Halloween Piano Party 2022

Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2022-10-25
Last Updated on 2022-11-01 | Originally Posted on 2022-10-25

Introduction

This past Saturday, October 22nd, we had our fourth annual Halloween Piano Party. The event debuted in 2018, but we skipped it entirely in 2020 due to Covid-19 concerns. Each year I try to do something a little different and learn along the way what worked and what didn’t! The participants had a good time, including the chance to play a piece or two in a low-stress environment.

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Tough Social Media Decisions for 2022

Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2022-01-01

Introduction

On the last day of 2021, I had the time to take a look at what went wrong with my social media strategy. I’m all for being active on social media, but I need to find out how to be more efficient or I’ll just abandon it for weeks at a time. What I discovered is that I wasn’t delineating between the two separate things I do, teaching and performing. Each needs to have its own strategy, and from there I need to develop easier tactics to manage content for each audience.

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Good Enough

Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2021-11-22

Introduction

“Never good enough” was the original title I proposed for this post. That along with “How to discourage and demoralize a piano student” as the short description. I hope it’s obvious I don’t endorse any of this “never good enough” stuff. However, I experienced it first hand during my first two years of piano study at music school. I noticed a lot of this, across many students and teachers, during the six years I spent earning my BFA and MM degrees.

I realize that I had a lot to learn and that constructive criticism is key to learning how to make a piece better. However, spending an inordinate amount of time on a piece and picking it to death is not the road to success.

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Lessons from My Website Hacking

Last Updated on 2022-11-08 | Originally Posted on 2021-11-21

Introduction

I found my Website hacked on November 11, 2021, and spent half the night trying to recover it. I found this out by accident while I was doing some other maintenance. Before explaining more, here’s my setup: This WordPress instance is pre-loaded using what’s called WP Hosting. That means that I don’t have cPanel for this instance, which turned out to be a minor detail in how I proceeded. (I do use cPanel on a separate server that I use strictly for testing.)

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Halloween Piano Party 2021

Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2021-10-29

Introduction

This past Saturday, October 23rd, we had our third annual Halloween Piano Party. The event made its debut in 2018 but skipped last year due to the pandemic. I decided to do things a little bit differently this year. Instead of doing one event for all, I set up four rolling start times each half-hour so that people wouldn’t have to stay for the entire event. It enabled folks to rotate people in and out of the room so that we had adequate social distance. We all wore masks (the Covid-19 type) except during photos and playing.

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What A Lesson Looks Like

Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2021-10-08

Introduction

Many prospective piano parents ask me how I teach. I prefer to answer with what a lesson looks like since that removes a lot of the variables that go into this very loaded question. Just to simplify this a bit, I’m going to describe here what a lesson looks like for a beginner. I teach intermediate and advanced students as well, but they tend to be much more customized since they involve older students.

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Playing Guilmant

Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2020-12-22

Introduction

Playing Guilmant is something any serious organist will have to and want to do at some point. Félix-Alexandre Guilmant (1837-1911) was an iconic composer in the romantic style for the organ. As a composer, he almost exclusively wrote for organ solo or for choir and organ.

He wrote some larger scale works, like his 8 sonatas, but he’s mostly known for the massive amount of short pieces he composed. They can be used for prelude, postlude, and everything in between! Many of these are part of the 18 books of Pieces in Different Styles, Pièces dans différents styles pour orgue. I play many of these pieces, but the following ones are special to me.

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Chopin Scherzi on YouTube

Last Updated on 2022-11-28 | Originally Posted on 2020-09-07

Introduction

Perhaps you have already listened to my recent performance of the complete Chopin Scherzi on the Weekly Acorn. Despite its billing, that was not a bite-sized concert. The good news is that the Chopin Scherzi on YouTube below are listed separately at plus or minus 10 minutes each. I think they are great inspiration for Music Monday!

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Long Road to Chopin Scherzi

Last Updated on 2022-11-28 | Originally Posted on 2020-09-04

It began as a teenager…

The four Chopin Scherzi have always had a special place in my heart. I was looking for a flashy piece to play for a local scholarship competition when I was a senior in high school. My teacher Susan Starr suggested that I learn the first scherzo, though it would be a tough go to learn in just three weeks, with at most two lessons beforehand. It was tough to learn, and I didn’t learn it well enough to place in the competition. I did end up playing for one of the winners, though, as a collaborative pianist!

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Playing Dupré

Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2020-07-27

Introduction

Playing Dupré is quite difficult. He had the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth from birth, at least in a musical sense. His father Albert was an organist in Rouen and good friends with iconic organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. The latter built a house organ for the Dupré family when Marcel was 14. He certainly must have used it, since by the time he was 18 he was studying at the Conservatoire de Paris with three organists/composers of historical importance: Alexandre Guilmant, Louis Vierne, and Charles-Marie Widor. Any musician would be lucky to study with just one of these gods.

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