Conscious Listening/Masterclass

Conscious Listening™ is... to listen intentionally to the elements of the music, for the purpose of engaging with the composer’s musical language.  We practice how to break down the elements and layers of a performance, as well as how to synthesize our multi-sensory processes to create a meaningful experience.

Coming Up:

SAT 4/11/25, Nutmeg Studio in Erie, Masterclass, 1-3pm, $40/person

TUE 6/2/15 TBA, Denver area, $40/person

WED 6/3/15, time TBA, CSMTA annual conference, Pueblo

7/19-23, time TBA, Summer Keyboard Institute, Fort Collins
If you have a grand piano and would like to host a workshop, please email me at
Conscious Listening
is a guided step-by-step listening method that grows musical intuition for classical music.   Seminars are designed for the inquisitive adult, either music-lover or active performer, who wants more out of the music experience.

With my live demonstrations, we practice listening with specific goals and discovering the character inside each piece.  My goal is to demonstrate what to listen for and how to listen.  As we refresh our listening habits, our musical pursuits will yield a lifetime of joy.  Happy Listening!

For all Music-lovers, we discuss the core elements of music, and explore different possible interpretations to find out what makes the most musical sense.

For Advanced Pianists and Teachers, we go on to discuss which physical gestures and mental tools can help us achieve the best musical expression.

“Thanks for a superb class!  You made it very interesting by your upbeat personality and obvious piano excellence… You helped rekindle my passion for teaching - thank you!  Your approach is helping me know how to put difficult concepts into words.  I also like how you ask questions and let people try to put their thoughts into words- it is one of the most effective ways of teaching.   You have a very thoughtful approach that has something for all levels of experience. Your class was great!!!”


FRI 1/23/15 Colorado Springs
November 2014- workshops- private event

TUE 9/8/14, THU 9/10, WED 9/17concert, THU 9/18, 7-9pm.

"Let’s Get Personal! The Piano, the Romantics, and the Impressionists"    
University of Denver
with Friends of Chamber Music, Newman Center

Register online:  Course # CRN1190, $145

As artists pushed aside the constraints of the Age of Enlightenment, they created new methods of personal expression. A resurgence of passion and the love of fantasy and nature brought forth some of the most moving piano repertoire. Join Steinway Artist
Hsing-ay Hsu to explore the new textures and means of expression created by the Romantics – and later the Impressionists – and why the piano became a preferred medium for the new prominence of individualism. As showcased at the London World Exhibition of 1851, with its improved sostenuto pedal, faster repetition and felt hammers, the modern piano offered a new playground to composers. What ideas did the Romantic composers share in common amongst themselves, and with the Impressionists? How did they differ? Discover this and much more through piano demonstrations by your talented instructor, comparative listening utilizing her Conscious Listeningapproach, and thoughtful, informative discussions. Along the way, and with new insight, enjoy a group outing at the Friends of Chamber Music concert featuring renowned French pianist (and wildlife conservationist/activist) Hélène Grimaud, widely considered a Renaissance woman for our times. Return for one more class to discuss your concert experience. 10% discount to FCM subscribers.

Recent workshops:
SAT's 7/19- 8/9, 2014. 10am-1pm. 
Tonal Analysis for Performers
MasterclassErie, CO
Would you like to enhance your performance by understanding and communicating the harmonic language?  We will review listening & analysis skills on a wide range of styles, in order to improve aspects of performance, such as phrasing, timing, and memory.  Our repertoire will include orchestral, chamber, and solo works.  This is an advanced level course, open to all instruments.  Working knowledge of basic theory is strongly encouraged. Limited to 10 participants.  Happy Listening!
Tuition: $200, or
Location: Nutmeg Studio, Erie, CO (Lafayette border) Email me for address.


Weekly Listening Acuity:  Cadences

Preparation using Tonal Analysis
Case Study

Session 2:
Weekly Listening Acuity:  Cadences
"Finding Structure by using cadences"

“Listening for Leading Tones”

“Modulations to get lost in”

“Pacing of change”

Session 3:
Weekly Listening Acuity:  Cadences

“Pivot Chords” 

"Phrasing without Relying on Timing"

Session 4:
Weekly Listening Acuity:  Cadences

“Chord Qualities”       
“Orchestral Colors”
“Complex Chords” 
“Significant vs. Passing”

“Inferred Tonal Centers”  

WED 7/23, 1- 2:30pm.   C.L. on a Brahms Case Study
Int'l Keyboard Odyssiad/
Fort Collins, CO

Council Tree Covenant Church, 4825 S. Lemay Ave.

6/15-20. CU Piano Academy for High Schoolers, Open Level, Boulder, CO FRI 6/6 8pmMasterclass, Conservatoire Maurice-Ravel, Paris France

Nutmeg Studio in Erie (35 minutes north of Denver Performing Arts Center, 20 minutes east of CU-Boulder).  $200.  Max 10 musicians.  Seminar performance is optional.
To reserve, please email for availability, and then mail a $50 non-refundable deposit check (and it will be used towards tuition).

Email to sign up for class notification, to book a workshop, or to request a private coaching.

What people are saying...
"Thank you Hsing-ay. It's been marvelous! I feel refreshed after your lessons; i can't believe how much I've learned. I've been applying your teachings to my students and it is fascinating how even the very young are eager to pay attention to detail, and how fast they can learn from the very start to play "meaningfully", no matter how simple the music is. I fractured my wrist [a year ago] last winter and couldn't play for three months. But your seminar has made me say: no more excuses!!! I feel motivated to practice and work on new pieces. Thanks!"

Seminars for Advanced Pianists  A series of 14 rotating topics, ideally paired with masterclass for application demonstration.

1. Foundations: “3 step listening”, “3 levels of understanding”, “Elements of the Music”
2. Beyond your Fingertips (breath and legato)
3. Stepping outside the comfort zone (how to absorb new information)
4. Strategic Timeline (from week to week)
5. 3-2-1 Action: Performance Strategy
6. Fluid Technique
7. Harmonic Colors & Energy Levels
8. Building Blocks (Structure) & Pacing
Preventing Injury (dynamic stretch, breath, static stretch)
10. Practice Applications (making the most of every hour)
11. Memorizing
12. Methods of Voicing
Overview of Contemporary Piano Music
14.  Listen & Review

Additional Topics: Chamber Music Skills

Seminars for Music Appreciation
Auditors are welcome in the first hour of our pianists seminar:  Foundations: “3 step listening”, “3 levels of understanding”, “Elements of the Music”. 
Nutmeg Studio in Erie (35 minutes north of Denver Performing Arts Center, 20 minutes east of CU-Boulder). $20.

9/11- 12/4, 7 WED's 10am-12noon as the DAMTA Fall Seminar
Complete Seminar Cycle for Advanced Pianists & Teachers. Schmitt Music in Denver. 
WED 10/16/13 10:30-11:30
Foothills Music Teachers Association (Lakewood), Rockley Music, Denver
7/27- 8/17, 4 SAT's
Complete Seminar Cycle for Advanced Pianists & Teachers 

IKOF & SKI Festival at CSU, Fort Collins

Metro State University Piano Celebration
Renmin University, Beijing, China
DU Enrichment/Friends of Chamber Music
CSO/DU Enrichment
BAMTA Chapter of MTNA, Boulder
Anthem PAL Concert Series, Broomfield, CO

Workshops for Pianists((general talks for large groups- more information available upon request)
Beyond Your Fingertips- making a physical & emotional imprint from the start
Conquering Performance Anxiety 
Creating a Music Career 
In the Practice Room

Workshops for Listening (general talks for large groups- more information available upon request)
Contemporary Piano Music (20th/21th century)
Specific composers or masterpieces

*Seminar for Advanced Pianists/ Teachers  Registration Form

Tips for Teachers:
Czerny wrote lots of technical exercise books, with so many opus #'s!  Here are the levels in order of difficulty, from Beginners to Advanced. 
Opus 599/ Opus 823
"100 Progressive Studies without Octaves" Opus 139
"125 Exercises for Passage-Playing" Opus 261
"30 New Studies In Technique" Opus 849
"The Preliminary School of Finger-Dexterity" Opus 636
"The School of Velocity" Opus 299 (most widely used)
"The Art of Finger Dexterity" Opus 740