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Artist Portrait: Ola Gjeilo

Say hello to composer and pianist Ola Gjeilo. Ola’s concert works are performed all over the world and he recently finished a residency with the Phoenix Chorale. Both of his piano albums have been recognized for a wonderful spontaniety contrasted with contemplative melodic lines and rich harmonies. We audio chatted over Skype to bring you . . . → Read More: Artist Portrait: Ola Gjeilo

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Piano Pride

“I’m so proud of myself!,” said Marty. She has been taking class piano since August. Before that, she had a few lessons, played the violin, and taught herself the basics.

The class is a mix of community members and general students. The levels vary widely. I’m challenged to come up with a format that will . . . → Read More: Piano Pride

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Scales. What?

I remember trying to learn scales hands together. Four in one hand then 3 in the other my teacher said. F is like C except there is a 4 on Bb. B doesn’t use 5 in the right hand. Aarghhh! I was not good at scales. I learned them but never got . . . → Read More: Scales. What?

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What’s Up With This Memory Thing?

“What’s up with this memory thing?”, asked one of my new transfer students. We talked about different levels of knowing and understanding and the fact that committing something to memory allows us to interact with it on a deeper level. “You don’t necessarily have to perform it from memory”, I said, “but you need the . . . → Read More: What’s Up With This Memory Thing?

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Galumphing With Mr. Hanon

Inspired by Steven Nachmanovich’s book, Freeplay, my friend and mentor, Dr. Lisa Zdechlik talks a lot about galumphing as we learn. (you know- the playing part of playing piano) We galumph when we take a tricky passage and practice it in rhythms, or improvise on it, or create an exercise from it and transpose it . . . → Read More: Galumphing With Mr. Hanon

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Happy Little Trees

Last Wednesday evening, while my class piano students were working on their improvs for the midterm, I suddenly found myself saying, “You don’t need to apologize! Maybe in your world there’s a happy little tree right there.”

The funny thing was that absolutely everybody (from teenagers to 60+) got it. They all knew the late . . . → Read More: Happy Little Trees

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Lately, Some Things Have Made Me Smile

Hearing Emily tell me a passage of fingering in her Chopin Waltz was Stupid, tell me why, and give a crackerjack way to fix it.

Listening to some awesome Beethoven from Andrew who had made a sudden connection to inner voices and what he had been learning in AP class. This was a real breakthrough . . . → Read More: Lately, Some Things Have Made Me Smile

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Potholes: Chronic Key Signature & Accidental Disorders

My Dad taught me to drive. He spent many hours on the road in his job and was a demanding teacher. One day we were practicing on a back road that was full of potholes. I swear there were potholes on top of potholes and, hard as I tried to miss them, I hit every . . . → Read More: Potholes: Chronic Key Signature & Accidental Disorders

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The Sound of One Leaf Falling: Relativity in Music

Over the holidays, my husband and I took a daytrip to Madera Canyon, near Tucson. We had a very warm fall this year and so, at 5000 plus feet, the aspens were just losing the last of their leaves. I was totally re-amazed by the sound of a single leaf falling in the forest. How . . . → Read More: The Sound of One Leaf Falling: Relativity in Music

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