Thursday, September 22, 2011

Theme from the Eroica Symphony

Enjoy below, a version of the 4th movement of Beethoven's 3rd Symphony; and if you're one of my students in Suzuki Book 3, pay careful attention to the theme as it arrives one minute and fifty seconds into the performance.  What instrument has the theme?  How can you make this as powerful on the piano?

Further questions for the Book 3 student: 
  1. What does Beethoven do to this theme starting at three minutes and 24 seconds into it?  
  2. A counter theme enters at about four minutes.  How does it contrast the original theme that we're so familiar with?  
  3. Would you call what happens around minute six a climax in the piece?  What happens when the theme returns just after that?  
  4. What about the theme at minute 7 and 45 seconds?  What kind of Classical style treatment or form are you familiar with that you can detect Beethoven using in this movement?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What is the best thing about being a pianist?

I asked this question of all of my students recently on an online poll.  At the end of the day 7% of my students said it was looking cool, 14% said learning something new every day, 38% said the best thing was being able to do something other people can't do, and 50% said that making beautiful music was the best thing about being a pianist.

Have you thought about why you are a pianist?  Are the reasons still the same as they were when you first started taking piano lessons?   Is it ever a combination of all of those answers?

Some pianists play to entertain others; some to entertain themselves.  Some like to share the music they produce and some want to be left alone with it.  For some, working through something new at the piano makes them feel really smart and for others, it is all about the finished product. 

I admit that the best thing about playing the piano changes all the time for me.  Whether I'm a teacher or an entertainer or a philosopher or a therapist; whether I have a musically educated audience, an undiscerning and eager audience or whether I'm playing just for myself - I'm always getting these things out of it.  I'm always feeling great about improving every day; I'm always proud of what I've accomplished and I almost always get to make beautiful music.

Happy Practicing!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Repertoire-Learning Contest Results!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the repertoire contest this summer.  Wow!  Everyone played wonderfully and it was a close call!

But I'm happy to announce the two winners, who will get their prizes in the next couple of weeks.

In first place, with her poised performance and great use of the technique she learned this year is Pauline, playing Jazzy Joe:

In second place, with her enthusiasm and musicality, is Mary playing Carnival:

Congratulations to ALL the participants.  I'm really pleased with your performances and can't wait to work with you further this year!