchaikovsky or Brahms), and musical Modernism.

NPR's Intro to Jazz Swing!

Take a listen to Helen Sung explain some of the basics of jazz in this tribute to the great jazz pianist/composer Mary Lou Williams.

Lecuona: Andaluza

This piece is a single movement from the Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona's masterpiece "Suite Andalucía." This music is inspired by the musical styles of the south of Spain and is a great example of how composers can draw inspiration from the musical traditions of other countries.

Debussy: Clair de Lune

This piece is a perennial favorite of pianists and audiences alike. French composer Claude Debussy composed this piece at the end of the 1800's. This composition is often used as an example of "Impressionism" in music.

If you like Impressionist music, you might enjoy music by the composer Maurice Ravel, too!

Brubeck: Take Five

This song is a "standard" in the jazz repertoire composed by saxophonist Paul Desmond and made famous by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. What do you notice about about the piano's role in a jazz quartet? Does the pianist typically play the melody? Listen for the "solo break" where the pianist gets a chance to show off!

Beethoven: "Moonlight Sonata"

One of the most famous pieces of piano music, "Moonlight Sonata" is actually just the first movement of a longer sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven. Listen and follow along with score for the music!

Sinding: Rustle of Spring

This piece is played beautifully by the Norwegian pianist Knut Erik Jensen. What kind of "scene" does this music set? If this music was the soundtrack for a movie, what would be happening on screen?