The Kennedy Center: a beacon for the arts
education, life, music composition, Uncategorized

Echoes of Hamilton

"Hey, it's Lafayette," I said and smiled as if referring to a friendly acquaintance. I recognized his recorded voice at the gift shop at The Kennedy Center last weekend: the opening song of Hamilton was playing in the background. After the music's dramatic buildup and split-second pause, I sang along with the name "Alexander Hamilton"… Continue reading Echoes of Hamilton

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