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Showing posts from September, 2011

Musicians’ Brains Stay Sharp as They Age

From an article on FYI Living, published 6/15/11: "Engaging in musical activity for most of one’s lifetime significantly helps remember names, and enhances nonverbal memory, the ability to work based on what one sees, and mental agility during old age. The habit of physical exercise, in addition to musical involvement, further adds to mental lucidity in old age. Starting musical training early and continuing it for several years have a favorable effect on metal abilities during old age. Musical training also seems to enhance verbal prowess and the general IQ of a person." Read the full article here.

Important Dates: Next Recital & C.M.

A quick post here to alert students and parents of some important dates for the upcoming year. The next Student Recital will be held on Saturday, December 10 between noon - 4pm at CSUEB. The 2011-2012 Certificate of Merit dates for the spring are also in:  - Performance evaluations will be held on the weekends of March 3 & 4 and March 10 & 11- Theory testing will be conducted on the weekend of March 3 & 4. Jesse

MTAC General Meeting in Castro Valley

I watch my 7 month old son on Wednesdays. I'm getting to know his ways. It seems highly unlikely that he would be able sit quietly and not disrupt an hour-long MTAC meeting. So I've been planning all along to not attend this yearly "welcome back" meeting for Southern Alameda branch MTAC teachers. It's lovely for me that these meetings are held at the Castro Valley Center for the Performing Arts, which is located about 3 blocks from my house. I strapped the boy into his Ergo baby carrier and walked to center. Picked up my teacher packet, signed up for the requisite spring CM job, and then walked right out. I was like a phantom. "Hey, where'd that guy with the baby go?" Straight back home. Preparations for Certificate of Merit will begin ramping up with my students soon. I'm not looking forward to the added workload. But it's something I'm committed to offering. I won't back down. So let's do this. Jesse

Tips for Buying a Used Piano

Another informative video from Robert Estrin and Living Pianos. The best advice I would give to someone who is strongly considering purchasing a particular used piano: hire a piano technician to come with you and give the piano a thorough examination. Don't spend thousands of dollars purchasing an instrument that turns out be a lemon! Bring a piano technician (aka piano tuner or piano restorer) to the instrument first. Their cost will be small in relation to the greater cost of the instrument and will deliver you peace of mind about your purchase.

Had my piano tuned today...

My piano is on an every-6-months check-up schedule. To have one's piano tuned twice yearly is common. Due to the heat of the summer, my home instrument had predictably veered sharp in pitch. New realizations: 
- My regular tuner Linda saw when she entered my studio that I had my piano's keyboard covered by the key lid. She suggested I avoid encasing the keys this way on a regular basis because it will cause them to yellow more quickly as a result of being exposed to less oxygen. This was news to me. Instead, one can shield the keys from collecting dust with a felt piano key cover. Here's an inexpensive option sold by Amazon:
- The humidity levels in my teaching studio are too high and this climate problem will affect my piano's "health" in the the long-term. That is, unless I take action. I was convinced to finally take the plunge and have a Dampp-Chaser device installed on the instrument prior to my next tuning appointment. The Dampp-Chaser is a climate-control…

Foo Fighters: Back and Forth

The Foo Fighters were an important band for me. Their first album was released in 1995. I devoured it. I can recall a long drive with my family from the state of Washington back home to California in which I played my cassette copy of the Foo Fighters debut on repeat. My Walkman must have felt exhausted by the end of that trip. Dave Grohl is the frontman of the Foo Fighters. He is also an amazing drummer. His first taste of fame was as the drummer of Nirvana. I was a couple years late to discovering Nirvana. By the time I had immersed myself in fandom of that band, the frontman Kurt Cobain had committed suicide. What a waste. But what a joy, then, to discover Dave Grohl's awesome songwriting talents. The documentary "Foo Fighters: Back and Forth" chronicles the first 16(!) years of the band. In his interviews, Mr. Grohl has an unfortunate propensity for the "F word". His inability to speak articulately on camera unfortunately renders many of his remarks void. His…

September 2011 Teaching Schedule

-- My teaching schedule during the month of September will be uninterrupted, save the observance of Labor Day on Monday, 9/5.
-- The Summer Film Scoring project is nearing completion. Several individuals have already composed and recorded their contributions. Others need to really buckle down and get to work during the upcoming weeks, because September is the final month for this project. 
-- I am planning to offer a wider variety of music web games to my students in the upcoming year. In particular, I'm eyeing the Theta Music Trainer and Music Learning Community offerings. More details are forthcoming.
-- The Song of the Month for September is "Someone Like You" by Adele. The chorus sounds like it would fit in perfectly with this song medley by Aussie comedy outfit Axis of Awesome (hint, hint).
Have a happy day, Jesse