Friday, July 20, 2012

Robert Pace: Productive Practicing

Piano Pedagogue, Robert Pace (Read more)
I liked the following quotes from an article by Robert Pace in the Clavier Companion, July/August 1992.

"Practicing is an art in itself, and too many students could use help in making practice time more productive. 
" my experience when students learn to accomplish more during practice, they derive more satisfaction from music study and begin to allot more time to practicing.
"If good daily practice is essential to progress for studnetns, the same is no less true for teachers, who as professionals should continue to grow musically... practicing may be an end-of-the-day struggle with tired technique and resurrected repertoire.    [Point taken]
"Howard Gardner theorizes that problem -solving skills are a basic component of intelligence.  Few young students, though, can solve problems effectively in daily practice because the necessary disciplines - theory, ear-treaining, sight-reading, and keyboard harmony - are routinely postponed to the college level.     [Thankfully, I was taught those things through the 3-hand method by Dave Clark, and teach them to my students!] 

I was listening to Beethoven's 2nd Sonata as I wrote this, and realized that Pace looks like Barenboim!

Friday, July 13, 2012

After 20 Years, Why I'm Still Teaching - Dr. George Grant

Dr. George Grant
This, from my long-distance high school Humanities teacher's blog, applies to me so much!

1. I get to love what I love in front of my students.
2. I inevitably learn more--even more than those I’m teaching.
3. I have a great excuse to buy more books.
4. And then, I have a great excuse to read more books.
5. I am forced to make real-life connections rather than simply pontificate in the theoretical.
6. I am provoked to think about the future and scrutinize the present through the lens of the past.
7. I am able to reacquaint myself with the best of our great legacy of art, music, and ideas.
8. I get the satisfaction of seeing the “lights come on.”
9. I am constantly prodded to hone my communications skills.
10. I get to bear testimony to the grace and mercy of God, in space, in time, and in me.
11. I am privileged to catch early glimpses of the future leaders of our culture in action.

-Dr. George Grant,

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Making Copies with Word Processor, Camera and Printer, and without a Scanner

Since I don't have a scanner:

Photograph the page - find a spot that gives the brightest white( some cameras have document/painting settings) and include the page number
If your printer or programs can't print from some version of Photo Viewer:

  Copy from some version of Photo Viewer onto a Word document. 
Crop, rotate and resize to full page. Save.
  Repeat for other photos on next pages in same document, or create new document.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bach's Fifth Gospel in Japan

I read this article by Chuck Colson  in high school, and it further endeared Bach to me as my favorite composer and a hero of my faith. I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Colson, then my husband's boss, just before his passing this year. 

Bach's 'Fifth Gospel':The Enduring Power of Artistic Excellence
Christianity has never had a very strong presence in Japan.
               In fact, with industrialization, Japan has become one of the most secular nations on earth. But right now, thousands of Japanese are hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ in a new, or should I say old, way—and they're embracing it.
               The evangelist responsible for leading this spiritual awakening might surprise you. He's none other than Johann Sebastian Bach.
             That's right. The German composer who died 250 years ago is bringing Christianity to Japan through the beauty of his music. Now there are reports of thousands of Japanese, inspired by his cantatas, converting to Christianity. It's a testament to the power of art steeped in a biblical worldview.
Shinichi Suzuki
              Christianity has never been widely embraced by Japanese culture. When European traders and missionaries came to the island nation in the 17th century, they met with mixed success: Commerce thrived, but the Gospel languished. But Japan eagerly embraced the music of Western culture.
              Shinichi Suzuki even developed a method to learn to play classical instruments that became famous worldwide. But now, through a resurgence in Bach's popularity, that music is providing a foothold for evangelism that trade and traditional approaches never have.
           Bach's popularity is so great that the classes at the Felix Mendelssohn Academy in Bach's hometown of Leipzig, Germany, are filled with Japanese students. These students are learning about more than the music of the great composer—they learn about the spirit that moved him to write: that is, Bach's love of God.
            Writing on this resurgence of Bach's music for Civilization, the magazine of the Library of Congress, Uwe Siemon-Netto reports that his Japanese interpreter asked to start the day with one of Bach's cantatas. She selected one whose lyrics declare that God's name is Love. "This has taught me what these two words mean to Christians... and I like it very much," she said.
Masaaki Suzuki
            As Siemon-Netto points out, Bach's music was once celebrated as the "fifth gospel"—praise that has never been more aptly said of Bach's work than it is in Japan today.
           What began as an interest in the brilliance of the music has led to an understanding of the richness of God's grace. Masaaki Suzuki, founder of a school for Bach's music in Japan, [Bach Collegium Japan] says that, "Bach is teaching us the Christian concept of hope." And Yoshikazu Tokuzen, of Japan's National Christian Council, calls Bach nothing less than "a vehicle of the Holy Spirit." And the revival his music is causing indeed confirms that.
Bach Collegium Japan
           At the end of every one of his works, Bach inscribed the initials "SDG"—shorthand for Soli Deo Gloria, "to God alone be the glory." Little could he have imagined what purposes God would have for his work, even hundreds of years after his death.
           And Bach could hardly have imagined that his music would contribute to the evangelization of Japan.
Bach's legacy is a sterling illustration of C.S. Lewis' maxim that the world does not need more Christian writers—it needs more good writers, and composers, who are Christians. And when we produce art that is really good, art that reflects a biblical worldview, its richness will endure through the ages—Soli Deo Gloria.
         By Chuck ColsonPublished Date: June 19, 2000

While I could not find an image of Bach's SDG signature from a manuscript, this is an image of a similar signature of Bach's contemporary, George Frederic Handel.