Group 4

Video of the TWI Check-In with Borbála!


Have you noticed that most of the time we talk about technique or musical expression separately? We practice technical elements such as arpeggio, fast scales, left hand independence, tremolo, or even legato playing, etc. separately, but never together with the musical elements. Enjoy this two-week intensive to be able to play the basic musical ideas easily such as changes of dynamics and tempo, articulation, accentuation, as well as to improve your musical creativity.

  • Course Period: December 5th - 19th
  • Sign-Up: November 30th 
  • Zoom Check-In: Dec 11th, 9am PT

ASSIGNMENT FOR THE FIRST WEEK:Exercises_Expression (1) 

Please share a video of yourself playing the first three exercises and at least two variations of the fourth exercise.

1-3. Exercises:

  • Take a tempo in which you can play without unnecessary tension and make the musical expressions (accelerando, crescendo) gradually.

Exercice 1:

Exercice 2:

Exercise 3:


4. Exercise:

  • If it’s too difficult for you to learn to play in one week, you can perform only the upper voice.
  • Make attention, that fingering should be different depends on the desired musical character.
  • Try to show the musical elements exaggeratedly, even if it seems to be too much.
  • Try to imagine the character before you play the exercise.

Exercise 4:



Please choose a short section (at least a phrase) of your current repertoire or one of the following

  • Fernando Sor: Six Divertissements Op. 2. No. 1.
  • Matteo Carcassi: 25 Etudes Op. 60. No. 9.
  • Leo Brouwer: Estudios Sencillos No. 5.

and demonstrate it at least in two different variations of musical ideas, musical characters.
You can/should change the fingerings depends on your imagined musical character.
You can use the Cheat Sheet of Observation of musical ideas to control your way of playing.

Cheat_sheet_Observation_of_musical_expression (1) Sor_Six_divertissements_Op_2 Brouwer_Estudios_sencillos_no_5 Carcassi_25_Etudes_Op_60 

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    • don
    • don.2
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Borbala Seres This is a really fun homework to do and I learn so much about myself too. I tend to play too instinctly and it is really difficult when you write down all the details to play expressively.  Thank you. It is really fun to revisit some memorable bits of music and to think about back story for pieces that I'm learning. Thank you. 


    This is a piece I'm currently learning. For this piece. 

    First version (B).I imagine the first version to have a very fast talking guy singng out his argument. I start the mini phrase with the bass first. Then during the modulation. i tried to play more ponti to highlight a different voice presenting a different argument. Then it ends with a more sweet sound. 


    Second version(A). I start the mini phrase with the pulloff instead. It is one voice throughout 'sweet talking' to his lover. 

      • don
      • don.2
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Borbala Seres Thank you! Really appreciate you taking time to give feedback!


      I'll try to experiment with another chair. I never really thought about it before and I think you may be right. thanks!

    • don
    • don.2
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    This is one of my favorite piece to play.

    For the first version, I imagine fairies tryting to wake me up but failed.  The accent and pause at A to D is like me saying no don't wake me up. Then they tried again more firmly but failed again then finally succeed the last attempt and waking up in a middle of a forest clearing. 


    For second version, I tried to shape it by going soft to loud then loud to soft and then soft to loud. 

    • don I like that you have a whole story for this part of Assad's Valseana. The second time trying to wake you up could be a bit louder, since you sad they try it firmly, that you could show us more. And the third time you could play a bigger accelerando and crescendo until you wake up at the end.
      Second version: I would like you to have a different story or different mood. Try to experiment with tone colors, you could have an immediate volume change (like echo). Anyway what you want to play musically, show it three times more, that we can hear your idea clear.   

      Like 1
      • don
      • don.2
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Borbala Seres Thank you for all the feedback and advice. This is a really interesting exercise for myself and to learn too. 

    • don
    • don.2
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Last one. This piece is something that I'm trying to learn. 

    For the first version, I imagine to be an old men looking back. I tried a slow tempo, and more appregiated chords to mimic the unclear memories. I got carried a way and played slightly more than the phrase I prepared.


    For the second version, I imagine the memories being more recent and of a younger person. I wanted the tempo to be slightly quicker and a bit more bouncier. The tempo rubato section should be more agitated and faster. 

    • don It's a very good idea giving for this music a remembrance character. Both are very nice! The color change in the second version is great. I could imagine at the end of the second version more shorter/lighter (staccato) tones, but basically it fitted also good to your character idea. Keep your experiment with musical and character ideas! It's worth it!

      Like 1
  • Hello Borbala
    Here are 3 versions of a part of a study by Carcassi. The first one is a kind of version 0, I tried to put a different character in the 2 others.
    It's a very interesting approach.
    I think I need to work on the dynamics, I have a lot of difficulties to make a clean piano and a forte not too harsh.
    Thank you very much for your feedback. Your suggestions made me think, listen and progress.

    • GALAIS Olivier Hi Olivier, thanks for the video!

      I found both versions very good! Especially the first one. It was so much fun. I'm just sad that you didn't send me what kind of characters you imagined here 🙂.
      You are right, you could still work on the dynamic changes. I'm not sure what you mean by having a lot of difficulties to make a clean piano and not too harsh forte. Try to formulate your problem for me exactly, that I can help you.


      I would say for the second version, if you wanted to have a soft charcter, than try to play even more dolce tone color,so you could come closer to the fretboard, and I would try to pluck even softer with a bit more quiet volume. You can also experiment with more tempo flexibility, but basically it was really great! Keep goin, listen to yourself and create such beauties as this time!

  • Thank you very much for your answer.

    The difficulty in the forte concerns mainly the chords of 3 or 4 sounds for which I do not manage to keep a nice roundness of sound.
    For pianos, I try to play more in front of the string but there are nail noises because I tend to prepare the fingers.
    As for the characters, the first one is "strict" and the second one romantic.
    Thank you very much, I have work to do and new perspectives.

    • GALAIS Olivier hi Olivier, 


      I would recommend you to watch the video which I sent to Barney on the  Group 1, it's about tone production for free stroke, maybe it could help you too. 

      Unfortunately on your video I can not see the exact angle of your plucking and nail, but without that I would say, try to experiment with your sound, listen to your tone while changing the place of your hand, and also change the position of your hand. You will hear different tone colors, and you can find the one which you're looking for. Anyway the shape and the length of the nail will make different tone quality, if you find yours too thin, than probably you didn't find a good nail shape. Preparation shouldn't cause nail noises, but nail noises use to be sometimes, if you have too long nails. Or maybe your preparation is not well. 

      Try to play much closer to the fretboard, mostly the sound use to be much more roundy there. 

      I hope you got some answer which can help you! 

  • Hi Everyone,

    I just wanted to thank you all for your active participation and nice videos! It was a joyfull journey for me as well to get an experience with teaching musical expression through video recording instead of face to face lessons. I did learn a lot as well, and as I saw all of you made a great progress and you could step out from your comfort zone. Congratulation to Everyone! Keep going with experimentation!  


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