Day 3: 40 Days of Thankfulness

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Today, since it’s a “teaching day”, I’m thankful for my piano studio, my students, and my piano 🙂

 

When I was growing up, my dad was a minister, meaning we lived in whatever parsonage the church chose to let us live in.  The one we had in Pawcatuck, CT had an upright piano that someone had put out in the sunroom.  Not the best place for a piano, but I digress.

Since we had the piano already, someone – probably my mom – decided that I would take lessons.  We had the organist from the Baptist church just across the river in Westerly, RI

Apparently, Clara Pashley was fondly remembered at the church (now Central Baptist Church) since she was mentioned in an article from 2010.

 

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25-centsMiss Pashley walked to our house each week and taught me (and my mom who was always listening in) piano for the grand sum of 25 cents.

I started with Ada Richter’s classic Teaching Little Fingers to Play, which has now been morphed into the John Thompson library.

From there, it was the Michael Aaron series, and some sheet music.

There was no music store in our town, so I have no idea where any of this music came from – but I still have it all.

My parents did very well for their quarter a week investment, especially since my mom paid good attention and was able to beef up lessons she’d had as a child.  Later on, she played well enough that she was church organist for a local Roman Catholic Church.

But I digress…

In those days, kids couldn’t do a whole lot of activities, so in 6th grade, I decided I wanted to be a Girl Scout.  Bye, bye Clara.

Girl Scouts didn’t last long but I did play piano in a talent show.  I remember, I carefully cut BurgmĂĽller’s Ballade out of my Michael Aaron book and made a nice construction paper cover.  (I still have this, too)

balladeburgmuller

 

I doubt that I played this well but here’s what it was supposed to sound like:

 

A few years intervened and we moved to Springfield, MA.  The parsonage piano there was in terrible shape and in the dark, never-used basement.  But I decided to make it mine and cleared up the area around it and started “practicing”.

My Junior or Senior year of High School I decided I wanted to major in music in college.  I decided to learn, on my own, a piano arrangement of Aragonnaise by Jules Massenet.  I have no idea why or where that sheet music came from but I started working furiously on this piece.

aragonnaise

Hopefully, at some point, it should have sounded like this:

 

 

I started pedaling (no pun intended!) my music to the Universities of Connecticut and Massachusetts and ended up at UMass Amherst since we were state residents.

Early morning gym classes (usually swimming), then wet hair traipsing across campus to music theory in winter 5 days a week.  AARRGGH!

But I stuck it out.

My wonderful piano teacher, Howard Lebow, was killed in a car accident my sophomore year and I was devastated.  There was about him in a post on January 26, 2018 here: https://oconnormusicstudio.com

I took yet another break from piano lessons – but I kept playing.

After DH graduated, we moved to Milwaukee, WI for his graduate school.  Besides working 2 jobs, I found time to commandeer the practice rooms at the University of Wisconsin.  I also found a teacher at the Schaum School of Music.  She was amazed that I had no piano at home to practice on.

When we later moved to Alexandria, VA my DH gave me a choice of new car or piano. So, I found a used piano.  The owner had acquired it in a divorce and wanted it gone.  Yesterday.  She even paid to move it out of her apartment.

The new-to-me piano took up half our living room.  When my parents came to visit, their feet were under my piano as they slept on cots.

I found yet another new piano teacher and she is still my best friend to this day.

That piano moved to several locations before I bought a brand new Yamaha grand piano.  The movers accidentally brought in the wrong one and I made them return it.  The people who lived in an apartment were probably unhappy when they had to return my piano and take their own new baby grand back.

I started teaching as a traveling piano teacher in Silver Spring, Maryland.  I continued that in Wilmington, DE.

When we got to Fairfax, VA I decided no more traveling.  Students would come to me.  And so they have since 1973.

What is supposed to be our living room is filled with music books, electric keyboards, the grand piano, 2 organs, 2 violins, 2 clarinets, a hand-made (by me!) dulcimer and other musical “stuff”.

Piano playing has gotten me through the worst times of my life.  Teaching has been a lifeline for me, as well.

I am so thankful for the students who have stayed with me over the years.

 

Fall Piano Lesson Registration

 

Thank you for your interest in the O’Connor Music Studio!

Available times are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the day and after school for all ages and levels.  There may be other times available if requested.

After you register, you will get a confirmation email with the information you need to access the Student Portal. After logging in you may choose from the available lesson times or request something different.

Your $20.00 interview deposit will be credited towards the second month of lessons.

If you are a transfer student, please bring your most recent method book(s) and notebook to the interview.

Prospective students must have a piano, organ or electric keyboard to use for daily practice. 

Roadtrip! students (ages 4-5) are scheduled for half-hour lessons with their parents present.

Beginning children (ages 6 to 9) are scheduled for half-hour lessons.

Youth (ages 10 and up) may be scheduled for half-hour lessons or forty-five minute lessons.

Adults are highly encouraged to take hour-long lessons, but are always welcome to schedule half-hour lessons at first.

I look forward to meeting you!

 

 

July 6 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

toccata-d-minor

 

Johann Sebastian Bach’s towering monument of organ music, with its deep sense of foreboding, will forever be associated with Halloween.

Get a free copy of the sheet music at IMSLP or borrow a copy from the O’Connor Music Studio.  I have this arranged for organ, piano, duet, 2-piano, simplified…

It’s also available in Piano Maestro, Piano Pronto Encore and Coda

If you want this in a book with other Bach transcriptions, amazon has this: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and the Other Bach Transcriptions for Solo Piano, arranged by Ferruccio Busoni.

Here, Virgil Fox performs it on his Allen Digital Touring Organ.

 

Diane Bish plays the Massey Memorial Organ at the Chautauqua Institution and talks about this instrument.

 

Animated organ:

And, the most fun…

Daily Listening Assignments 2008

 

This summer, I’ve decided to add a new feature to piano lessons.  I know that many families travel during the summer months and it’s sometimes difficult to practice.

These daily assignments, June through August will help you and your students learn a bit more about the pieces they’re learning during the year – or maybe give ideas for something that they’d like to learn.

Each piece has a bit of composer info and several different interpretations, some of which are very humorous.  Some of the assignments appear in Piano Maestro so be sure to have that handy, if your student uses that.

Some days give hints that the assignment of the day may be played (or reviewed) at the next lesson so please be sure that your student takes note of that (no pun intended!)

Find them here, under Daily Listening Assignment starting June 1 at 9:00 am.

Have a safe and musical summer!

No School Today

All Fairfax County public schools and offices will be closed today, Friday March 2.

All Fairfax County public schools and offices will be closed today March 2, 2018 (Condition 1) due to dangerous high winds. The following activities in schools and on school grounds are canceled:

  • extracurricular activities
  • interscholastic contests
  • team practices
  • field trips
  • middle school after-school programs
  • professional learning and training courses
  • adult and community education classes
  • recreation programs and community use by outside groups not affiliated with FCPS

School age child care (SACC) centers are closed.

And the power situation at the O’Connor Music Studio this morning.  The orange area has no power.

 

There MAY be piano lessons this afternoon.  I’ll keep in touch 🙂