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Shirley S Kirsten

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An afternoon with my piano student in Nature's Paradise
By Shirley S Kirsten   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, May 03, 2015
Posted: Saturday, May 02, 2015

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An inspired visit included a reservoir of sound emanating from a vintage Steinway A, 1911

 

An afternoon with piano student, Judy and her Steinway ‘A,’ in nature’s paradise

How many piano teachers are invited to a student’s lakeside home nestled in verdant beauty?! It was a splendid display of trees, including pines, cedars, spruce, casuarina, maples, birches, poplar, locusis, and sycamores, as well as native oaks. 

River otters, deer, and exotic birds, such as egrets and herons are known to inhabit an awe-inspired Walnut Creek, California natural environment that frames a home bundled with a generous serving of early California history. (“Land and water rights in the area were acquired in 1908. Two years later the reinforced concrete dam was built at a cost of $80,000 creating the beautiful lake.” Road construction followed in the course of Lakewood community’s birth)

Better screen shot lake

To add to this gorgeous nature-draped backdrop, a soulfully resonant Steinway A, 1911 grand drew me into its playing universe the moment Judy sampled a few Mozartean phrases for me. While she’s been practicing the Exposition of Sonata K. 545 for less than three weeks, it’s nicely forming with contoured phrasing in back tempo.

best Judy at the Steinway A

After Judy’s dip into a pool of resonance, I was wooed to play a “chorded” version of J.S. Bach’s Prelude in C, followed by my extemporaneous lesson on trills that seemed to lighten up the space.

What an extraordinary piano to explore!

**

The afternoon had begun with a tour of Judy’s place, an incredible lunch, followed by the centerpiece display of her family’s heirloom grand piano in the “adobe room.” 

Judy’s dad, who attended Juilliard, played chamber music with a string of fine musicians on the East Coast igniting his daughter’s interest in music, though ultimately Judy doted upon the oboe.

For a time she studied with Jean-Louis Leroux at the San Francisco Conservatory before embarking for France to become a pupil of her teacher’s mentor.

As Judy’s journey played out, her musical connections led to artistic trysts in Paris with some of the most regaled performance artists of the Twentieth Century, one of which was pantomimist, Marcel Marceau whom Judy met and worked with. He was a source of inspiration for her interest in helping children, in particular, to learn early reading skills in a creative framing.

If we fast forward the clock over decades of Judy’s life, we see how she was drawn into the educational realm, branching out into the universe of helping youngsters with basic reading fundamentals. (Wrap up 40 years of teaching experience and you have a vision realized)

Not surprisingly, a dynamic and creative App, Bam Boomerang evolved for which Judy, her son, Keenan, and assistant Beth became intensely engaged. Over years, they developed and refined what is a well-established and highly regarded teaching tool.

Over a delectable lunch prepared to the last meticulous detail, both Judy and Beth served up a mouthful of valuable information about their reading-based activity that’s obviously their labor of love.

***

For more about Bam Boomerang, the app that gives kids personalized feedback while they play games and learn to read, check out the Direct Download:

“Bam Boomerang is an engaging app where kids read words into a microphone and get one-on-one feedback while having a blast playing games, earning trophies and buying things for their own animated world.

“No other app gives personalized, effective feedback to students!”

Download and get started free:  http://bit.ly/DownloadBamBoomerang 

 

 

 


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Reviewed by Ronald Hull 5/3/2015
You make me wax nostalgic about leaving the pastoral beauty of rural California behind. Your description of Walnut Creek reminded me of the drives I used to take on Skyline Drive on the peninsula south of San Francisco. Piano music is an added wonder to the beauty of of the place.

Ron




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