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Showing posts from January, 2010

February 2010 Teaching Schedule

-- Winter Recital DVD's are now available! Copies are $10 each and can be purchased directly from me. Please enjoy the excellent trailer above, produced by my good friend Shaun. -- My teaching schedule for the month of February will be uninterrupted. I expect to teach on Monday the 15th, President's Day. -- The Certificate of Merit evaluations will be held on the weekends of March 6-7 and March 13-14. Participating students & parents: please keep these weekends open! The CM performance evaluations will be conducted on both weekends, while the theory testing will be conducted only on the second weekend: March 13-14 at Chabot College in Hayward. Contact me if you have any questions. Have a happy day, Jesse

CM Online Registration is done!

I am finally done registering all of my Certificate of Merit-participating students online. This is a painstaking, time-sapping process that I am relieved to have completed. Now I can dedicate my full attention to helping everyone prepare for the performance and theory test in March.
A reminder regarding the dates: - Theory testing will be conducted at Chabot College the weekend of March 13-14 - Performance evaluations will be on either the weekend of March 6-7 or March 13-14 - I don't have any control over the day/time students are scheduled for their performance; every student submits to the same "schedule lottery"
If I sound like a broken record, it's because I am. I say the above things often lately.
Have a happy day! Jesse

2010 Make-up lesson policy - scenarios

Let's have some fun with this. Make-up lesson scenarios follow below.
For absolute thoroughness, let's do a case study:
Alfonso, a piano student of Jesse Micek, has badminton practice every day after school during the last week of April. Alfonso's father Alfonso, Sr. communicates his son's schedule conflict to Jesse ahead of time, at the beginning of April. Jesse is overjoyed at the advance notice and has plenty of time to settle on a make-up lesson date and time in mid-April that is suitable for both Alfonso and his father Alfonso, Sr. (Alfonso, Jr.'s ride). Alfonso, Jr. continues to progress at the piano and his badminton abilities likewise advance. Everyone ends up happy.
For absolute, and I mean absolute thoroughness, let's do one more case study:
Sheila E, a piano student of Jesse Micek, who absolutely is not named after this person, so please stop asking, is taking the S.A.T. test fifteen times during the last week of November. She doesn't think this is e…

2010 Make-up lesson policy

I thought that I had communicated this to everyone during the latter half of 2009, but I'll also make it official here: I have adjusted my teaching policy regarding make-up lessons. The new policy is as follows:
I do not allow lesson credits to carry over into the following month. Make-up lessons must be scheduled and conducted within the same month of cancellation. This policy will be strictly enforced with all of my students.
Thank for your consideration and understanding, Jesse

Jacqueline Du Pré: In Portrait

A masterful portrait of this British cellist at the peak of her powers. Her signature performance of the Elgar cello concerto comprises the last half-hour of the film. It does not disappoint. There is an unfortunate melancholy that blankets the footage of Du Pré's vibrant youth. We viewers know her future: she will eventually be hobbled by M.S., no longer able to play her beloved cello. But knowledge of this makes the film all the more vital. It captures some of her finest musical moments in the midst of her ascent to prominence.
It's always surprising to me how vast the world of music is. Prior to last week, I had never even heard of Jacqueline Du Pré. Call me a Philistine if you must, but my musical education has not ended! There are always more great artists waiting to be discovered, and my ears remain open.

In Praise of Infidelity

Famed pianist Byron Janis has written an insightful article on music performance and interpretation, published in the Wall Street Journal, 1/6/10:
In an interview last April, before his performance of Wagner's "Lohengrin" at London's Covent Garden, the noted opera and orchestral conductor Semyon Bychkov stated: "You start trying to be faithful to a composer's score but great masterpieces give you enormous possibilities for interpretation. You can serve the music without being subservient." The statement of St. Augustine could apply: "Love God and do what you will."

Mr. Bychkov was absolutely correct. Unfortunately, he was expressing a minority view. An oft-heard adage has it that the greatest artists are always faithful to and play only what is written in the score. A somewhat similar sentiment is expressed by the brilliant American musician and music historian Gunther Schuller: "A conductor is the faithful guardian of the score—the score i…

10 Ways to Improve Your Musicianship in 2010

I just read an excellent blog post by one Chris Foley. Read the full post here. Below are his suggestions for improving one's musicianship this year (or any year):
1. Define your goals 2. Stick to a regular practice schedule 3. Refine your practice process 4. Take it to the people 5. Go on a diet – of listening 6. Spend time on ear training 7. Get technical 8. Learn the theory 9. Learn the history 10. Learn to sight read
Becoming accomplished at an instrument ought to be a life-long journey. If you don't accomplish all your goals as soon as you'd like, don't despair! Give yourself ample time to grow and mature into musical understanding. Playing a musical instrument can provide joy for a lifetime.

January 2010 Teaching Schedule

-- My teaching schedule for the month of January will be uninterrupted. I expect to teach on Monday the 18th, Martin Luther King Day.
-- The Certificate of Merit evaluations will be held on the weekends of March 6-7 and March 13-14. Participating students & parents: please keep these weekends open! The CM performance evaluations will be conducted on both weekends, while the theory testing will be conducted only on the second weekend: March 13-14 at Chabot College in Hayward. Contact me if you have any questions.
-- I need to select performance repertoire for all CM students and input these selections online by January 26. This will be top priority for me during the first few weeks of January.
-- I hope to have DVD copies of the December recital available for purchase in February. I'll keep you posted.
I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but we'll figure it out along the way.
Have a happy day, Jesse