Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentines-Day

valentine-stomp

Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller (May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943) was an influential American jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer, whose innovations to the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano.  He wrote the Valentine Stomp above in 1929.

MaryOOneRose

Piano Lessons are Not Just for Kids

 

 

When Paula Fay started taking piano lessons for the first time in her late fifties, it fulfilled a lifelong dream.

“I always wanted to learn how to play as a child, but my parents couldn’t afford it,” she said.

 

Today, four years later, Paula can play some of her favorite tunes. And she’s loving every minute of it.

 

Some adults may groan at childhood memories of lesson after lesson, practice after practice and a lot of teacher nagging, but many wish those days were back.

 

And more and more, these adults are turning wishful thinking into reality. According to the National Piano Foundation, adults ages 25-55 are the fastest-growing segment of people learning piano.

 

When Ruth Ann Laye started teaching an adult piano class at Mandarin’s Keyboard Connection, there was only one weekday class. Now, she’s up to seven classes. And of her own private practice of 28, 11 are adults.

 

One of her students is Belinda May from St. Augustine, who is in her 60s and in her second year of piano lessons.

Though her brothers played piano, she was more athletically inclined than musical. Then after years of “picking” at the pianos in her house, she recently resolved to start taking lessons. A beginner when she started, “now I’m playing Christmas carols,” she said.

“It tells me that you’re never too old to learn something new.”

 

Maureen Rhodes, a piano teacher on the Southside, would likely agree. She has more adults in her practice than she did 20 years ago.

“I think baby boomers are looking for ways to stay active,” she said. “Sometimes, kids come to me for lessons and then when they grow up and leave, their mother starts to take lessons,” says Rhodes. “Other adults have a specific goal in mind, like they want to play in church or accompany their grandson.”

 

Sandra Stewart, outgoing president of the Jacksonville Music Teachers Association and adjunct professor teaching a non-degree adult piano course at Florida State College, believes technology is a big part of the reason for the greater interest in piano among adults.

“Keyboards are more affordable, and that’s made all the difference,” she says.

 

But the piano is not always a succession of high notes for the adult student. Says Stewart: “Adults can have problems with finger dexterity. If they never played before, this can be frustrating. People who use computer a lot have an advantage. But if they don’t have this experience, they have to get over that hurdle.”

And some adults expect to transform into Mozart overnight.

 

“They may be symphony patrons or just love classical music and want to play instantly and do it like the pros,” Rhodes says. “But they have to develop the skills first, and it takes a lot of patience.”

 

But for adults committed to learning, it can be very satisfying for student and teacher alike.

“Adults are there for their own pleasure,” said Marc Hebda, president of the Florida State Music Teachers Association. “They have wonderful enthusiasm; it’s fun to see them get excited. It’s also interesting that with the economic downturn, they are not cutting back on lessons or buying instruments. Piano is a constant source of entertainment and personal development.”

 

The key to any student learning well, whether that student is an adult or child, is finding the right teacher. Hebda stresses the importance of taking lessons from a teacher with a music degree.

“Some people who took piano figure it’s easy to teach. But credentials are very important. You wouldn’t go to a doctor without certification or a lawyer who didn’t pass the bar. All our teachers have a music degree or demonstrate teaching ability.”

Hebda also notes that rapport between teacher and student is important.

“The student should interview the teacher, because not all students and teachers are a good match.”

 

For those who want to fast-track the learning process, there are alternatives. “The Piano Guy,” Scott Houston, has been teaching piano using a non-traditional method through his shows on public station WJCT.

“It seemed like there was a single path to the world of piano: this long process of taking lessons,” he said. “But people want to play the tunes they know.”

 

So Houston came up with a simple way for adults to learn quickly, based on the concept behind “lead sheets,” which are used by professional musicians. Houston’s technique is to teach adults a single line of notes on the treble clef with their right hand and chords with their left.

 

“My goal is not to teach adults to be the greatest players but to be able to play the tunes they want to play,” Houston says.

His approach has clearly struck a chord, as his book has sold 300,000 copies and he has taught many adults through his workshops in Indiana and master class “piano camp” from his beach home in Fort Myers.

 

There’s also a new trend gaining traction called “recreational music making” — RMM — which like Houston’s approach focuses on a simplified method to teaching music. The goal is not for a student to become accomplished at the piano and perform, but rather to just have fun making music. It is often taught to adults in group settings, such as music stores, churches and senior centers.

 

“Research has found that RMM is very helpful for seniors, promotes hand/eye coordination and keeps the brain working,” said Erin Bennett, assistant professor of piano and pedagogy at the University of North Florida. “Its asset is the ability to reach more people; it’s more inclusive and easier for the non-experienced.”

 

Whether learning piano through traditional or nontraditional means, its many benefits include boosting self-confidence.

“When I first started, I didn’t think I could do it,” Fay said. “And my friends and family were in disbelief that I was taking lessons. Then they wanted to hear a concert. In another year, I might just do it.”

 

She gets some measure of satisfaction in surprising those around her.

“Society puts restrictions on us as we get older that we stop learning,” she says. “But we are wiser, more patience and accept our limitations.”

 

Read more at Jacksonville.com: http://jacksonville.com/entertainment/music/2011-10-27/story/piano-lessons-not-just-kids#ixzz1l14hSFaV

February 13 in Music History

today

 

. 1660 ~ Johann Sigismund Kusser (or Cousser),  composer of Hungarian parentage active in Germany, France, and Ireland

. 1778 ~ Fernando Sor, Guitar composer
More information about Sor

. 1867 ~ Johann Strauss’ magnificent Blue Danube Waltz was played for the first time at a public concert in Vienna, Austria.

. 1870 ~ Leopold Godowsky, Polish American pianist, composer, and teacher

. 1873 ~ Feodor Chaliapin, Russian Bass

. 1883 ~ (Wilhelm) Richard Wagner passed away
More information about Wagner

. 1895 ~ France, There’s no business like show business, right? Well, this is where it all started. A patent for a machine “to film and view phronopotographic proofs” (in simpler words, a projector) was assigned to the Lumiere brothers of Paris.

. 1904 ~ Wingy (Joseph Matthews) Manone, Trumpeter, singer, bandleader

. 1914 ~ The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (known as ASCAP) was formed in New York City. The society was founded to protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members.

. 1918 ~ Oliver Smith, Scenic designer for Broadway Musicals such as On the Town, Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, Camelot, The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly! and films Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma!, Porgy and Bess, The Band Wagon

. 1919 ~ “Tennessee” Ernie Ford, American country-music singer and songwriter

. 1920 ~ Eileen Farrell, American soprano, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Metropolitan Opera. Also successful in singing and recording popular music and jazz

. 1940 ~ Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines and his orchestra recorded the classic Boogie Woogie on St. Louis Blues on the famous Bluebird record label.

. 1925 ~ Gene Ames, Singer with The Ames Brothers

. 1929 ~ Jesse McReynolds, Guitarist, folk singer with Jim & Jesse

. 1930 ~ Dotty McGuire, Singer with McGuire Sisters

. 1944 ~ Peter Tork (Peter Halsten Thorkelson), Bassist, singer with The Monkees

. 1950 ~ Roger Christian, Singer with The Christians

. 1956 ~ Peter Hook. Bass with Joy Division

. 1957 ~ Tony Butler, Bass with Big Country

. 1971 ~ The Osmonds, a family singing group from Ogden, Utah, began a five-week stay at the top of the pop music charts with the hit, “One Bad Apple”. The song, featuring the voice of little Donny Osmond, also showcased the talent of Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay Osmond. The brothers were regulars on Andy Williams’ TV show from 1962 to 1967. The group began as a religious and barbershop quartet in 1959. Together, the Osmonds scored with 10 singles in four years — four of them were top ten hits.

. 1976 ~ Lily (Alice) Pons passed away

. 1990 ~ Musical highlight of glasnost when cellist/conductor Mstislav Rostropovich returned to Russia after a 16 year absence. Russian listeners cheered wildly when he played American favorite march, “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Phillip Sousa

. 2001 ~ Music critic George T. Simon, the original Glenn Miller Band drummer who swapped his sticks for a pen and eventually earned a Grammy for his acclaimed liner notes, died of pneumonia following a battle with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 88. In 1937 Simon sat in with the fledgling Glenn Miller Band. But he opted for writing over drumming, and became editor-in-chief of Metronome magazine in 1939. As a writer, Simon worked for the New York Post and the now-defunct New York Herald-Tribune. He also served as executive director of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Grammy Awards. In 1977, Simon won his Grammy Award for best album notes – his contribution to the collection “Bing Crosby: A Legendary Performer.” Simon was hand-picked by Crosby to write the liner notes for the release.

. 2002 ~ Waylon Jennings, whose rebellious songs and brash attitude defined the outlaw movement in country music, died peacefully at his Arizona home after a long battle with diabetes-related health problems. He was 64. Jennings’ list of hits spans four decades and includes country music standards like Good-Hearted Woman andMammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys, both duets with Willie Nelson. Jennings made 60 albums and had 16 country singles that reached No. 1. His “Greatest Hits” album in 1979 sold 4 million – a rare accomplishment in country music for that era. Jennings won two Grammy awards and four Country Music Association awards. Other hits include I’m a Ramblin’ Man, Amanda, Lucille, I’ve Always Been Crazy, and Rose in Paradise. Jennings’ deep, sonorous voice narrated the popular TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard” and sang its theme song, which was a million seller. Jennings had been plagued with health problems in recent years that made it difficult for him to walk. In December 2002, his left foot was amputated. He traditionally wore a black cowboy hat and ebony attire that accented his black beard and mustache. Often reclusive when not on stage, he played earthy music with a spirited, hard edge. Some of Jennings’ album titles nourished his brash persona: “Lonesome, On’ry and Mean,” “I’ve Always Been Crazy,” “Nashville Rebel,” “Ladies Love Outlaws” and “Wanted: The Outlaws.” He often refused to attend music awards shows on the grounds that performers shouldn’t compete against each other. He didn’t show up at his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame last year. He made occasional forays into TV movies, including “Stagecoach” and “Oklahoma City Dolls,” plus the Sesame Street movie “Follow That Bird” and the B-movie “Nashville Rebel.”

. 2015 ~ John McCabe died.  He was an English composer and pianist.  He was a prolific composer from an early age but first became known as a pianist. He created works in many different forms, including symphonies, ballets, and solo works for the piano.

February 12 in Music History

today

. 1728 ~ Mysterious priest-composer Agostino Steffani died.

. 1760 ~ Jan Ladislav Dussek, Czech composer and pianist.  Along with his friend, famed piano maker John Broadwood, Dussek made important design improvements to the piano, allowing for the more dynamic style of playing that his highly original compositions required. Beethoven himself later used a Broadwood piano with Dussek’s innovations. This helped pave the way for Romanticism and Dussek’s influence on Beethoven’s piano writing has been well documented.

Dussek’s Piano Sonata Op. 77 in F minor (“L’invocation”), from 1812, is the last work he ever composed, and he saved the best for last. This is a neglected masterpiece that foreshadows Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Brahms.

. 1881 ~ Anna (Pavlovna) Pavlova, Russia’s premier ballerina

. 1894 ~ Hans von Bülow, German pianist and composer died (b. 1830)
More about von Bulow

. 1898 ~ Roy Harris, American composer

. 1904 ~ Ted Mack (William Maguiness), TV host of The Original Amateur Hour, The Ted Mack Family Hour

. 1914 ~ (Gordon) Tex Beneke, Bandleader, singer, tenor sax in the Glenn Miller Orchestra

, 1915 ~ Charles Emile Waldteufel, composer, died at the age of 77

. 1918 ~ All theatres in New York City were shut down in an effort to conserve coal.

. 1923 ~ Mel Powell, American jazz pianist and composer. One of his works is Mission to Moscow for Benny Goodman. He was also Dean of Music at California Institute of Arts.

. 1923 ~ Franco Zeffirelli, Italian director and producer of opera, theatre, film and television

. 1924 ~ Bandleader Paul Whiteman presented his unique symphonic jazz at the Aeolian Hall in New York City. The concert marked the first public performance of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The composer, himself, was at the piano this night. Distinguished guests included John Philip Sousa and Jascha Heifetz.

. 1935 ~ Gene McDaniels (Eugene Booker McDaniels), Singer

. 1939 ~ Ray Manzarek, Keyboards with The Doors

. 1942 ~ Mildred Bailey recorded More Than You Know on Decca Records.

. 1948 ~ Joe Schermie, Bass with Three Dog Night

. 1949 ~ “Annie Get Your Gun” closed at the Imperial Theater in New York City after 1147 performances

 

. 1964 ~ The Beatles played two concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City, concluding a very successful American tour.

. 1968 ~ Singer and famed guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, received an honorary high school diploma from Garfield High School in Seattle, WA, where he had dropped out at the age of 14.

. 1972 ~ Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together knocked American Pie out of the top spot on the music charts. The record stayed at the top for one week, before giving way to Nilsson’s Without You. Green returned to his gospel roots in 1980 and is a minister in Memphis, TN. Green recorded 14 hit songs with six of them making it to the Top 10.

. 1976 ~ Sal Mineo, singer, died

. 1983 ~ Eubie Blake, US ragtime-composer/pianist (Memories of You), died at the age of 96

Exercises – Scales and Arpeggios

scales

PDF Article on Scales and Arpeggios

In music, a scale is any set of musical notes ordered by fundamental frequency or pitch.

An arpeggio (it. /arˈpeddʒo/) is a musical technique where notes in a chord are played or sung in sequence, one after the other, rather than being played together like a chord. This word comes from the Italian word “arpeggiare”, which means “to play on a harp”. An alternative translation of this term is “broken chord”.

Make any scale or chord here

 

February 11 in Music History

today

. 1830 ~ Peter Arnold Heise, Danish composer

. 1830 ~ Hans Bronsart Von Schellendorf, classical musician, pianist and composer who studied under Franz Liszt

. 1889 ~ John Mills, Guitarist, singer, bass with The Mills Brothers. He was father of the four Mills brothers and took youngest son John, Jr.’s place after his death in 1935

. 1908 ~ Josh White, ‘The Singing Christian’, blues/folk singer, guitarist

. 1912 ~ Rudolf Firkušný, Czech composer, classical pianist

. 1914 ~ Matt Dennis, Pianist, singer, recorded vocals for Paul Whiteman

. 1916 ~ The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra presented its first concert. The symphony was the first by a municipal orchestra to be supported by taxes.

. 1941 ~ Sergio Mendes, Brazilian jazz pianist and composer

. 1935 ~ Gene Vincent (Craddock), Singer, actor

. 1938 ~ Larry Clinton and his orchestra recorded Martha on Victor Records. Bea Wain was heard warbling the vocals on the tune.

. 1938 ~ Bobby”Boris” Pickett, American singer-songwriter (Monster Mash), born in Somerville, Massachusetts (d. April 25, 2007)

. 1939 ~ Gerry Goffin, Lyricist with Carole King and with Michael Masser

. 1940 ~ NBC radio presented “The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street” for the first time. The famous Blue network series included several distinguished alumni — among them, Dinah Shore and Zero Mostel. The chairman, or host, of “The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street” was Milton Cross. He would say things like, “A Bostonian looks like he’s smelling something. A New Yorker looks like he’s found it.” The show combined satire, blues and jazz and was built around what were called the three Bs of music: Barrelhouse, Boogie Woogie and Blues.

. 1968 ~ The new 20,000 seat Madison Square Garden officially opened in New York. It was the fourth arena to be named Madison Square Garden. The showplace for entertainment and sports opened with a gala show hosted by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.

. 1973 ~ Ethan Iverson, US pianist, composer, and critic, born in Menomonie, Wisconsin

. 1982 ~ Eleanor Powell, American actress and tap dancer (Born to Dance), died of cancer at the age of 69

. 1985 ~ Ulysses Simpson Kay, composer, died at the age of 68

. 2001 ~ Dame Sonia Arova, a Bulgarian-born ballerina who danced with Rudolf Nureyev, at his request, in his American debut, died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 74. Arova was knighted by King Olaf V of Norway, only the second woman to receive that distinction. During her years as founding artistic director of the State of Alabama Ballet, Dame Sonia Arova changed the face of dance in Birmingham. Through a stage career that lasted three decades and a teaching career that occupied three more, she lived and breathed ballet. Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Arova began dancing at age 6. By 8, she was studying ballet intensively in Paris. When war broke out in 1940, she escaped the Nazis’ advance with her English piano teacher in a harrowing flight during which their train was machine-gunned by German troops. Arriving in England, Arova was enrolled in an arts school and later joined the International Ballet. In 1965, Arova became artistic director of the Norwegian National Ballet, moved to California in 1971 to co-direct the San Diego Ballet and in 1975 accepted a teaching position at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Maintaining her position at ASFA, she took over the newly formed State of Alabama Ballet in 1981 as artistic director, with her husband, Thor Sutowski, as artistic associate and choreographer. In 1996, the couple returned to San Diego, and she spent her last years with the San Diego Ballet.

. 2003 ~ Moses G. Hogan, 45, a pianist and choral conductor known for his contemporary arrangements of spirituals, died of a brain tumor in New Orleans. He was editor of the Oxford Book of Spirituals, published in 2001 by Oxford University Press. The book has become the U.S. music division’s top seller. Mr. Hogan also toured with his own singing groups, the Moses Hogan Chorale and Moses Hogan Singers. His arrangements, more than 70 of which have been published by the Hal Leonard publishing company, were performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, soprano Barbara Hendricks and countertenor Derek Lee Ragin.

. 2003 ~ William L. “Weemo” Wubbena Jr., 72, a retired Army colonel who sang in Washington area barbershop quartets, died of cancer. Col. Wubbena was born in Marquette, Mich., and raised in Washington. He was a member of the Montgomery County chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America.

February 10 in Music History

today

. 1735 ~ Johann Christoph Kuhnau, composer

. 1914 ~ Larry Adler, Composer of movie scores such as A Cry from the Streets, Genevieve, Great Chase
More about Adler

. 1927 ~ Leontyne Price, American soprano, Metropolitan Opera
More information about Price

. 1929 ~ Jerry Goldsmith, pianist and composer (Twilight Zone)

. 1933 ~ The singing telegram was introduced by the Postal Telegraph Company of New York City.

. 1940 ~ Roberta Flack, American pop-soul singer

. 1944 ~ Peter Allen, Australian pop singer, songwriter and pianist

. 1942 ~ Ted Fio Rito’s orchestra recorded Rio Rita for Decca Records in Los Angeles. Bob Carroll sang on the disc that became the group’s theme song.

. 1946 ~ Donovan (Leitch), Singer

. 1956 ~ Elvis Presley wiggled his way through Heartbreak Hotel this day for RCA Records in Nashville, TN. The record received two gold records, one for each side. The hit on the other side was I Was the One.

. 1960 ~ “Unsinkable Molly Brown” closed at the Winter Garden in New York City after 532 performances.  Molly Brown was based on the true story of a Titanic survivor.

. 1964, The Beatles, British super rock group, made their first American appearance on the Ed Sullivan TV show

. 1966 ~ Billy Rose passed away.  Rose was an American impresario, theatrical showman and lyricist.

. 2002 ~ Dave Van Ronk, a New York-born guitarist and singer who was at the forefront of the Greenwich Village folk boom, died at the age of 65. A prolific musician who was nominated for a Grammy, Van Ronk offered his home as a hangout for fellow musicians in the 1960s. Among them was a young Bob Dylan. “People were always stopping by,” said Mitch Greenhill, his longtime manager. “He (Van Ronk) was one of the few guys who was working at a pretty high level who went out of his way to be friendly.” Born in Brooklyn, Van Ronk started living in Greenwich Village by the time he was a teenager. His first album, “Ballads, Blues and a Spiritual” was released in 1957. He opened his home to Dylan when the artist arrived in New York in the 1960s. Inspired by a haunting version of House of the Rising Sun, released by Van Ronk, Dylan performed it on his debut album. They also appeared together in 1974 with other singers at a benefit for Chilean political prisoners. Asked over the years about his relationship with Dylan, Van Ronk always played down his influence on Dylan by saying, “He was as big an influence on me as I was on him,” said Greenhill, who knew Van Ronk for more than 40 years. Van Ronk spent 40 years on tour, and made at least 26 albums. His most recent was last year’s “Sweet and Lowdown,” a return to his jazz roots. He received a Grammy nomination in 1996 for his record “From … Another Time and Place.” He was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).