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Shirley S Kirsten

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A Skyped Piano Lesson in Progress
by Shirley S Kirsten   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, July 16, 2011
Posted: Saturday, July 16, 2011

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Teaching a Polish composer's Mazurka with an iMac

My second SKYPED Piano Lesson is brought to you in living color.

The adult student framed by an iMac, is one of my regulars up in El Cerrito (Bay area USA) and since I'm unable to travel to her home to teach more than once a week, extra Virtual-based practice is desirable. (We worked on the Mazurka, playing in SLOW tempo)

Backdrop and pertinent information:

The student's piano is an older Shaw (English) upright with a bit of a brittle sound, though it has nice projection. Lately, as it has been played more often, its overall performance has improved, but the piano has some voicing and regulation issues that were fleshed out in the transmission. I didn't feel the piano was altered over Skype. In fact it came through loud and clear as I've known it for well over a year.

I can compare a brand new grand's transmission over Skype to the 1930's vertical. The Heilun horizontal piano located in Oregon which provided my first Skyped lesson opportunity, transmitted quite differently, true to its individual character. Still another, a Petrof coming from Australia, registered its own unique "voice."

Such preliminary evidence has led me to tentatively conclude that current SKYPE-based technology is sensitive to tone and timbre shifts between pianos.

A Few No No's to note:

I've learned through my current exposure to SKYPING, that one should not speak when the student is playing, or play along at the same time, because this causes interference and some sound break up.

In so many words, observing good Skype-based etiquette requires that each "contact" wait his or her turn to chat or tickle the ivories.

The videos below illuminate a Skyped piano teaching landscape:


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