I spent an hour with 36 measures of music.... I was not practicing, not repeating a measure or a phrase for perfection, not playing through the whole piece for memorization...
When a Bow Was a Blade
...The harpsichord part involved standard classical techniques that any fellow student could play on the piano, but the performance required more than typical practice and rehearsal. The accompanist would need to follow unexpected variances in rhythm created by the non-traditional uses of the viola. Improvisation would accompany the sword fight...
Who Made My Christmas Music Library
She taught me to enjoy the sound of the piano. In my Christmas music, she wrote in embellishments that added chiming high trills, marching middle register fills, and resounding bass tremolos.
A Shift in My Creativity
The book Silence and Beauty is part-memoir and part-exegesis of Endo's novel Silence and the intersections it leads to among Japanese culture, Western culture, Christianity, and art. Last week, I paused after reading this quote to ponder what moment would be Ground Zero for my current music-making. It was...
Stop and Play the Pianos
"When was the last time I visited a piano store? Over 12 years? Almost 15?" I thought as I parked.
Black or African-American Friday
Instead of going to stores on Black Friday, my family and I went to the matinee performance of the new play Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole at People's Light in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
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
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
Encounter at Mt. Gretna
Their careers are paradigms for my pursuits of contemporary and classical music in unexpected places and improvisation at the piano.