Monday, September 22, 2008

Pilot Lights, Devils and Piano parts

Here are a few old ideas that have been waiting patiently for me to get around to them:

The Pilot Light

Practice soft playing. I mean, really soft playing. Challenge yourself to play at that uncomfortable dynamic where some notes might not speak.

For some reason, this reminds of me of a pilot light on a gas burner. Either the image works for you or it doesn't.

An Idle Brain is the Devil's Playground

Ah, those long notes. Ya best be subdividin' matey. (actually National Talk Like a Pirate Day was last week).
In case this analogy isn't obvious: people tend to turn off their brains during long notes. Fill your head with something useful.

Like subdivisions, perhaps.

Piano reductions of.....Piano Parts?

For all of you poor souls who wanted to perform the Hindemith Sonata but only had one pianist in the school even willing to consider playing it (and he/she is booked). Or the Casterede Sonatine, or the Sulek Sonata "Vox Gabrieli," or....

What if publishers came out with simplified piano parts for some of these pieces?

Crazy idea? Stupid? Impure?


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"YouTubin" for Tone

OK, I had a "first" today: YouTube as a teaching tool.

I quickly linked to YouTube to help make a point about a relaxed, beautiful low range.

What songs did I search?
Ol' Man River and
I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas.

Enjoy (and think about resonance!)

Paul Robeson

Bing Crosby

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Matt Niess on Guitar Hero

Thanks again to Andrew Reich for this one. Someone programmed a Matt Niess solo into Guitar Hero.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

No "waiting rooms", please

Here's a problem I see a lot.

Players sit on the longer notes of of phrase and don't do anything with them musically. It's almost as it they are treating the note as a musical "waiting room" in which they must sit until they can get moving again.

Hey, those notes are a chance for you to show off that beautiful sound! Do something with them!!

My favorite waiting room movie scene? Beetlejuice...