Duet Artist Piano Bench

bench-duet

 

I am considering getting this split bench for the O’Connor Music Studio since we play lots of duets here.

The current bench that came with the piano is one of those that opens up and has some storage but is not adjustable at all.  This creates a problem for some of the older students and we have to move the music rack quite far forward so they can see properly.  An adjustable bench would help them, too.

There may be a quiz on this option at your next lesson – give it some thought!

March 31 ~ Today in Music History

today

 

. 1732 ~ Franz Joseph Haydn, Austrian composer Listen to Haydn’s music
More information about Haydn

. 1872 ~ Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev.  He was a Russian art critic, patron, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes.

. 1901 ~ John Stainer died.  He was an English composer and organist whose music, though not generally much performed today, was very popular during his lifetime.

. 1928 ~ Lefty (William Orville) Frizzell, Country Music Hall of Famer

. 1934 ~ Shirley Jones, Singer, actress

. 1935 ~ Herb Alpert, American trumpeter, bandleader (Tijuana Brass), composer, record company executive: the “A” of A&M Records

. 1937 ~ Phil Harris recorded one of his best-known songs in Los Angeles, CA. That’s What I Like About the South was recorded on a 78 RPM disk. Harris would move to TV stardom and continue as a popular vocalist during the 1950s with such hit songs asThe Thing.

. 1943 ~ The show, Away We Go, was renamed. The show opened at the St. James Theatre in New York City and, thanks to the talents of stars like Alfred Drake, Joan Roberts and Howard DeSilva, it became an instant hit. The show ran for 2,248 performances, until 1948. The musical, which has grossed millions of dollars on stage and as a blockbuster movie was initially produced for the sum of $75,000. It is still legendary among musical productions – especially after it was retitled Oklahoma!

. 1944 ~ Rod Allen (Rodney Bainbridge), Bass, singer with The Fortunes

. 1944 ~ Mick Ralphs, Guitarist

. 1945 ~ Al Nichol, Guitarist, keyboards with The Turtles

. 1953 ~ Sean Hopper, Keyboards with Clover and Huey Lewis and The News

. 1959 ~ Angus Young, Guitarist with AC/DC

. 1967 ~ Jimi Hendrix burned his guitar for the first time in a public performance at Finsbury Park in London.

. 1985 ~ Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, long a favorite of country music stars, closed its doors in Nashville, TN.

Watch: Mystery piano at Topanga Lookout – UPI.com

piano-santa-monica

 

A musical mystery is unfolding in California’s Santa Monica Mountains as a piano appeared without explanation at a lookout point 2 miles from the nearest road.

Hikers and news helicopters captured images and video Thursday showing the piano, estimated to weigh at least 300 to 400 pounds, that was apparently placed late Wednesday or early Thursday at the Topanga Lookout, which is accessible by a 2-mile hike from the nearest road.

The piano was placed on the site of an old fire tower, which famously also once hosted a couch of similarly mysterious origins.

via Watch: Mystery piano at Topanga Lookout – UPI.com.

March 30 ~ Today in Music History

today

 

 

. 1674 ~ Pietro Antonio Locatelli died.  He was an Italian Baroque composer and violinist.

. 1872 ~ Sergei Vasilenko, Russian composer

. 1900 ~ Ted (Edward) Heath, Musician, trombonist, bandleader: played big band concerts every Sunday at the Palladium in the 1940s and 1950s

. 1913 ~ Frankie Laine (Frank Paul LoVecchio), Singer

. 1923 ~ The Audubon Ballroom in New York City was the scene of the first dance marathon. Alma Cummings danced the fox trot, one-step and waltz with half a dozen partners.

. 1932 ~ Leonard Bernstein  participated in his first piano recital at New England Conservatory, performing Brahm’s Rhapsody in G Minor.  He was 13.

. 1935 ~ Gordon Mumma, American composer of experimental music

. 1941 ~ Graeme Edge, Drumer with The Moody Blues

. 1942 ~ Bobby Wright, Country artist, actor, son of Johnny Wright of Johnnie and Jack country duo

. 1945 ~ Eric Clapton, British rock rock guitarist with the Yardbirds; song writer, Grammy Award-winning singer: Bad Love in 1990

. 1959 ~ Sabine Meyer, German clarinetist

. 1963 ~ The Chiffons began a four-week stay at the top of the pop music charts as their hit single, He’s So Fine, became number one. The song stayed at the top of the top tune tabulation until Little Peggy March came along with I Will Follow Him on April 27th.

. 1964 ~ Tracy Chapman, Grammy Award-winning folk singer-songwriter

. 1968 ~ Celine Dion, Singer

. 1970 ~ Lauren Bacall starred in Applause which opened on Broadway. The show became one of the hardest tickets to get on the Great White Way. Critics called Bacall “a sensation.” The play, at the Palace Theatre, was an adaptation of the film, All About Eve. It continued for 896 performances. A London version of the show, also starring Bacall, opened in 1972.

. 1971 ~ The Bee Gees received a gold record for the single, Lonely Days. When playing it, they heard the song at a faster speed and said, “Hey, this sounds like disco!” and the rest was Saturday Night Fever music history…

. 1974 ~ John Denver reached the top spot on the music charts with his hit, Sunshine on My Shoulders. It was the singer’s first number one song. Three other singles by Denver reached the top of the music world: Annie’s Song, Thank God I’m a Country Boy and I’m Sorry. Take Me Home Country Roads made it to the number two position, while Rocky Mountain High just cracked the Top 10 at number 9. Denver wrote Leaving on a Jet Plane for Peter, Paul and Mary and won an Emmy for the TV special, An Evening With John Denver.

Practising Backwards

Found on Pinterest

Found on Pinterest

 

 

So often transfer students will come to me and play a piece they’ve been working on.  When they make a mistake, they’ll stop and start the piece all over again instead of correcting the mistake on the spot and moving on.

If they do this at home in practice, they’ll have played the beginning part many times more than the ending – or they may have never gotten to the ending at all!

The infographic above shows a way to get around this problem.  It’s also great for memorizing pieces during recital preparation.

Similar to this are some pieces in the early pages of beginning method books.  Lines 1, 2 and 4 will be identical with only line 3 being changed.

If a student plays this over and over all the way through, he’s learned line 1 three times better than line 3.  I always suggest practicing line 3 by itself several times to help counter this problem.

 

 

March 29 ~ Today in Music History

today

 

. 1788 ~ Charles Wesley, writer of over 5,500 hymns and, with his brother John, the founder of Methodism, died.

. 1871 ~ The Royal Albert Hall in London opened

. 1878 ~ Albert Von Tilzer, Composer.  He was the composer of “Take Me out to the Ball Game” among other old favorites.
More information about Von Tilzer

. 1879 ~ “Eugene Onegin”, best-known opera by Russian composer Tchaikovsky, was first performed at the Maliy Theatre in Moscow

. 1888 ~ Charles-Valentin Alkan died.  He was a French composer and pianist.

. 1902 ~ Sir William Walton, British composer
More information about Walton

. 1906 ~ E. Power Biggs, English Organist

. 1918 ~ Pearl Mae Bailey, American jazz singer, lead in black cast of Hello Dolly

. 1936 ~ Richard Rodney Bennett, British composer

. 1947 ~ Bobby Kimball (Toteaux), Singer with Toto

. 1949 ~ Michael Brecker, Jazz musician, reeds with The Brecker Brothers

. 1951 ~ The King and I, the wonderful Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on Margaret Langdon’s novel, Anna and the King of Siam, opened this night in 1951 on Broadway. The King and I starred Yul Brynner in the role of the King of Siam. The king who, along with his subjects, valued tradition above all else. From this day forward, the role of the King of Siam belonged to Yul Brynner and no other. Brynner appeared in this part in more than 4,000 performances on both stage and screen (the Broadway show was adapted for Hollywood in 1956). Anna, the English governess hired to teach the King’s dozens of children, was portrayed by Gertrude Lawrence. Ms. Lawrence and Mr. Brynner acted, danced and sang their way into our hearts with such memorable tunes as Getting to Know You, Shall We Dance, Hello, Young Lovers, I Whistle a Happy Tune, We Kiss in a Shadow, I Have Dreamed, Something WonderfulA Puzzlement and March of the Siamese Children. The King and I ran for a total of 1,246 outstanding performances at New York’s St. James Theatre.

. 1952 ~ Roy Henderson’s last singing performance was on this date in the role of Christus in Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” at Southwark Cathedral, the Anglican cathedral on the south bank of the Thames in London.

. 1958 ~ W.C. (William Christopher) Handy, Composer passed away
More information about Handy

. 1963 ~ M.C. Hammer (Stanley Kirk Burrell), Grammy Award-winning singer

. 1973 ~ Hommy, the Puerto Rican version of the rock opera Tommy, opened in New York City. The production was staged at Carnegie Hall.

. 1973 ~ After recording On the Cover of ‘Rolling Stone’, Dr. Hook finally got a group shot on the cover of Jann Wenner’s popular rock magazine. Inside, a Rolling Stone writer confirmed that members of the group (Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show) bought five copies of the magazine for their moms – just like in the song’s lyrics!

. 1980 ~ Annunzio Paolo Mantovani, Anglo-Italian conductor and arranger, died. Created the “Mantovani sound” that made him a highly successful recording artist and concert attraction.

. 1982 ~ Carl Orff, German composer of “Carmina Burana,” died.

. 1982 ~ Ray Bloch passed away

. 1999 ~ Legendary U.S. jazz and blues singer Joe Williams died aged 80.

. 2001 ~ John Lewis, a pianist who masterminded one of the most famous ensembles in jazz, the Modern Jazz Quartet, died at the age of 80. The M.J.Q., as the quartet was known, remained mostly unchanged from the mid-1950’s to the 90’s. It began recording in 1952 with Lewis, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Kenny Clarke. When Clarke moved to Paris in 1955, Connie Kay replaced him and the quartet continued until Kay’s death in 1994. Lewis contributed the bulk of the group’s compositions and arrangements, including Django and Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West, and he insisted members wear tuxedos to dignify jazz as an art. He was born in LaGrange, Ill., in 1920, and grew up in Albuquerque, N.M. His entree to the jazz world came during World War II, when he met Kenny Clarke, an established drummer in the nascent bebop movement. At Clarke’s urging, Lewis moved to New York after his discharge and eventually replaced Thelonious Monk as Dizzy Gillespie’s pianist. He also performed or recorded with Charlie ParkerLester Young and Ella Fitzgerald. In 1952 he formed the M.J.Q. with Clarke, Jackson and Heath. The quartet was a steady seller of records and concert tickets well into the 1970’s. Lewis also taught music at Harvard and the City College of New York, and in the late 1950’s helped found the Lenox School of Jazz in Massachusetts.

Piano Ornaments ~ Trills

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WRONG – this post, and others in this category, isn’t about ornaments at Christmas but about those funny looking marks over your music and how to play them.

The trill (or shake, as it was known from the 16th until the 19th century) is a musical ornament consisting of a rapid alternation between two adjacent notes, usually a semitone or tone apart, which can be identified with the context of the trill.

A trill provides rhythmic interest, melodic interest, and harmonic interest. Sometimes it is expected that the trill will end with a turn or some other variation. Such variations are often marked in the music.

A trill in your music can look like this trill

Or like this tr~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Trills can be played differently, depending on the period in which the composer was living so it is important to know the time period of your piece.

Baroque trills (aka shakes in this time period) have several ways to be played as shown in this chart:

A table depicting how to perform different types of trills when playing music from the Baroque period (1600-1750).[4] Note the similarity between the symbol for trill and that of the mordent.

A table depicting how to perform different types of trills (or shakes) when playing music from the Baroque period (1600-1750). 

The Baroque trill continuing through Mozart’s time usually begins on the note above the main note.

In music after the time of Mozart, the trill usually begins on the principal note.

Often, your music will have suggestions about how they should be played written above the music.  If not, ASK!

A really good book which explains about the trill and other ornaments is this one, available as a reference book in the O’Connor Music Studio:

ornamentation

 

 

Some trill exercises:

Questions?  Write them down and don’t forget to ask at your next lesson!