Sunday, November 6, 2016

"Chopin never played his own pieces the same way twice."

I was looking for some record that Chopin supported the idea of never playing the same piece twice.  Perhaps there is a source other than Vladimir Horowitz's obituary. Fascinating!

Excerpt from
  On This Day
November 6, 1989
OBITUARY: Vladimir Horowitz, Titan of the Piano, Dies

Mr. Horowitz was not overly worried by accusations of textual infidelity. "When I sit at the keyboard," he said, "I never know how I will play something [missing text]. The head, the intellect, is only the controlling factor of music making. It is not a guide. The guide is your feelings. Chopin never played his own pieces the same way twice."
At another time Mr. Horowitz said: "I am a 19th-century Romantic. I am the last. I take terrible risks. Because my playing is very clear, when I make a mistake, you hear it. But the score is not a bible, and I am never afraid to dare. The music is behind those dots. You search for it, and that is what I mean by the grand manner. I play, so to speak, from the other side of the score, looking back."

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Happy Birthday!

Wow, this has been around online for five years, and I'm only now watching it!!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April 2016 Wrapup

A Few Facts: 

- The Digital Age has changed the way the recording industry chooses music to publish.  The industry now is able to rely on data collected on what people want to hear, so they no longer publish based on the gut instincts of music experts.  This means we're getting more of what we want.  This is great for business, but is it so great for music?

-Conducting class gave me a reverential respect for large ensemble conductors.  They truly have the most challenging performance job, in my humble opinion.

Awesome thing from this month:  
- I've had the pleasure of perusing my former piano teacher's new book, Piano Student's Tool Kit, and discovering his new website:

To-do's and Goals for this Month: 
- Finish the examples in the aforementioned Piano Student's Tool Kit, including Advanced Blues Licks

-Reach performing proficiency with my by ear piece, A Perfect Day, from (don't laugh) the Peter Rabbit Sountrack. Truly one of the most melodically calming and mysteriously searching pieces I've ever heard.

-Review one Baroque piece to performance proficiency

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Chord playing and Vocalists

My latest vocalist crush

Recently a parent contacted me about teaching her daughter to play by chords in order to accompany herself while singing.  I was excited to get back to this parent to say, yes, I would be delighted to teach that.  Playing by chords really enhances a vocalist's performing ability and versatility, not to mention pure enjoyment.  For one thing, the ability to transpose an accompaniment to your vocal range in a matter of minutes.  Also, how it accelerates learning any music- useful for anyone!

Many musicians will tell you accompanying a singer is a labor of sheer love - a lot of love.  Honestly I believe being an accompanist for a singer is one of the most harrowing jobs of an instrumentalist.  Not so when a vocalist accompanies himself.  And not so much when a vocalist is also a proficient instrumentalist.  The latter person is the best equipped to be a vocalist's accompanist. 

As I talk to prospective students and their parents, I think more about explaining why I teach playing by chords and ear, not just by note reading like most teachers, and how remarkably effective this teaching method is - after all, it's old as Bach.   More on this next time....

Monday, March 21, 2016

Happy Birthday Bach!

"The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul."
-- Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Monday, October 12, 2015

These Hands...

My favorite: Rachmaninoff. Most creative: egg beaters. The fonts are a nice touch.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Room (Inside An Instrument)

Fantasy world. This reminds me of I Spy books, with their enchanting rooms of shadows and beams of light.

Macro Shots Taken Inside Instruments

Friday, September 18, 2015

Syrian Pianist: Songs of Defiance

A Syrian pianist, husband, father... a refugee from the ISIS holocaust. As with all episodes of horror, this time is not without its music.

These men are leaving their families behind on the brink of "the deepest circle of hell." They may be lost at sea. They must find a safer escape route for their families. And winter is coming, when the sea will be more cruel.

You can help Syrian refugees through many relief charities. Here is one, led by Billy Graham's son:

I happened to glance at Facebook's trending headlines, and as God would have it, this caught my eye. How inspiring and how sobering. I'm glad the world is seeing the crisis in the Middle East, and if it takes being a musician to move people to action, I say the more, the better.

First of all, I'm praying. Second, I want to learn this man's music, start a band, and spread his message.

 For now, I'm sharing his story.