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Showing posts from April, 2011

May 2011 Teaching Schedule

-- My teaching schedule during the month of May will be uninterrupted, save the Memorial Day holiday. I will not be teaching on Sunday, May 29, and I will not be teaching of Monday, May 30. 
-- The next Piano/Guitar recital will be held on the evening of Saturday, May 21 from 6:30-9:30pm in the recital hall of the Music building on the CSUEB campus. Group 1 will begin at 7pm. Group 2 will begin at 8:15pm. Here's a listing of which students will be performing in each group.
It is essential that you include the $10 recital fee with your payment for May lessons. I need to collect this fee for every participating student in order to offset the cost of renting the recital hall.
Once the recital fee has been paid you will receive 2 tickets (4 tickets if you have two of your children enrolled in lessons with me) for adult admission to the recital. Admission for children (18 & under) is free. Any other adults - family & friends - will be charged $5 at the door. It's available to …

Timeless: Suite for Ma Dukes

This CD/DVD package presents a singular occasion: the setting of legendary hip-hop producer J-Dilla's music for chamber orchestra(!) in a one-off concert event. Conductor & arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson does the heavy lifting here, often padding J-Dilla's minimalist masterpieces into arrangements more suiting the heft of the 60-piece "Ma Dukes" Orchestra. Ma Dukes is the affectionate nickname for J-Dilla's mother. Her stamp of approval was required for this project since J-Dilla passed away at a tragically young age from a lupus-related ailment. At times the members of the orchestra resemble an MTV casting call: these are beautiful people. I doubt they were recruited for their looks, but still -- it's notable that they don't look like gawky, music-conservatory bred nerds. Atwood-Ferguson has an unconventional conductor style, and this makes him a lot of fun to watch. Speaking of fun: I've never seen an orchestra visibly enjoy performing in conce…

20 Practice Tips

Here's another outstanding offering from Australian music educator Nicole Murphy. Her postings on the Music Teacher's blog are always insightful, and her compilation of "20 Practice Tips" for musicians is no exception:
1. Warm Up 2. Practise often Small, frequent practice sessions are more effective than one or two longer sessions each week. 3. Have a plan Have immediate, short and long-term goals. 4. Develop a practise routine that works for you 5. Practise at your instrument and away from it Next time you’re on a bus, plane or train, try practising without your instrument. Study the score, analyse the harmony, think through the phrasing. You will be amazed at how easy it is to become familiar with a piece when you don’t have your technique distracting you. 6. Listen Enough said. 7. Make notes Keep a pencil with your instrument and scribble as often as you need to in a practice journal or on your music. As you become more familiar with a piece you can start to remove unnecessar…

Art Pepper: Notes from a Jazz Survivor

Art Pepper (1925 - 1982) was one of the greatest alto saxophonists to ever grace a stage. He also was a severely troubled human being. He is most notorious for his addiction to heroin, which spanned several decades and landed him in prison numerous times. This brief documentary film (less than 50 minutes duration) finds Pepper in better physical health and performing again at or near his peak level. The man still had his delusions, though. At one point he deadpans to the camera, "I'm a genius. I don't think there's anyone out there who plays better than me. I'm a genius". Humility is not his strong suit. A fascinating portrait of a man whose past cast a dark shadow, and whose horn was a vessel for melodious disclosures.

Still Bill

Bill Withers is best known for penning the classic songs "Lean On Me", "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone", and "Just the Two of Us". In this humanizing documentary portrait we visit with Bill decades after the hurricane of fame swept through his life. He's not sure he wants to make music anymore. He struggles to feel inspired. Juxtaposed with present-day scenes of his quiet domestic life are clips of Bill in his heyday, performing on stages around the world. Now he's content to simply rest and reflect on his days in the limelight; he's no longer fueled by the passions of youth or a need to prove himself. That said, as the title of the film simply states, he's "Still Bill". Still a sensitive soul possessed of a poet's heart and an effervescent compassion for his fellow man.

CM Honors Recital Hosting @ C.V. Performing Arts

It happened: this year I was charged with working a 2nd day for the Certificate of Merit program. The threat always looms that if you enroll 10 or more students in the annual C.M. proceedings you may be scheduled for 2 or even 3 work days.  A couple weeks ago I worked for an entire day as a theory test room monitor and today I hosted 2 honors recitals and was a "helper" for a 3rd. I don't really buy into these honors recitals and that makes it difficult for me to act as a leader of them. It's all too starchy and stiff for me.  The kids are great musicians, no doubt. With every one of the performers I listened to today, one conclusion was clear: these are exceptional music students. But after hearing 2+ plus hours of solo piano music it wouldn't matter if Ludwig van strode through the doors and performed his "Tempest" Sonata. My ears were fatigued, my head was saturated. As recital host I was asked to read opening and closing remarks from a written script. …

April 2011 Teaching Schedule

-- I will observe both the Castro Valley and Fremont school district spring breaks during the month of April. The C.V. spring break runs from 4/18 - 4/22. I will not be teaching Castro Valley students that week (except the ones I have spoken to - I think you know who you are... if you are confused, email me). The Fremont spring break runs from 4/25 - 4/29. I will not be teaching Fremont students that week.
-- The next Piano/Guitar recital will be held on the evening of Saturday, May 21 from 6:30-9:30pm. Please save the date. I would like to have as many of my students participate as possible.
-- The 2011 Certificate of Merit results have been posted online. I now await word that I can pick up the evaluation packets to distribute back to students. I should have these materials to hand out by mid-April. -- Lastly, the "Ear Power" song of the month program resumes in April. Student votes are in, and the song we will be learning by ear in April is "Forget You" by Cee Lo G…