sitting in the green room
music composition, piano

Valuing Homemade Music

"It's beautiful," I heard someone whisper as I performed one of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel's songs for piano at The Trust Performing Arts Center. I had thought the same a few weeks earlier when I chose the piece. The opening and closing section features a gradually expanding melody whose phrasing I practice by singing, although high… Continue reading Valuing Homemade Music

music composition, piano

Escaping the Struggle of the Chord Machine

“The piano is not a chord machine,” I have said to myself and my composition students. I have experienced its effectiveness as a chord machine while accompanying art song, hymns, and indie rock, but I have played too much repertoire by Mozart, Chopin, and Debussy to be content with writing repetitive patterns of blocked or… Continue reading Escaping the Struggle of the Chord Machine

education, Uncategorized

Commencing Music Theory with Meaning

In my first class session of first-semester music theory, I ask my students two questions: "Who are you?" and "What is music?" The first question usually takes the form of name, hometown, instrument or voice part, and a favorite of something. I answer with Dr. Krystal J. F. Grant, Birmingham, Alabama, composition and piano, and… Continue reading Commencing Music Theory with Meaning