Like I said before, there were two segments to Narciso Solero’s workshop — the second was:

Technical Requirements

Some of the technical requirements found in major piano repertoire include:

  • moving effortlessly around the keyboard, often  quickly
  • finger dexterity and speed
  • effortless and even chord playing
  • ornaments (trills, turns, mordents, grace notes, etc.)
  • fast repeated notes or chords
  • octave playing
  • fast leaps
  • rapid contraction/extension of the hand
  • etc.

Mr. Solero gave the teachers ideas of standard technical exercises that would facilitate technical advances when executed properly.  The ideas (which I will share in a moment) were nothing new and I’m sure most teachers already use these exercises with their students. However, it’s always nice to get affirmation from a sought after professional.  Also, Mr. Solero reminded us not to be shy in teaching these technical studies to young students — teach the patterns and don’t be afraid to have them transpose to all 12 keys.  This helps students become very familiar with the topography of the keyboard early on, while also increasing dexterity (when practiced with purpose and concentration).  So, here’s the list.

  • Major and minor 5-finger patterns in all keys,  mm 208 – one note per tick
  • 1 octave or 2 octave scales in at least 3 keys
  • Major and minor 4-octave cross-hands chords and arpeggios (blocked and broken) – all keys, mm 208 – one note per tick
  • Root position chord progressions in the first 5 sharp keys (at least)
  • Hanon #1 (at least)

Mr. Solero made the good point that though, obviously, the above exercises far exceed what is being taught in the student method book, the purpose of the exercises are to quickly move a student from method book pieces to major repertoire — so go for it!  Like I said before, I personally teach the pattern for 5-finger exercises, chords, and scales – then go ahead and teach in all keys (if I feel the student is ready and easily grasping the concepts).

Summing it up, I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed the workshop with Narciso Solero – and have been implementing (successfully!) the ideas that were brought.  I would highly recommend Mr. Solero to any music teacher’s association who is looking for an inspiring and thought provoking clinician!

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