Bernard Duerksen

On the 10th of July I spoke about the masterclass of Bernard Duerksen. Bernard began playing the piano by ear at 5. His early training included studies with Hilda Reimer, followed by instruction from pianists Peter Katin, Jane Coop, Robin Wood, John-Paul Bracey, and composers Peter-Paul Koprowski and Gerhard Wuensch. He has been actively teaching and adjudicating for 31 years. His students are frequent prize winners in festivals.

I try to to highlight some expressions or things he said during the masterclass:

- Bernard compared the beginning of ‘Ecossaise’ from Hummel as if someone throws a stone into the water: big splash. This is a very vivid picture!
- You choose for your fingers, don’t let your fingers choose for you!
- A second time something must always sound different
- Two or more notes in a row don’t have the same loudness: knock it off!
- A musician must look ahead while you are here! Like a pilot in an aeroplane. A performer has to be ahead.
- Play slow, think fast.. look where you are going!
- Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb at once.. it took him some time. You don’t have to do everything perfect at once, either.. as long as you are doing your best.
- Minuet: don’t dance in boots but in slippers. If you do to much rubato in a Minuet, the dancers will fire you!
- Practise that everything is alright before you start. No rush.
- Soft tone is less and slower movement, loud tone is bigger and faster movement of your fingers
- Overdo: if you want your right hand to sound loud, play it two times louder than necessary..
- Dynamics: don’t only think dynamics, but DO them
- Wild Rider/Schumann: rider has to been thrown from the horse. Roller coster. Don’t be polite!
- Little Waltz/Gurlitt: solo instrument with orchestra
- Practise your skills

Bernard Duerksen

Bernard Duerksen

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