Piano Book 1 & 2 dynamics—Aide vs. Azuma

Heather Reichgott said: Jul 23, 2013
Heather ReichgottPiano
South Hadley, MA
94 posts

Hi everyone,

I have been confused for some time as to why my students never seem to pick up dynamic contrasts naturally in certain pieces—in particular Little Playmates, Allegretto 1, Ecossaise and A Short Story. The students who do pick up dynamics without repeated nagging in lessons all tend to play Allegretto 1 with the same dynamic mistake on the repeat of the second half: starting the repeat of the second half mp instead of mf.

I listened to the CD again recently and noticed that my older CD (with William Aide) has very little dynamic contrast overall, and it’s a particular problem in those pieces. In Little Playmates and Ecossaise, f is almost indistinguishable from p. A Short Story has almost no crescendo in the middle section, and it’s supposed to go all the way from p to f in a few measures. And guess what… on the repeat of the second half of Allegretto 1, Aide starts the repeat of the second half mp instead of mf.

The new edition of the book now ships with a CD by Seizo Azuma. Can anyone tell me whether Azuma’s recording has more accurate dynamics? Most of my students have the new edition, though, so I have a guess…

thanks
Heather

Lori Bolt said: Jul 27, 2013
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

The Azuma recording has distinct dynamics in the pieces you mentioned. You may want to purchase it to listen to the International edition, especially since Book 2 has added & removed pieces. I also noticed that Dr. Kataoka’s recording has good dynamic changes in Book 2 (couldn’t find my Bk. 1 CD). My students overlook the dynamics also, so maybe we need to focus on that in review.

Lori Bolt

Heather Reichgott said: Jul 27, 2013
Heather ReichgottPiano
South Hadley, MA
94 posts

Thank you Lori. I do have the new editions of Book 2 and the others with new pieces, but not the CDs for all of them.
I appreciate the information on Azuma and Kataoka!
Heather

Lori Bolt said: Jul 28, 2013
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

I forgot to mention, FYI, that Seizo Azuma was Dr. Kataoka’s student. I had the privilege of hearing him in concert at one of her Piano Basics Workshops when she was living. He epitomizes her instruction!

Re: owning and listening to the current CD, as I wrote my first post here I was reminded of my need to listen to those (since students have them) in order to better instruct my students on tone, tempo, dynamics, musicianship…..after all, the CD is their primary example of all these elements.

Lori Bolt

Cathy Hargrave said: Jul 28, 2013
Cathy HargraveTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Rowlett, TX
50 posts

Kataoka Sensei did not stress dynamics in Book 1. She actively taught them from Book 2 on. If a student noticed the dynamics aurally in Book 1 and played with dynamics, she would focus on it a bit. She didn’t see much point in dynamics in Book 1 since the student was learning so many important techniques and cantabile tone. However, as she got older, she did work a bit more than before on dynamics. (This is what she taught us in our training in Matsumoto)

Lori Bolt said: Jul 29, 2013
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

Thank you, Cathy. I probably heard her (or you!) say that at a Workshop/Institute, and didn’t pull that info from my “mental filing cabinet” until your comment. I agreed with the reasons when I first heard it, so I must have taken it back to my teaching where it became a habit. Glad for the reminder :-)

Lori Bolt

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