September 18 ~ in Music History

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• 1763 ~ An instrument named the spinet was mentioned in The Boston Gazette newspaper on this day. John Harris made the spinet, a small upright piano with a three to four-octave range. There is no verifiable evidence to support the rumor that a man named Spinetti made the first spinet.

• 1809 ~ The Theatre Royal at Covent Garden re-opened after being destroyed by fire the year before. The Theatre Royal at Covent Garden began in Bow Street in 1732. It was designed by E.M. Barry in classical style. He also built for the theatre’s management the Floral Hall next door in glass and iron, meant to be a straightforward rival to the Bedford’s flower market. Both of Barry’s buildings are now part of the rebuilt Royal Opera House at Covent Garden complex.

• 1838 ~ Emil Scaria, Austrian bass-baritone

• 1910 ~ Josef Tal, Polish-born Israeli composer and pianist

• 1917 ~ The Honolulu Ad Club registered a patent for the ukulele.

• 1927 ~ The Columbia Broadcasting System was born on this day, although its rival, NBC, had been on the air for some time. The Tiffany Network, as CBS was called, broadcast an opera, The King’s Henchman, as its first program. William S. Paley put the network together, purchasing a chain of 16 failing radio stations. The controlling interest cost between $250,000 and $450,000. The following year, the 27-year-old Paley became President of CBS. It only took one more year for him to profit 2.35 million dollars as the network grew to over 70 stations. In 1978 Paley received the First Annual ATAS (Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) Governor’s Award as Chairman of the Board of CBS.

• 1929 ~ Teddi King, Singer

• 1933 ~ Jimmie Rodgers, Singer

• 1939 ~ Frankie (Frances) Avalon (Avellone), American rock-and-roll singer

• 1947 ~ Country singers Ernest Tubb and Roy Acuff performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. It was the first country show for the NYC venue.

• 1948 ~ The Original Amateur Hour returned to radio on ABC, two years after the passing of the program’s originator and host, Major Bowes. Bowes brought new star talent into living rooms for 13 years. Ted Mack, the new host, had also started a TV run with The Original Amateur Hour on the DuMont network in January of 1948.

• 1949 ~ Kerry Livgren, Guitar, keyboards with Kansas

• 1952 ~ Dee Dee Ramone (Douglas Colvin), Drummer with The Ramones

• 1955 ~ What had been The Toast of the Town on CBS Television (since 1948) became The Ed Sullivan Show. This “rilly big shew” remained a mainstay of Sunday night television until June 6, 1971. Sullivan was a newspaper columnist/critic before and during the early years of this pioneering TV show.

• 1957 ~ The Big Record, hosted by ‘the singing rage’, Miss Patti Page, debuted on CBS-TV. The Big Record was a live musical showcase featuring established artists singing their big songs. The Big Record lasted one big season.

• 1962 ~ Joanne Catherall, Singer with Human League

• 1967 ~ Ricky Bell, Singer with New Edition

• 1969 ~ Tiptoeing through late night TV, Tiny Tim announced his engagement to Miss Vicki Budinger. Johnny Carson, host of The Tonight Show, was so enthralled with the falsetto-voiced singer that he invited the couple to get married on the show. They did on December 17, 1969 and TV history was made.

• 1970 ~ Rock radio mourned the loss of rock music legend, Jimi Hendrix. He died at age 27 of an overdose of sleeping pills. His Purple Haze and Foxy Lady became anthems for a generation at war in Vietnam.

• 1985 ~ “Song & Dance” opened at Royale Theater NYC for 474 performances

• 1997 ~ Jimmy Witherspoon passed away

Beethoven’s Archduke Trio

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Beethoven’s first published works—his Opus No.1—were three trios for piano, violin and cello and already they show a marked advance on Haydn’s trios in the comparative interdependence of the three parts. Their freedom from Haydn’s oppressive formality looks forward to the first mature trios, the pair that comprises Opus 70, displaying all sorts of harmonic twists, thematic innovations and structural idiosyncrasies, these trios make much of the piano part and contain plenty of dramatic outbursts that are typical of Beethoven’s middle period.

Even more arresting is the first of the Opus 70 trios (1808) nicknamed ”The Ghost” because of its mysterious and haunting Largo. Its sibling boasts a cheerful bombastic finale that is the most entertaining music that Beethoven composed for this combination of instruments.

The “Archduke” Trio Opus 97 (1811) was Beethoven’s last full-scale work for piano trio and is typically conclusive. The third movement is its center of gravity, a highly moving set of variations with the cello dominating the thematic content. It opens with a hymn-like theme and progresses to a coda which magnificently sums up the movements ideas. The finale might be less powerful than that of Opus 70 No. 2, but it nevertheless has a sweeping rhythmic power. Again, it is beyond the shadow of a doubt that Beethoven defined the piano trio form that it retained throughout the 19th century by allowing the string instruments the status of genuinely equal partners in this superlative performance.

Read more at Ludwig Van Beethoven Piano Trios Opus 70 No. 2, Opus 97 “Archduke” | World Music Report.

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

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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:

 

What Age Should A Child Begin Music Lessons?

child-piano

These days, there is much pressure for parents to begin their children in activities from an early age.  We know that children tend to pick up new skills easily and we want for them to have an opportunity to become experts at these new skills.  We also see curiosity, desire and eagerness to learn in our children and want to capitalize on that.

Music lessons are no exception.  We often get calls asking the question, “When is the best time to enroll my child in piano lessons?”  The answer to that is a tricky one, and varies for each child.  The right age for one may not be the right age for another.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you are considering enrolling your child in music lessons:

1.   Does my child have an attention span to sit still for chunks of time and listen to instruction?

Many teachers today are very creative in using off-bench activities during lessons and have a plethora of activities to make lessons fun and engaging.  However, the fact remains that your child will need to sit at the piano for some periods of time during the lesson.  It is important that your child have the attention span to do this.

Read more at  How do we know if children are ready to begin music lessons? « Piano Pedagogy @ The New School for Music Study.

A Piano’s Voice

Picture a seven-foot grand piano in a studio. The lid’s missing, so you can see all the strings. Researchers suspend a rod embedded with 32 microphones over the piano’s body.

“We played this middle C at a very soft level, a medium level, and a very loud level,” says Agnieszka Roginska, a professor in NYU’s music technology program. She says using a pianist to play middle C over and over wouldn’t be scientific. So they’re using a disklavier, a fancy player piano triggered by electronics. “So we could hit the same note, with the same velocity, thousands of times,” she says.

They’d record the piano in one spot. Then move the microphones eight inches. Record the note. Move the mics again. Record the note. Over and over and over, until they reach the back of the piano. At the end, they get “what is basically a very dense acoustical scan of the radiation pattern of the grand piano,” Roginska says.

Read the entire article here: http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-08-10/science-tries-understand-what-gives-piano-its-voice

A Parent’s Guide to Piano Maestro

Piano Mania

 

It will be fun watching your child improve their piano skills all while having fun using Piano Maestro in lessons each week!

As your child’s teacher (or YOUR teacher!), I’m looking forward to seeing the progress they will make when they start using it at home each day. This guide will help you understand how this app will benefit your child and how to get it set up on your own iPad.

Overview
What is Piano Maestro?

Piano Maestro is the ultimate piano practice tool that will have students quickly playing their favorite classical, pop, rock, TV and video game songs and themes. It is available in the App Store and works on the iPad.

What skills does it improve?
• Note reading
• Sight reading
• Rhythm
• Inner pulse
• Confidence

What makes it so fun?
• Upbeat background tracks
• Stunning graphics
• Instant rewards and feedback
• Satisfaction of playing REAL music

It works with an acoustic piano?

Yes! Your child practices on your real acoustic or digital piano. Piano Maestro listens from the iPad’s built-in microphone. No wires needed.

I’m already paying for lessons. What value does this add?

Sometimes I wish I could be there with your child to encourage them to keep practicing daily. I’m sure it’s not always easy, as unforeseen challenges will arise.

Since our time each week is just too short, this app will give me eyes on the ground and it will keep them practicing longer and improving more quickly.

How will it be used in lessons?

I will spend a few minutes of each lesson helping your child master a couple of new songs all while having fun! I will also teach them how to use the practice options at home.

At the end of the lesson, we will choose Home Challenge assignments within the app that will show up in your account at home. I’ll get updates when progress is made.

 

 

Getting Started
Wow, this sounds awesome. Now, how do I get started?

1) Download Piano Maestro on your iPad from the AppStore
2) Create a JoyTunes account with a parent’s email, under which, you can have multiple profiles for each member of the family.
3) Create a profile for each family member (that means you too Mom and Dad!) inside the Parent/Teacher zone (top right-hand corner of the main screen)
4) Connect to your teacher, me! After creating a profile in the “profiles” tab of the parent/teacher zone, select the student’s profile and click “connect to teacher.” Once I approve the connection to your child, they will receive full access to all content for FREE! I will then also begin receiving weekly progress reports.
5) Start Playing – I will now start assigning you homework, meanwhile, get started on Journey Mode.

When you connect to the O’Connor Music Studio, Piano Maestro is free for as long as you study here.

How to get your Kids to the Keyboard!

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Let’s face it. Most kids don’t want to practice the piano. And if they do find the time to practice, it’s usually because their parent kept nagging them. How frustrating!

Piano teachers are frustrated too. It’s nearly impossible to teach students new concepts when they don’t understand the old ones–all because of a lack of practice.

If you’re a parent in this situation, I have just the solution you’re looking for.

In this upbeat book, I share all the tips I’ve discovered in my 14 years of teaching piano. You’ll learn fun, practical ways to get your kids to the keyboard.

But this easy-to-read guide goes one step further. I’ll show you simple ways to encourage better quality practice. Even if you’ve never had a music lesson in your life!

I wrote this book for kids of all ages. There are creative ideas for elementary students and also a section for teens.

There’s even a section for what to do if your child wants to stop taking piano lessons. That’s right, there is hope and my book will show you exactly how to get them interested in piano again.

Don’t be the kind of parent who sits on the sidelines waiting until their child wants to practice. Piano lessons are too expensive for you to let another “no-practice” day go by.

This book is your answer to get your child to the keyboard, have good quality practice and develop a life-long love of music.

Get it on Amazon