December 28, 2015 Comments Off on Why Learn to Play The Piano?
“What are piano lessons FOR? ” This question from a parent of a talented student once stumped me. It’s in the category of If You Have To Ask You Won’t Understand The Answer. But I’ve been looking for answers to it anyway, ever since.
Here’s an excellent one: If you are in a French train station with time on your hands, you can start improvising on the station piano. Some stranger who also knows something about the piano might show up and play along.
You can make music together. That sentence is loaded with metaphorical meanings old and new. The literal meaning is rich enough, however, to warrant learning to play the piano.
Why learn to play the piano? You can make music with a complete stranger in a French train station.
November 18, 2013 § 1 Comment
You may remember Gunther Schuller. In his youth, he made a big splash in the classical music world by taking jazz seriously and mixing it with classical idioms. It is hard to remember now, but just a short while ago a classically trained musician couldn’t get much respect if he dabbled in jazz.
Schuller did more than dabble. He played with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus. He also was president of the New England Conservatory of Music and has had his works played by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic. Those are pretty good credentials from both sides of the aisle.
Schuller almost single-handedly made Scott Joplin’s ragtime piano music a part of every pianist’s repertoire.
Here is a recent story on him in the Dallas Observer.
November 9, 2013 § 2 Comments
Pianists can easily keep playing into their 90’s and still have something to say. Here is Frank Glazer, a student of Schnabel, which puts him in my lineage from Leschetizky, giving a recital at age 98. He played Nov. 6 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“Glazer, 98, is a pianist, composer and music professor, who began playing piano when he was 3 years old and now has spent almost 60 years as a professional performer”. You can read the full article on MichiganLive here.
A review of an August concert in Wisconsin is here. In other words, he plays concerts all the time.
Want to have a great old age? Play the piano.
November 4, 2013 Comments Off on What do pianists do when they aren’t practicing?
About the same time she started taking piano lessons from me, Sherry Green took up fencing. This October she was a member of the USA Veterans team and fenced in the World Championships in Varna, Bulgaria.
The team took the gold.
This is the fourth time she has been a member of the USA Veterans team. In 2005 she came in fifth in the World Championships. In 2006 she was the top-ranked female sabre fencer in the 60+ category.
In 2007, she was on the USA team that went to Sydney, Australia for the World Championships but was unable to compete. The night before the first match, while in line outside the famous Sidney Opera House, she tripped on a messed-up bit of sidewalk and broke her knee. Mad doesn’t even begin to describe her state of mind, as she had to forgo not just the fencing championships, but the opera as well.
September 19, 2012 § 1 Comment