School's Back! Book your lessons today - even if you don't have kids!

Hi everyone, it's August already - somehow! It may not seem like it, but this is the busiest time of year for everyone, kids or not.

LA United starts school on August 18 and Glendale even sooner - August 10! – so please be sure to reach out to schedule your child if you haven't already. And if you don't have children and are thinking about piano or vocal coaching for yourself, the sooner the better - I only have a couple prime slots left, and they'll fill fast.

A few new items and dates:

  • Studio pool party this Sunday, August 9. If you're an adult piano, voice, or songwriting student, please RSVP and come swim! You probably walk by the pool many times and now's your chance to take advantage as well as hang out socially with other students (and me, the conversation is scintillating, not to brag). 
  • First songwriting group of the fall is Saturday, August 22, 3pm!
  • Don't forget classes begin again the week of August 17 for kids!
  • Lastly, I'm often told how beautiful the studio is and other teachers mention they would love to us it. Check out the new page: the studio is available a couple days a week when I'm not teaching to rent for out-of-towners or LA residents who want access to a grand piano in a quiet, private space. Studio rentals for rehearsals and teaching
  • Coming this fall: Living Room concert series. I'm talking to a incredibly talented local singer-songwriters about coming to the studio to perform poolside.

Thanks, and happy August!

Fall Schedule is filling up fast, schedule a lesson today!

My schedule is filling up quickly for the fall, I have just a couple of spots left!

Please note I teach Tuesdays through Saturdays only but we can always make a lesson time work with your schedule.

Fall Offerings

  • recital in December
  • performance nights at the studio: play a song or just come watch!
  • networking opportunities
  • group lessons and classes: music theory, songwriting, performance
  • voice coaching (adults), playing piano while singing
  • voice lessons for children
  • and of course, piano lessons in most any style!
  • more on lessons: sign up today!

Check out the latest show: Sunday August 17, 2014 in North Hollywood. I'll be playing and maybe singing some backup for the wonderful Dan Callaway!

Thanks,

Bobby

Nice brown console piano for sale in Atwater Village!

Now available in Atwater Village: a nicely maintained Mason and Hamlin console piano, brown, including a padded bench. Recently tuned, it's located in the house in front of my studio on Atwater Avenue - so come take a lesson and give it a look if you're in the market for a smaller piano!

Console pianos are shorter than uprights - while still having a nice tone and sound. This one appraised for $1,500 to $2,000 and is for sale for just $500. 

The piano for sale in Atwater Village, Los Angeles

The piano for sale in Atwater Village, Los Angeles

Contact Bobby for a lesson and to look at the piano!

 

Getting a grip on the piano: The importance of proper hand shape

Of all the things I stress while teaching piano lessons, the most important is proper technique. This starts from the very first lesson with my beginners and is so important as to often merit not advancing in skill level and complexity so we can attain proper hand and arm form.

(Before I go on: My apologies, it's been awhile since I've written an original advice post—February 6.)

If you're wondering what proper form entails, it's actually very simple: it's natural and relaxed, meaning your arm, wrist, hand and fingers are meant to be relaxed. To illustrate what hand relaxation should actually look like, you need to know what it should not look and feel like first:  put your hands up and extend your fingers out all the way. Stretch your finger tips out as far apart as possible. This is a strained hand and is requiring dozens of muscles, putting them to work to such an extent that if you keep doing this for some time, those muscles will fatigue. Much like a frown using more muscles than a smile, the proper hand form should actually utilize fewer. In fact it often feels wrong at first because it is, mechanically and technically, easier.

Are you still hanging out with your fingers extended? They'll probably hurt then! Completely relax your fingers (if you can't or don't know how, then shake your hands out) and let your fingers go limp. Your fingers should be naturally curved like they are when they're at your sides while you walk. Now extend your hands and fingers again while closing your eyes. Did you feel each muscle tighten? Do you feel the little muscles surrounding the bones on each finger? As you stretch out your fingers your palms flatten and those muscles tighten as well. This is the opposite of how you play piano!

(Let those hands relax again).

Most new or returning adult students I see don't have much of an issue with getting a good hand curvature, but relaxing muscles while they play is much harder. Children tend to want to stretch their fingers out because their hands are small and they think, much like when using objects like doorknobs and forks and tennis balls designed for grown-ups' hands, they have to work at it really hard. But they don't need to do that, and as they progress and get the curve down, it's important to stress the hand and muscle relaxation that my adults sometimes struggle with.

Playing with a relaxed hand begins in the arms and wrists, which is another article. Don't hesitate to comment or ask me a question before then, and thanks for reading!

 

Proper hand position and curvature for piano playing of all styles

Proper hand position and curvature for piano playing of all styles