Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Boston Pop's Christmas - Somewhere in My Memory

When I was growing up, Boston Pop's "Joy To The World" with John Williams was my favorite CD at Christmas time, and "Somewhere in My Memory" will always be in my memory.  Home Alone is a great Christmas movie!!  =]  I happened upon this video from another pianist-blogger. Some Christmas, I hope to teach this to some student who shares my joy in this sweet melody.  Enjoy!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Carols - Meaning that Impacts

Christmas music has some of the greatest messages of truth, joy, peace, and God's glory.  This is a great podcast that tells about that.  From the Christian Worldview ministry my husband works for, BreakPoint, Chuck Colson and John Stonestreet discuss "Let All Mortal Flesh Be Silent."

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Events: Week of Dec. 4 - 10

Friday, December 9, 7:30pm at Shiloh Baptist Church.  Christmas by Candlelight   Members of my family and I will be singing in this beautiful varied concert!
Too bad it isn't free like last year!  5$ advance.  More infor below.

Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, 8 – 10 p.m.   Dancing with Winds, UT.   Free

Sunday, Dec. 11.  Don't forget the Messiah.  10$ advance.  This video is from Dr. Romanski's [past performances.

Shiloh Baptist Church, 905 W Terrace St, Plant City, FL

  • We took a group picture at Epcot last year, but this
    was a year before  when I wasn't there yet. :) We will be singing
    on December 30th.
    The program will begin with the Plant City Community Choir featuring:
    ~A Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas
    ~Still, Still, Still
    ~Carol of the Bells

    ... Also on the program, from the Plant City Vocal Ensemble:
    ~Ding Dong Merrily on High
    Then, the Plant City Community Choir will combine with a choral group from the University of South Florida to perform the 2011 Disney Candlelight Processional concert. This will include over 100 singers, a guest narrator, and guest conductors.


    Sunday, December 4, 2011

    This is my instrument!

    Featuring : True Piano Feel and Expressive Control
    I'm researching about this digital piano, especially how to record with it.  I discovered why the box didn't have the manual.  It is available at Yamaha's website.  So I'll be registering my Arius YDP 161's serial number to get access to this and other features.

    "50 classic piano songs are provided in the song player and as a music book, "50 Greats for the Piano." These songs can be used for background music or as learning reference.

    10 Voices  -  In addition to the realistic Grand Piano Voice, you can play other instruments like Vibraphone, Electric Pianos, Harpsichords and Church Organs. There’s also a rich Strings Voice that sounds great when used in Dual Voice mode with the Acoustic Piano.

    The easy to use, built-in 2-track recorder lets you capture your music and plays it back. Play both hands together and use the second track to add a different part. Or play one part at a time and rehearse complicated pieces. You can also transfer recorded songs to your computer using Yamaha’s free Music Downloader software..."

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Want to sing in the Messiah?

    All are welcome to participate in the performance of the MESSIAH!
    This is a late notice. 

    <<Rehearsal Reminder

    Brandon Choral Society Singers will resume rehearsals with the next one scheduled for tomorrow Tuesday November 29 at 7:00 PM Sharp. As every one is aware the rehearsal location will continue at Southside Baptist Church, 415 W. Lumsden Rd., Brandon , Fl 33511.

    Cd's, concert tickets, flyers and poster will be available for distribution.

    See attached 2011 Handel's Messiah flyer.

    Thank you and God Bless!

    George Miecyjak
    Program Coordinator

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Happy Thanksgiving!... Songs

    I've been assigning Thanksgiving hymns to my students. 
    And Thanksgiving would not be complete without good ol' Charlie Brown!  One of my students just began learning this theme.  Should be a fun challenge for rhythm and agility.

    Events: Week of Nov. 24-19

    December 6, 2011 - "Holiday Magic" - 7:30pm - Youkey Theater, The Lakeland Center
    Program: Four Shaw Cantatas (Lakeland Choral Society), Bennett; Seasonal Favorites.

     If you are a student at USF, the first and second concerts are free.  These are great events!

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    I'm So Excited about tonight!

    The November 18th Organist event!

     University of Tampa - featuring Organist of Notre Dame, Paris! 

    (Later:  Both showings were packed.  I disliked the modern atonal pieces, but the improvisation on a Brahms Symphony theme and 'Tis the Gift to Be Simple' was interesting!  Amazing place. 

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Events: Week of Nov. 13-19

    Brian Moorhead - soloist for upcoming USF Wind Ensemble Concert, Thursday, November 17, 7:30 PM, S.o.M. Concert Hall.  10- 12 $


    Featuring the artistry of Brian Moorhead, USF Professor of Clarinet, as he performs the new clarinet concerto by Michael Daugherty entitled Brooklyn Bridge.

     "for an enticing combination of the  ‘new and  traditional ’  in fine instrumental major ensemble repertoire." 


    Fri, November 18, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
    Olivier Latry, organist of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris
    at Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values, University of Tampa.               Free!!

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Events: Week of Nov. 6- 12

    Monday, November 7, 2011, 7:30pm, Puckett Auditorium. program of Late Romantic art songs from around the world.  He wife, Shawn, (MM in Piano Performance) will accompany him on the piano. Free admission.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 5:30pm, Chorus Room, K223. We will hold a seminar with Scott Wyatt on “Christians in the Professional World of Music” in a less formal setting. All those with an interest in performing arts are welcome to attend.

    Tuesday, Nov. 8, 7:30 pm   USF Jazz Combos    Barness Recital Hall, USF - Free
    Wednesday, November 9, 2011, 4:30pm, Puckett Auditorium. Scott will conduct a masterclass with Florida College voice students. All are welcome. Free admission.

    Saturday Nov. 12th USF - Jacob Dike's Percussion Recital -  at 2:00pm - free.  My colleague for the last 3 years. :)

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011


    I've just expanded my "Students" page, on the top menu here, to include more links to free sheet music.  This was particularly to give my students some Christmas lead sheets.  It's less than three months away! With Thanksgiving coming next month, I'm thinking I'll post about traditional Thanksgiving  music. 

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    More from our Honeymoon: WhItEwAtEr Chopsticks!

    On our way home from our time in Virginia, we stayed at the home of a most hospitable family I met in 2006 at a Little Bear Outdoor Adventure camp in Pennsylvania. Hope, also a pianist and piano teacher, showed us a video of her and her student playing a dramatic duet of this piece, and it was AWESOME!  I want to learn this piece, and copy her idea!!  :)  Here is a rendition I liked from youtube:

    Sheet Music  here

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Symphony of the Smokies - Sample our honeymoon music

    Go and see!

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Sunday, July 31, 2011

    The Three Ways to Play Piano

    My learning of piano was revolutionized by the tri-fold learning method of Dave Clark in Brandon, Florida.  For 30 years, he has been using the method of teaching by Notes, Chord Symbols, and Ear with great success.  I have continued in his foot steps teaching this approach.  So, what makes it work?

    First, the three ways bring a great variety of music to the musician’s fingertips.  Some music is only available completely notated or in lead sheet form.  Some music is not written down!  No matter which camp it’s in, you can play it with one (or maybe all?)of  the three ways. 

    Second, the three ways give to the musician incredible versatility.  The above reason is one, the ability to add to the music according to taste is another.  The list goes on.

    Third, the three ways reinforce and enhance each other.  Simple as that!  You can see this in a myriad of ways.  To name one, when you know chords well, you will quickly spot them in notated music, seeing recurring patterns, and read much, MUCH faster.

    Fourth, when you have three ways to play, each tapping into different neurological, motor, and aural functions, each having their access to certain genres, one  of the ways is bound to stick with you!  Mr. Clark has noticed this from keeping in touch with his students over the years.

    By the way, the musician who plays tuba is just as likely to prophet by learning all three ways.  Granted, the tuba, like most instruments, does not in obvious ways give the ability for playing harmony which is needed for the chord symbol approach. Yet if a tuba player learned a bit of the chord symbol style on the piano, it would enhance his reading and by ear skills. 

    Mr. Clark wrote Piano Companion, a book which guides the student to advanced playing in all three ways.  I use it with intermediate to advanced and older students.

    Because this is so basic and special to my teaching method, and kind of revolutionary in the piano pedagogy community, I’m sure I will write on it more in the future.

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Events for this week!

    A little late on this...

    University of Tampa Studio
    Betty Chester emailed this to her students/colleagues. She is such a source of inspiration and information! :)
    Piano Music Lovers,

    This week a Summer Piano Camp is being held at the University of Tampa.  The evenng performances by the faculty are free and open to the public (free parking too).  I hope that you get to go to at least one:

    Sunday, July 24th, 7:30 p.m.  Recital by Grigorios Zamparas [We've seen him in town before!]- Grand Salon,  Plant Hall

    Tuesday, July 26th, 7:30 p.m.  Recital by   Duncan Macillan - Music Room, Plant Hall

    Thursday, July 28th,  7:30 p.m.  Recital by Leonidas Lipovetsky - Fletcher Lounge 2nd Floor

    Saturday, July 30th, 1:00 and 3:00 - Grand Finale Concerts of Student Performers (aged 12 - 18)  - Grand Salon, Plant Hall

    Adult Piano Students are also invited to attend the free  Master Classes this Monday through Friday at 4:40 in the Grand Salon in Plant Hall. 

    Thank you, Mrs. Chester!  I would call UT to check for the free Master Classes.  Check out more here: http://www.ut.edu/music/


    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Go Bug Dad For Anything - Mnemonic Devices

    I start teaching staff notation very early.  Even with 5 year olds, it will come in the first lesson -usually.  By the second or third lesson, they are chanting "All Cows Eat Grass."   Here is the chart I teach them, with the exception of the Good Burritos - I teach "Go Bug Dad For Anything," just for laughs:

    New tips I learned:

    Rhyming and Reading Music

    "Notice that if you say it this way, "FACE is for the space" it rhymes.
    "Every Good Boy Does Fine is for the lines," rhymes as well.
    This will help with the hardest part for students, which is keeping the memory tools for the lines and spaces straighted out in your head. Also keep in mind that there are 4 spaces on each staff and 5 lines. So that helps narrow down the options."   -http://hubpages.com/hub/Learn-to-Read-Music-for-the-Piano-Faster

     For intermediate students: Once I asked a friend, "How do you remember the keys with sharps and flats?" For the order of sharps, she reminded me of the mnemonic I learned so long ago it was like stumbling upon the old train set in the attic: 

    Fat Cat Go Down Allies Eating Bird.

     But she lamented not having a mnemonic for the flats.  Now I know why.  On this music theory site, I just learned that the order of flats is the same sequence but backwards. Nice!


    P.S.  I always tell students that Go Bug Dad For Anything is not good advice.

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    From Tedious Combing the Internet to Ebullient

    Have you ever gone on those wild goose chases and in the adventure find something worthwhile?
    Well that was how I one day came upon a defining moment in my musical career.
    I discovered a way to write music thru the computer online for free!!¸.·´*  Happy Unbirthday!  And of course I wondered why I hadn't been told about it after 3 years in a music college.  I'm sure there are more programs  available as well for free.  I recently heard of a sample version of Sibelius. 

    Here it is: Noteflight.com :  http://www.noteflight.com/login

    How I used this site:
     I've frequently wanted to change the key of a piece to accommodate a singer.  This site lets me do that. Of course on the flip side I had to learn how to use the program a little.  But if you have 20 minutes to just hit random keys (on the computer keyboard... not hitting piano keys!), you too can figure it out and use it for some time saving and organizing.

    A sample of my transposed work ~ Press play!

    Saturday, July 2, 2011

    Another stellar performance by the Plant City Community Choir!!  The invitation read :

    Plant City Community Choir will partner with East Hillsborough Community Band
    to present a stirring patriotic concert...
    theme will be the support of our troops overseas.
    Each person attending is asked to bring a small item that can be mailed to our troops as they protect and serve our great USA.

    Although the big band music was amazing, with all it's Sousian grandeur, it was the a capella singing of Rene' Claussen's Set Me As a Seal that resonated with my heart... Perhaps because of the story that the PCCC choir director, Joe Mendolia, told before hand, which he learned from Claussen in a question and answer session during a choral workshop at USF.  Joe asked him what piece he's written that he would never changed - that he is perfectly satisfied with.  He named Set Me As A Seal.  He was grieving the stillbirth of his fifth child due to an amniocentesis.  While his wife lay in the hospital recovering next to the nursary ward, he composed it in 45 minutes.
     He writes himself, "Some time ago my wife suffered 5 consecutive miscarriages. I wrote Set Me As A Seal the next evening. I am struck by the phrase "for love is strong as death", because when I wrote it my actual feeling was "for love is stronger than death"; abiding, all-encompassing love absorbs even the pain of death. If the piece is about anything, it is about the simple but powerful conviction of permanent love that seeks to overflow the boundary between life and death. I can't imagine a choir singing it without open hearts." 
    How great is the music that flows from deep comfort.


    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Come sing in the Candlelight Processional at Disney World's Epcot! An Experience of a Lifetime!

    I'd like to tell you about an experience of a lifetime! Read how you can be a part of a choir's performance with the Candlelight Processional  at Disney World's Epcot.  My fiancé and I just signed up, and others of my friends and family have as well.   It is one of the greatest events I've participated in, and enjoyed watching too! 

    It's almost to the deadline! Saturday at 9:30 is the first required rehearsal for this local choir.  Come one and all! 
    From Joe, the director:
    Hi Friends!
    Do you like to sing in the car? Or the shower? Or with the radio? Or your iPod? Have you ever sung in a school choir? College choir? community choir? Church choir? Have you ever heard any song ever?
    If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should keep reading this email!

    Imagine, if you will, it is a beautiful December evening. You are at Disney World's Epcot theme park and you are walking by the American pavilion there. You hear beautiful singing and look to find a massive 300 voice choir singing on stage! They are holding beautiful flickering candles, wearing gold and green robes, singing like angels. There is an orchestra with them and a movie star too!
    You stop and listen. It sounds something like this:

    How would you, yes YOU, like to be one of those phenomenal singers?
    Well, now you have a chance! Anyone who can carry a tune is welcome to join with the Plant City Community Choir as we prepare for and audition for our 3rd year in a row! For the past two years, we have been accepted and we are looking to make this year number 3! All of our singers will agree that this is such a fun, exciting, musical experience. And, to top it all off, each singer receives two FREE Disney tickets to use in 2012!

    So what should you do if you want to go with us?! It is simple! Send an email with your name and email address to: candlelight@pccommunitychoir.com

    When I came back from singing in this event, I knew I had to take my now-fiancé to see this magnificent and edifying performance.   What a beautiful sight it was!  We had a wonderful time.  I hope you too can enjoy it.  Being a performer is a whole new world.  :)
    If you miss the chance to sing with this choir, there may be others in your area that are participating.  Or you could start your own. :)

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Musical Minds

    Watch excerpt:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q49Bs0Gp7OU  

      I may be one of those "musically inclined," but I still think that this fantastic science documentary, Nova's Musical Minds would fascinate just about anyone.  Especially if you're reading this blog!  :)  (At a later point, I might post my thoughts on why everyone should be musically inclined!  For now, I'd just repeat music is God's gift to all. )

    If you read the note left by the uploader on You Tube, you'll learn a little more about this film and its very personal .

     The site for the film is:


    I am trying to find out when it might air again, and also if it is available on DVD.  June 30 will mark two years since its premiere.


    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    An Almost Normal Piano Recital -Dave Clark Piano Studio

    One of the most exciting invigorating events of the year.  Every Spring since I was 13 until I was 18 I performed in this, the best recitals ever facilitated by the piano teacher I continue to say is the best in the world. :)  Now I go to watch my brother and all of Mr. Clark's other stellar students tickle the ivories...sometimes with a performance by the great man himself.  The awards ceremony that comes between the two recitals on that Sunday every year is also a highlight.

    It's hard to pick a highlight of the performances....I'll have to put two.
    These are siblings from a homeschooling family in Brandon.  Wonderful friends!

    I'll have to add more about the recital.  I learn so much  every year.  So this will be part 1. =]


    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Thoughts in Harmony - Benefits of Music study

    There are many long-term values to learning music, apart from its role in our worship to God, including confidence, perseverance, precision and motor control, identification of talents, overcoming fears of public speaking and service, intellectual and social development, commitment to excel, creativity, self-expression, and following directions.  Ultimately, I hope that each student will have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the gift of music.


    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    More events this week: Orchestra concert, Florida College Recital, Monday Night Jazz

    • SouthEastern University Orchestra Concert
      Fri, March 25, 7:30pm – 8:30pm, Bush Chapel  SouthEastern University
    *FREE*   I've never been, but would love to go sometime!

    Music Department Recital
     Mon, March 28, 5pm – 7pm
    Florida College Puckett Auditorium
    *FREE* Expect variety, mostly solos and duets.
    "One of the best-kept secrets at USF".... This is *FREE* for USF Music students, discounted for students, and you save if you buy in advance.  Also, coupons are available if you sign up for the mailing list or call to see if you can pick a calendar with them.


    Monday, March 21, 2011

    *¤*.¸¸.·´¨`»The Bach Birthday Bash!!!.·°·.»♫

     The immortal god of harmony.
    Beethoven said of J. S. Bach
    It's the shining musical event of every year: The American Guild of Organists in Tampa hosts a celebration of Bach's work around his birthday (March 21, 1685).  This year it is March 23rd.  It is **free** for all, but donations are most welcome, as this is a fundraiser for Organ student scholarships.Check out if your area is having a Bach Celebration too!   Orchestras, choirs, churches, organ guilds - lots of musical groups have a reason to celebrate. Johann Sebastian Bach is unequaled in fame and reverenced by all great musicians.

      “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”

    “It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.”

    Check out the Piano Society's bio of Bach:  http://www.pianosociety.com/cms/index.php?section=24

    And if you can't make it to the Bach Bash in Tampa,  check out :  Lakeland's   Imperial Symphony Orchestra Event. Same night. March 22 !!  **Children and students are FREE and do not need a ticket.** 


    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Florida College - HUTCHINSON auditorium

    FREE   ~   Chorus and Wind Ensemble Concert
      Thu, March 24, 7:30pm – 9:30pm; Hutchinson Auditorium, Florida College.   Part of the college's 'Life Enrichment Series.'

    SEU Orchestra concert

      Fri, March 25, 7:30pm – 8:30pm, Bush Chapel  SouthEastern University

    The SEU Presbyterian Church series have always been a treat.  I'm sure their campus events are equally wonderful. 


    Events: Florida College Voice Recital

    Tues., March 29, 7:30pm – 9:30pm 

    Florida College  Puckett Auditorium
    *FREE*  You NEVER know what you'll get because every voice is unique!