So many piano students would love to be able to just sit down at the piano and play without having to read sheet music. At least, that’s according to pianist/composer Edward Weiss.
Weiss, owner and webmaster of Quiescence Music’s online piano lessons believes anyone can play the piano. And he does it all without note reading.
“Most piano students assume they must learn how to read music before they attempt anything creative. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I encourage students to speak the language of music first through chords before learning how to read it.”
This ‘backwards’ approach isn’t really backwards at all according to this teacher. When asked why he teaches piano this way, Weiss says:
“We learn our native language first by speaking it. This is a normal and natural thing. Why not music? Note reading should be the last thing taught. As students become more and more comfortable with ‘speaking the language’ of music, the need to play what other’s have written and produced decreases.”
• 1979 ~ Paul Dessau, German Composer and conducter, died at the age of 84
• 1980 ~ Joseé Iturbi, Spanish/American pianist, died at the age of 84
• 1980 ~ Yoshiro Irino, Composer, died at the age of 58
• 1981 ~ “Piaf” closed at Plymouth Theater New York City after 165 performances
• 1987 ~ “Dreamgirls” opened at Ambassador Theater New York City for 177 performances
• 1996 ~ Willard F. McMurry, Musician, died at the age of 89
• 1997 ~ “Master Class,” closed at Golden Theater New York City after 601 performances
• 1997 ~ “Steel Peer,” closed at Richard Rodgers Theater New York City after 76 performances
• 2001 ~ Rene Villanueva, a social activist who co-founded a pioneering Mexican folk music group, died at the age of 67. Villanueva was a co-founder of the group Los Folkloristas in 1966 and recorded more than 12 albums with the group, which helped spread and popularize the music of Mexico’s Indian and other traditional cultures. He left the group last year as his illness advanced, but he made a final recording last week with Indian musicians. Born in Oaxaca in 1933, Villanueva earned a degree in chemical engineering as well as studying painting and music. Once a member of the Mexican Communist Party, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Zapatista National Liberation Army in Chiapas and performed in concerts to support the rebel movement.
• 2001 ~ Scott Merrill, a Broadway star who also played Macheath in the 1954 production of “The Threepenny Opera”, died at the age of 82. Merrill received positive reviews for his performance in “The Threepenny Opera” by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, and performed at the Theater de Lys in Greenwich Village. His role as Macheath was his first nondancing part in New York, where he also attracted notice in shows such as “Bloomer Girl,” “Paint Your Wagon” and a revival of “Pal Joey.” His first role in New York was in “Lady in the Dark,” with Danny Kaye, Gertrude Lawrence and Victure Mature. Merrill was born in Baltimore, Md.
• 2002 ~ Author William F. Dufty, who co-wrote Billie Holiday’s autobiography and became Gloria Swanson’s last husband, died from complications from cancer. He was 86. Dufty was a playwright, musician, ghostwriter of about 40 books, head speechwriter to Hubert Humphrey and reporter and editor at the New York Post. Dufty, who became good friends with jazz singer Holiday, helped write her autobiography “Lady Sings the Blues”. In 1975, he also wrote “Sugar Blues”, a popular nutrition book about the dangers of sugar in the diet. He became friends with Yoko Ono and former Beatle John Lennon after translating a Japanese book that launched the macrobiotic food revolution, Georges Ohsawa’s “You Are All Sanpaku”. Dufty married Swanson, a silent screen star, in 1976, and the marriage lasted until her death in 1983.