Monday, January 31, 2011

February 2011 Teaching Schedule

-- Regarding my February teaching schedule: my wife and I are expecting our first child in mid-February. I expect to take at least 1 week off from teaching sometime during the month. I have distributed notices to all parents and students that the payment for February should be for a total number of 3 lessons. The week's break will be communicated to everyone via email - you will know as soon as I know.

-- Many of my students are preparing for the annual Certificate of Merit evaluations in February and March. I should receive the performance schedule for my students sometime this week. I will be able to distribute the details - date, time, and location - no later than the week of February 7th. The possible dates for performance are 2/19, 2/20, 2/26, or 2/27
Performance evaluations are conducted at different teacher studios around the East Bay.
The CM Theory testing will be conducted at Chabot College in Hayward on the weekend of March 12-13. Students can complete their theory test any time on either day, between the hours of 9am - 5pm.
Have a happy month,
Jesse

Sunday, January 30, 2011

How to be a Choral Accompanist


I recently came across an informative "How to" series of articles at the blog of Laura Lowe, a pianist based in Georgia. She begins her first article on the role of a choral accompanist with these words:
"Of all the things I do as a musician, church choral accompanying has been the most financially lucrative and emotionally satisfying of my activities short of teaching. Ironically, not one minute of my formal piano instruction was ever devoted to this craft which requires an additional set of skills beyond those of performing well as a soloist."
Accompanying choirs or other, smaller vocal groups is one of the most common forms of employment for working pianists. Here are the links to Lowe's writing on the subject, which she broke into 3 parts.
How to be a Choral Accompanist:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Complete Monterey Pop Festival

The Complete Monterey Pop Festival - Criterion Collection
There are 3 brilliant films that document the trajectory of 1960's American rock festivals: "Monterey Pop" (1967), "Woodstock" (1970), and "Gimme Shelter" (1970). All three are worth viewing. I especially enjoyed Monterey Pop because it documents the ascent of this movement. You'll witness the breakout U.S. performances of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, and Otis Redding. I fail to understand why Jefferson Airplane merit the inclusion of two of their songs. Among such a tremendous cast of musicians they are hardly a highlight, but that's my only gripe at the editing. The sound and picture are lovingly restored for this release, making this a must-see for any rock 'n roll fan.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Horowitz in Moscow

Horowitz in Moscow
Casual viewers of this concert film will inevitably become bored at some point while watching. This DVD offers about an hour and a half of an elderly man performing works for solo piano. Those who find this dull should be pegged as unfortunate gorillas! What singular performances these are - not merely because of the performer's prowess, but also because of the location. It is touching to witness Horowitz's return to his homeland after 60-odd years away. The reception from his audience in Russia is a joy to witness, as each individual strives earnestly to commune with the tones emanating from Horowitz's piano. And Horowitz leaves his best on the stage, grinning giddily to his audience and delivering a performance of emotional richness and depth.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Technology takes music to previously unimaginable places



Check out this improvised performance by an electronic musician who goes by the moniker "Daedelus". He's triggering loops from his laptop via a new electronic music device called a Monome. Awesomeness ensues.



I hear a snatch of my all-time favorite group the Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice" beginning around 8:12. Brian Wilson's voice emerges, singing the falsetto part of the line "Never ending...". Daedelus has good taste.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Anvil: The Story of Anvil

Anvil: The Story of Anvil

It's great to share time with people who never gave up on their dreams. The core members of the Canadian band Anvil have kept their "heavy metal candle" burning, long after the flashbulbs and fans disappeared. This documentary contains several obvious homages to the classic film "This Is Spinal Tap". These gags are fun to look out for. I also find it hilarious that Anvil's drummer is named Robb Reiner and Spinal's Tap director was Rob Reiner. Is it kismet? Anyway, the Anvil crew are fun to hang out with and their unwillingness to quit is an inspiring testament to brotherhood and commitment.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 2011 Teaching Schedule


-- Welcome back from the holiday break! I will resume teaching my regular weekly schedule from January 3, 2011. My January teaching schedule will be uninterrupted. I will be teaching on MLK, Jr. day - Monday, 1/7.
-- Many of my students are preparing for the Certificate of Merit evaluations in February and March. The schedule of student performance dates/times will not be released until early next month, but here are the possible dates for performance:
2/19, 2/20, 2/26, or 2/27

Please remain flexible on each of the above days until I have the schedule to distribute. Performance evaluations are conducted at different teacher studios around the East Bay. I will know the address of each student's performance site when I receive the aforementioned schedule.
The CM Theory testing will be conducted at Chabot College in Hayward on the weekend of March 12-13. Students can complete their theory test any time on either day, between the hours of 9am - 5pm.
I wish you a happy New Year,
Jesse