Tag: Beethoven貝多芬

About Online Consultation (Piano Diploma Exams)

One-off Piano Consultation Session

Do you want to play scales faster? Do you have a problem with arpeggios? Are you preparing for your graded exam in April/May? Do you want some advice for your ATCL/DipABRSM exam preparation?

Now it’s the time to contact me!

I offer a one-off consultation session for any non-students of mine. So whether you are piano students preparing for your graded exam, or improve your basic piano skills, or you are piano teachers helping your students to be successful in their exams, I welcome you.

This service can be provided in person at my studio or via skype.

Contact me at twsomusic@gmail.com for scheduling and more details.


How to choose a piano diploma exam program (I)

References for Piano Music of Classical Period

Here are some great references for anyone who is serious in learning more in depth about piano/keyboard music of the classical era:

CPE Bach’s treatise: Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments)

It’s available in German and French at IMSLP: http://imslp.org/wiki/Versuch_%C3%BCber_die_wahre_Art_das_Clavier_zu_spielen,_H.868,_870_(Bach,_Carl_Philipp_Emanuel) 

For English translation: https://www.amazon.com/Essay-True-Playing-Keyboard-Instruments/dp/0393097161

Czerny’s Op. 500 Pianoforte-Schule

another historic treatise, in particular the second chapter concerning “the proper performance of Beethoven’s works”.  

English translation:  http://imslp.org/wiki/Pianoforte-Schule,_Op.500_(Czerny,_Carl) 

Second chapter on it’s own here: http://imslp.org/wiki/Special:ImagefromIndex/356510     

Rosenblum’s Performance Practices in Classic Piano Music

This is the go-to reference for all aspects of historically-informed performance at the piano Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Performance-Practices-Classic-Piano-Music/dp/0253206804 

Brown’s Classic and Romantic Performing Practice: 1750 – 1900

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Classical-Romantic-Performing-Practice-1750-1900/dp/0195166655/ref=pd_sim_14_4?ie=UTF8&dpID=51zCN6Dra0L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR105%2C160_&psc=1&refRID=MZ31B06KHX63PDSB2767

Malcolm Bilson’s DVDs on performance practice:  

(If you don’t know who he is, go learn here )

https://www.amazon.com/Knowing-Score-Malcolm-Bilson/dp/0801444845/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1466971031&sr=8-18&keywords=malcolm+bilson https://www.amazon.com/Performing-Score-Malcolm-Bilson/dp/B006IVOTWU/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&qid=1466971031&sr=8-20&keywords=malcolm+bilson 

And his recordings:


Special thanks to our guest teacher Mr Polanski for this note.

Teresa Wong

Afterthoughts about our masterclass

(中文) We had a wonderful masterclass conducted by Mr David Polanski yesterday, on a Sunday afternoon: when most people take the time relax and go out with their friends and family to enjoy their day off, we gathered together at the studio to listen to each other’s piano playing and talk about the great music of Mozart and Beethoven. I thought, what better way to spend a lovely Sunday afternoon together than that.

Welcome, Maestro Polanski!

I am beyond delighted to announce that Mr Polanski, a Beethoven specialist, is our guest teacher now for consultation sessions and will be available for regular lessons after June! He will also be conducting small masterclasses and workshops with us. How exciting!

Here is a little glimpse of Mr Polanski’s impressive music experience:

In a career of over 20 years, maestro David Polanski has been sharing the gift of music with students of all ages. A former student of world-renowned pianist Malcolm Bilson (Cornell University), maestro Polanski holds Master of Music degrees both in Fortepiano Historical Performance and in Musicology (Boston University), as well as Bachelor of Science degrees in Piano Performance and Pedagogy (Hofstra University). He is a specialist in the music of Beethoven as well as 18th and 19th century performance practice and aesthetics. In addition to piano tuition, he has been an active performer, accompanist, and composer working with many prestigious organizations including Harvard University, the Boston Ballet, Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung Berlin, Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Universität Bonn, Universität Nürnburg-Erlangen, and Boston University. Incorporating rigorous music theory, history, and philosophy in his approach to performance practice, maestro Polanski brings an historically informed method to his dynamic conservatory-style teaching and coaching.

Mr David Polanski
Mr David Polanski



Piano Diplomas: Program Cover

How to write your program cover for your piano diploma exam written part:

Technical Command and Musical Knowledge

These days I have been giving this simple guidance to my students. Whenever they get stuck in their practice, they must ask themselves, “is it technical or musical?”

Technical Command means two things : 1. appropriate application of technique, and 2. sufficient command of the technique applied.

For TC 1, you must find which technical application you need to execute that certain passage, is it more of a forearm rotation or an upperarm rotation? Is it the palm grip or knuckle issue? Or are your fingers not close enough on the keys before execution? Etc etc. Or for TC 2, you have the right technical application but you have trouble in making it happen with solid control, then how are you going to fix it? Is it just about slow practice that magnifies the movement? Or is it a preparation problem, meaning you don’t prepare your hand position early enough prior to the execution of the pattern in question?

Musical Knowledge on the other hand, includes : 1. harmonic and structural analysis of the music (form, sections, phrasing, tonality, key changes, chord progression, notes: chord tones and non-chord tones, and relationships between notes i.e. intervals etc) , 2. historical background of the music (genre, the composer, and the period – other genres, philosophy, aesthetics, and other arts e.g. literature), and 3. interpretation resulted from the understanding of both 1 and 2.

I would point out MK 1 is what most need for the basic interpretation for MK 3. Without 1 there is no basis and knowledge as to where one’s performance interpretation and discretion arises from. How do you know what to do with that particular phrase or chord or note in terms of emphasis, articulation and dynamics? What do you feel and how do you present it and what is the difference when there is a minor 6th but not minor 3rd, or even, and augmented 5th? Of course, now I am pointing out a very small detail here, but always, especially when you have little experience in analyzing the music, start with something big. You start with bigger sections, then find out where each phrase starts and ends, and also the repeated /similar patterns in terms of melody and rhythm. Look for the chords especially some special sounding ones, and the cadences which define the keys and key changes. Where are the secondary dominants? The pedal points?

Let me discuss further in the next post. I think there is already a lot to digest for now. Always one step at a time.

Until then,

Teresa Wong

Online and Consultation Lessons

Due to popular demand, I am now officially offering online lessons to anyone anywhere in the world who cannot reach me locally. I already have students around Asia region, regarding topics on ABRSM / Trinity diploma exams. Look forward to connecting to more of you!

I am also re-launching my consultation lessons – they are basically those I have been conducting in “piano clinic“. You can come in for one-off session in which I address any issues you have regarding technical issue, musical expression, structural analysis, historical musical knowledge and understanding, performance practice, or anything concerning your preparation for diploma level exams (viva voce and quick study, program notes) and interview/audition for local and overseas summer schools/music institutes/colleges/universities. It would be useful for teachers who have questions over their teaching and playing technique as well. Interested parties please contact me through twsomusic@gmail.com.

Thank you for your attention.

Teresa Wong

Technique Videos Recording Sessions
Technique Videos Recording Sessions

Workshop on Diploma Exams 2014
Workshop on Diploma Exams 2014

References: On Beethoven and Piano Sonatas

In the last piano workshop, some attendees asked me about references for further studies on repertoire in terms of analysis and background. Here in this post, I try to gather some useful information for you all to refer to so that you can have deeper understanding of the pieces you are working on and better preparation on your upcoming diploma exams.


Prolific music scholar Charles Rosen has written a substantial and significant numbers of books on Classical and Romantic piano music among many other subjects. I have read quite a few and found them useful. Some might be more challenging and difficult to read. Here are the ones I would recommend for further study on Beethoven’s piano sonatas and Classical piano music in general.

Beethoven`s Piano Sonatas: A Short Companion (more on Amazon.com)

The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven (more on Amazon.com)

Sonata Forms (more on Amazon.com)

If you are looking for strictly technical analysis, this might be the book for you:

A Companion to Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas: Analysis by Sir Donald Francis Tovey (more on Amazon.com)

It would also be good if you know something about Beethoven himself, not only as a composer, but as a human being:

Beethoven: The Music and the Life by Lewis Lockwood (more on Amazon.com)

Beethoven’s Letters (see it on Amazon.com)

Beethoven As I Knew Him by Anton Felix Schindler (more on Amazon.com)


For something more on the leisure side, there are a couple movies on Beethoven, for example:

Immortal Beloved (1994) (more on imdb.com)

This movie produced by BBC seems to be watch-worthy based on the critics and comments. Read and watch (for free!) here:

The Genius of Beethoven (2005)


Here is an amazing series of talks by András Schiff on Beethoven’s piano sonatas, a must listen to for those who are serious about knowing more on this particular repertoire:


For instance, this is his insightful lecture on Pathétique:



Some other useful and simple information on sonatas:


I think this is all good for now, plenty of information on reading, listening and even watching for you to do! I will try to make more videos on the Pathetique to show you how to analyze, understand and practice the sonata better.

Until next post,

Teresa Wong

On Workshop and Beethoven’s Pathetique (Chinese)

Thank you everyone for coming to the workshop on Sunday! I appreciate your presence and our sharing! 謝謝大家來參加我們上週日的講座!
Thank you everyone for coming to the workshop on Sunday! I appreciate your presence and our sharing! 謝謝大家來參加我們上週日的講座!

英國皇家音樂學院第一級文憑考試: 口試部份預備的要訣 (dipABRSM viva voce)

For English: More on dipABRSM Viva Voce

英國皇家音樂學院第一級文憑考試 口試部份預備的要訣 (dipABRSM viva voce)

有讀者來信問我,怎樣去預備有關聲樂 (voice) 文憑考試的口試部份。其實,所有演奏文憑考試 (practical exam) 的口試部份都是大同小異的。

首先,你要很熟悉自己選擇的每首曲目。你需要了解曲目的背景,這包括作曲家的生平,作曲家在編寫此作品時的遭遇和目的(如果有的話),作曲家的寫作特色,作曲家在此作品中所表現的寫作特色。然後,你要知道每首曲目的結構,包括曲式,分段,調性(轉調),句子結構,特別的和絃等等。如果你選擇的那首曲目是sonata 奏鳴曲,你知道這作曲家共撰寫了幾多首奏鳴曲呢?這首曲是否很典型的奏鳴曲,又或者是否被視為很有這作曲家典型的作曲手法及模式?

接著就是作曲家其他的曲目。除了你選擇的那首曲目外,你認識他寫的同類作品嗎?即是說,如果你是拉小提琴的,你認識這作曲家其他的小提琴曲目嗎?還有,你知道他其他的弦樂作品嗎?如果你是唱聲樂的,除了你選舉唱的那個種類(例如是oratorio 清唱劇)外,你知道這作曲家其他的聲樂作品嗎?還有,和這作曲家同一個時期(period)內,你可以講出其他作曲家的名字和他們同類型的作品嗎?

你也應該多少知道一些關於每個作品的時期的特色,包括performance practice(每個時期特有的演奏特色),而這個特色也和當時樂器的發展惜惜相關。你要對自己的樂器一定的認識,除了樂器各部份和發聲原理外,亦要知道每個時期你的樂器有怎麼樣的變化和改進,因為,這些改變直接影響到作曲家如何編寫相關的樂曲。Performance practice 在巴洛克時期尤其緊要 – 當然在古典時期或之後也有影響,但由於樂器發展在越早時期變化越大,因此對樂曲寫作影響也越多。而在巴洛克時期我們也對裝飾音 (ornamentation) 特別講究,所以考生也要留意這一點。

另外,每個時期亦有自己獨特的aesthetics(美學)。例如,巴洛克時期(Baroque period)追求的是一首曲目表達單一的情感 (Affekt : one single unified affection in a movement or a piece), 而浪漫派時期(Romantic period) 是主張人文主義 (humanism) 和個人主義 (individualism), 表達人性豐富的感情和情緒上的多變(雖然此主義已經逐漸由貝多芬開始帶動),加上後期亦引申至民族主義nationalism 出現等等。除此之外,音樂的寫作取向亦和文學的寫作取向(literary movement) 有著差不多平衡的發展關係。這是後話,而且這個文憑水平並不需要如此高深的理論。不過,如果是聲樂的話就有需要了解一些有關歌詞的背景和內容,尤其是浪漫派時期,歌詞大多數是來自詩詞,所以至少應該知道詩人是誰和詩篇的大概意思。讀者們有興趣的話我會在未來的文章中再詳細論述。



黃頴妍 Teresa Wong

Christopher C: Turkish March

December 29, 2012

Christopher C. plays one of the many versions of Beethoven’s “Turkish March” here.

[qt:http://teresawong.dyndns.org:9001/video/christurk.m4v 640 360]

Note: For better viewing experience, please click on the post’s title and have the video mostly or fully loaded before you start watching it.