For the past couple of years I’ve been working on learning all the Chopin etudes. This is an occasional audio practice diary about my process of working on these incredible pieces.

I’m a concert pianist and music professor.  I’m also a mom: in the summer of 2010, I took four months off from playing to have a baby. Learning these etudes has been a way to get my brain and my chops back in shape, but I want to come out the other side a better player than before I took a break (being a parent has already given me a whole new perspective on everything too, of course, but I promise I don’t talk about how adorable my toddler is all the time in these podcasts).

There’s a saying that if you can play all the Chopin etudes, you can play anything. While that’s not really true anymore in a world that has, say, Ligeti in it, working on these pieces is making me a tangibly better pianist: they stretch what I can physically do at the piano. They’re also really, really beautiful pieces of music. I’ve loved these etudes my whole life, both the ones I’ve played and the ones I’ve just listened to. This is a difficult technical climb, but the musical view will be worth it.

I’m hoping that this podcast will be interesting and accessible for piano students, concertgoers, or people who would like to go to concerts but can’t get around to it much. If you’re curious about the piano, musical practice, or artistic process, I hope you’ll find this entertaining. I play and talk in each full episode, and I try to keep the jargon to a minimum.

I’ll be posting new episodes when I feel like it, as frequently as every week or as seldom as…well, we’ll see. The best way to keep track of when new episodes happen is to subscribe, either at this site or on iTunes or Stitcher.

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