A gift for you this holiday season!
Have you seen these guys? Jon Schmidt, piano, and Steven Sharp Nelson, cello, call themselves ThePianoGuys and have a popular YouTube channel with arrangements of everything from the Theme from Charlie Brown performed for an audience of seniors to Carmina Burana performed on a racetrack. I love this arrangement of Rolling In the Deep.
Saturday morning I gave a presentation at the annual conference of the Pennsylvania Music Teacher’s Association which was held close to home this year at The Inn at Pocono Manor. My topic was “Innovative Performance Opportunities for 21st Century Students” and my goal was to encourage teachers to provide their students with many varied performance opportunities, both formal and informal, and stop stressing kids out with one big end-of-the-year Spring Marathon Recital.
That evening I was fortunate to attend the recital of guest artist, Frederic Chiu. The scary drive through a heavy Pocono Mountain fog back to the Manor last night was well worth it! The first half of the program included the lyrical (Chopin), the colorful (Debussy and Ravel) and the percussive (Prokofiev) culminating in the symphonic for the second half of the program – the exhilarating Liszt transcription of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.
Mr. Chiu’s powerful command of the keyboard seemed to come from somewhere deep inside, since his upper body was practically still during his performance. Earlier, during his morning workshop, Mr. Chiu spoke about the balance of body, mind and heart and his performance demonstrated this to perfection.
Interestingly, one aspect of Mr. Chiu’s teaching program, Deeper Piano Program, involves cooking. I asked him about this after the recital and he explained how the process of putting together a dish is similar to his method of learning a new piece. Much of the work is done away from the piano, taking the piece apart and putting it back together. I suppose the analogy can extend to adding spices and stirring it all up. Unfortunately, many of us learn our music start to finish on the bench because that’s the way we’ve been doing it since we started lessons.
After hearing Mr. Chiu speak and perform, both live and online, I realize just how important it is for piano teachers to start their young students out with a well-rounded musical education (listening to music, moving to music, learning basic theory, studying the score) and try not to rely so heavily on keeping the children’s butts on the bench and noses in the method book.
Daniil Trifonov is one of six finalists in the 13th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition and today he’ll be performing the Schumann Piano Quintet Op 44 (streaming live here) . I became a fan of his during the International Chopin Competition where he placed 3rd. He’s only 20 years old so I know we’re going to be hearing a lot more from him.
My social network of choice is Twitter and like Erica Sipes, I too have found a great support group of musicians that I can check in with any time of day (or night) to bounce around ideas, get inspired, or just chat. I’ve recently been reading about one Twitter friend, pianist Wayne McEvilly, and his work with Mozart in the Schools, a program he implemented in 1974 when he recorded all 17 Mozart piano sonatas on a 5 disc set and distributed it to elementary school classrooms in Los Alamos, New Mexico. He says the Mozart Sonatas send the students a “message of positive energy” and a “general attitude of all is well” – the same message he sends out through his Tweets every day!
Ahh, effortless playing! A montage of beautiful piano music for your Sunday enjoyment.
A breath of fresh air!
Enjoy Lola Astanova’s virtuosic arrangement of Jingle Bells while you wait for the snow to come!
Minho plays a piano prodigy who has to keep his talents under lock due to various circumstances, but when he comes across a piano teacher, played by Han Ji Hye, his talents emerge as they begin a love story together.
Does this ‘trend’ mean piano players are the cool kids now?
As far as piano covers go, vkgoeswild’s YouTube channel is one of the best. This Pink Floyd is one of my favorites although I always listen to at least four videos when I visit her channel.
Viki’s tutorials are clean and easy to follow and you can find all the covers here in PDF or Midi format.
Listening to Greg Anderson playing Ligeti Etude 13: “The Devil’s Staircase”and getting myself ready for an extremely busy day. Tonight I’ll decompress with this.
I had a two and a half hour wait at the beauty salon yesterday (my daughter was waiting for her favorite stylist) and had a chance to read the July edition of Elle Magazine and scribble down three musical names to Google when I got home, two pianists/singers and one vocal group.
McKenzie Eddy taught herself how to play piano at age 17 and went on to write and perform original music. But that’s not all -
Two years ago, after graduating from the University of South Carolina, the Hilton Head Island native was touring the East Coast with her funk-rock band Stealing From Bandits and waitressing between gigs, when she heard that hip-hop mogul Damon Dash was looking for an assistant. Today, she runs Bluroc (working with artists such as the Black Keys, the London Souls, and Curren$y), oversees Dash’s new DD172 multiplatform think tank in NYC’s Tribeca (which, with its mash-up of artists, video directors, and on-site engineers, has already drawn comparisons to Andy Warhol’s Factory), is associate-producing a documentary about Detroit punk band Death with Mos Def, and, oh yeah, regularly sings on her friends’ and Bluroc’s albums. (read more)
Melody Gardot (above) suffered a traumatic brain injury when she was 19. Her doctor, after having tried pain killers, creams, pads, therapy, finally suggested she go home and play her piano. She started with her guitar, added her voice (she hadn’t sung before the accident) and is now truly a testament to the healing power of music.
… the Melody Gardot case represents success on an entirely different scale. Music therapy didn’t just allow this young woman to enjoy a relatively normal life after a traumatic injury—it brought out such a gift that she has actually become famous. She has sold more than half a million albums in jazz-friendly Europe. Before coming to Spain, she played three sold-out nights at Paris’ famed Olympia theater, the favorite venue of Edith Piaf (to whom she’s often compared) and host also to the Rolling Stones and Madonna. In America, her 2009 major-label debut, My One and Only Thrill, has hovered atop jazz charts since its release. She performed on Letterman and has found an unlikely fan in NFL quarterback Brett Favre, who reportedly liked to play the album in the Vikings’ locker room last year. (read more)
The L.A. Ladies Choir is a group of women coming together to sing. They are women with careers in music, fashion, art, and literature. They wear vintage Laura Ashley and Gunne Sax. They interact with their audience. Their mission?
The one rule of the choir is to sing joyfully. I don’t care if it’s off-key. (read more)
So my daughter got a Twiggy haircut and I got a dose of musical inspiration!
A little Gershwin for a Sunday morning.