Piano Lessons from the Past

 

Looks a bit different than today’s lessons!

This photograph was taken in 1899, and shows a young girl taking Piano Lessons. When I was a little kid, they made everyone take piano lessons. Yep, I had to take piano lessons . . . I really do not know why. I did try pretty hard, but I could never make any progress. You see, I could only think about one finger at a time. When it got to the part where lots of different fingers had to be doing different things at the same time, that is where I had lots of trouble. Anyway, after a couple of months, the teacher politely told my parents that they were wasting their money on the lessons, that I was not going to be a piano player.

From Old Picture of the Day: Piano Lessons

Manuscript of Mozart’s Piano Sonata K331 Discovered in Budapest in 2014

mozart-sonata-k331

 

The manuscript of Mozart’s A major piano sonata K331 has recently been discovered in Budapest. Having spent the majority of its life in the Budapest’s National Széchényi Library for decades, the coveted manuscript was rediscovered by Haydn scholar Balazs Mikusi.

“When I first laid eyes upon the manuscript, the handwriting already looked suspiciously ‘Mozartish’,” said Mikusi, who is the head of the music collection at National Szechenyi Library. “Then I started reading the notes, and realised it is the famous A Major sonata … My heart rate shot up.”

The piece was composed in 1783 and contains Mozart’s most popular jam, “Turkish March,” which has become a piano lesson staple all over the world.

Although, unfortunately, Mikusi can’t say how or when these pages found their way to Hungary; they reveal subtle differences from the published editions of the sonata. The key variances are seen in the phrasing, dynamics and occasionally the notes themselves.

“It is very rare that a Mozart manuscript pops up. Moreover the A Major Sonata had no known manuscript, so it is a really big discovery,” he said.

The library has only released teasing images of the manuscript, nothing more.

 

From Manuscript of Mozart’s Piano Sonata K331 Discovered in Budapest’s National Széchényi Library : Classical : Classicalite.

The whole sonata:

 

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!

 

 

Old Picture of the Day

 

Looks a bit different than today’s lessons!

This photograph was taken in 1899, and shows a young girl taking Piano Lessons. When I was a little kid, they made everyone take piano lessons. Yep, I had to take piano lessons . . . I really do not know why. I did try pretty hard, but I could never make any progress. You see, I could only think about one finger at a time. When it got to the part where lots of different fingers had to be doing different things at the same time, that is where I had lots of trouble. Anyway, after a couple of months, the teacher politely told my parents that they were wasting their money on the lessons, that I was not going to be a piano player.

From Old Picture of the Day: Piano Lessons

Register for Piano Lessons

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!

 

 

Why is Theory Important for Piano Students?

Music_Theory

 

Students at the O’Connor Music Studio know that music theory is always a part of lessons.  I strongly believe that theory is needed so that students understand what they are playing and why.

To me, theory work is just as important as playing.  A firm knowledge of musical structure makes playing everything easier.

Music knowledge learned through piano lessons transfers easily to other  musical activities.  Students in Fairfax County Public Schools, students learn to play recorder.  Students are sometimes surprised to learn that they already know all the notes – from their piano lessons!

When you sing in a choir, harmonize with Sweet Adelines, play an instrument in your school or community band/orchestra, join your church’s handbell choir (note:  Pender UMC has an excellent Handbell program), teach yourself guitar – theory will help in every instance. By learning to read, write, and understand this musical language, many more musical opportunities will be made available the rest of your life.

Most piano methods come with a theory book that matches page by page what concepts are being learned in the lesson books.  I actually recommend that students do the theory first when they get home, while the concepts are still fresh in their minds.

If the student is not in a piano method, I’m starting to use the Theory Time series.  Book One covers music alphabet, introduction to keyboard and staff, stem rule, steps & skips on a keyboard and staff, repeated notes, dynamics, treble clef lines & spaces, bass clef lines & spaces, quarter note & rest, half note & rest, whole note & rest, dotted half note, bar lines, double bar line, measures, time signatures, rhythm drill, vocabulary, ear training and a review test. Free ear training videos for each ear training exercise are hosted on the Theory Time YouTube channel. The Grade One workbook is appropriate for beginning 1st, 2nd or 3rd grade students. This workbook includes 51 pages, 13 lessons and 8 Fun Sheets.

For adults and more advanced students, I have a copy of All About Music Theory: A Fun and Simple Guide to Understanding Music which can be used as a review or a “try before buy”.

Stop procrastinating and go do your theory!

104-year-old plays piano for her party

steinway-old

At age 104, San Marcos resident Dorothy “Dottie” Coleman is one of about 72,000 centenarians in the U.S. according to the National Center for Health Statistics in a 2014 survey.

But to anyone who knows her, she is one in a million. Ask the members of the Lake San Marcos Kiwanis Club, where she plays the piano to kick off meetings. Or ask teens from the San Marcos Youth Symphony who gave a community concert with her last December at which Coleman received a standing ovation.

“What inspires me and the Kiwanis members is how she takes each day one day at a time — the worries and anxieties that weigh others down just roll off her back,” said Jerry Mason, Lake San Marcos Kiwanis president. “Every time I am with her she uplifts my spirits.”

For her recent 104th birthday, the Lake San Marcos Kiwanis threw a party at which Coleman played the piano. She plays mostly from memory, and her favorites include pieces by Chopin and Claire de Lune along with big band hits of the 1930s and 1940s.

“Ms. Coleman’s mind is clear and her fingers still can dance on top of the keyboard,” said Hurlink Vongsachang, co-president of the San Marcos Youth Orchestra.

Coleman started playing the piano in church nearly a century ago when she was about 7. She was born April 4, 1912, and grew up in a small town in southern Pennsylvania, later attending a teacher’s college and marrying Les Coleman in 1934. The couple was married 62 years and Coleman cared for him when he was ailing in his later years until he died 20 years ago.

Coleman’s first trip to California was a cross-country car journey in a Model A Ford in the mid 1930s. Later she returned when her husband, a lieutenant colonel, was stationed at the former Fort Ord Army Base on Monterey Bay, where she and other teachers helped young soldiers work on their high school diplomas. She and her husband moved to San Marcos in 1996.

With a zest for travel, Coleman went on an African safari when she was 86 and traveled to India at 88. She started writing and publishing stories at age 91 after taking a writing class at the San Marcos Senior Center.

She lives independently and stopped driving voluntarily at age 101 when she broke her hip. She has a daughter, three grandchildren and five great grandchildren, some of whom have taken piano lessons from her.

On her birthday, Coleman said, “The best present I have is that I still have all my marbles.”

From http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/apr/12/dorothy-coleman-104th-birthday-upbeat-pianist/

William and Mary piano class offers fellowship for vets

piano-dream

 

Rebecca Davy paced through her class Saturday, giving instructions to each student sitting at their keyboards.

This was no computer exercise though. “Keep your fingers super glued to those notes. Where’s E? Where’s G? Where’s C?,” she said. “You need to know where your fingers are mentally on the keyboard.”

In Ewell Hall on the College of William and Mary’s campus, Davy has been giving piano lessons to military veterans through a collaboration with the Armed Services Arts Partnership.

The program partners colleges and veterans to help them build communities and fellowships centered around the arts. The program, which is free for veterans whose applications are accepted, provides instruction in courses like writing, stand-up comedy, guitar and piano.

Armed Services Arts Partnership was founded by Sam Pressler, who attended W&M.

Pressler founded the group seeking to use comedy as a way to allow veterans to express themselves after he lost a relative to suicide and learned later about the high rate of suicide among military veterans.

“A single class soon blossomed into communities around writing, music, and comedy, and with such proof of concept and demand, he formed a nonprofit to scale the model to other communities located in areas with high military populations,” said Megan Brew, director of operations for Armed Services Arts Partnership, which is based in Arlington.

“I’ve done so many things. I work with veterans as a transition counselor, and a lot of our soldiers are leaving the service with mental health issues,” said Willie Burston, who attends the piano group. Burston himself is a retired Army veteran.

“Something like this will keep them focused on positive things,” he said. Burston said he also joined the group for a simpler reason. He enjoys singing in church and has aspirations to one day play some of the instrumental music. His favorite songs are hymns such as “Amazing Grace.”

“I came from a family of ministers and pastors and musicians, but I can’t play.”

On Saturday, he sat patiently as Davy taught him the beginning of “The Can-Can” by Jacques Offenbach.

“I heard about this from the VA hospital. My doctor said this would be good for you,” said Anita Jones Chow Yuk, a retired Navy Commander. She had aspirations to learn a musical instrument earlier in life but never received the encouragement she needed.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to help them find a teacher,” Davy said. “I wasn’t about to let the class not happen,” she said.

From http://www.vagazette.com/news/va-vg-jcc-vet-piano-lesson-20151013,0,1449853.story