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Showing posts from September, 2009

Digital Pianos

Nothing matches the sound, touch and feel of a real piano. But there are occasions where a pianist does not have a real piano at his or her disposal. On these occasions, the common substitute instrument is a digital piano . These vary drastically in quality, just as real pianos do. Now and again I'll post entries here on my blog promoting the most outstanding models I've recently played. I hope this proves especially useful to readers who are in the market for a digital piano. Yamaha YDP-223 On 8/30/09 I played for a wedding at St. Victor's church in San Jose . The keyboard instrument at the church, a Yamaha YDP-223 , was surprisingly excellent. The touch and response were great and the piano sound was truly outstanding. I didn't check out any of the other sounds and functions of the keyboard -- I was strictly interested in the piano sound for the music I performed that day. The Yamaha YDP-223's current list price is $1,600. Yamaha CLP-123 From August-October '0

2009-10 Certificate of Merit Dates

Important dates for the upcoming 2009-2010 Certificate of Merit cycle: 2009 September 15 C.M. Registration Opens November 15 C.M. Registration Closes 2010 January 2 Student Evaluation info - online forms open January 20 Student Evaluation info - online forms close March 6-7 North Region C.M. Performance Exams March 13-14 North Region C.M. Performance Exams, Theory Exams at Chabot College

MTAC General Meeting in Castro Valley

This morning I attended the MTAC general meeting, held at the Castro Valley Center for the Performing Arts. All kinds of recriminations are threatened against active members who do not attend this meeting. Well, I made it to the meeting. My name is scrawled on the attendance sheet. Some 75 active MTAC members didn't show their faces. I guess they're gluttons for punishment. This will be my 3rd year as a member of the Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC). Every meeting is awkward for me. I'm not great at casual banter. Usually I find a chair at the end of a row and keep quiet. My gender is poorly represented in my Southern Alameda branch. The ratio of females to males is literally 20 to 1. I do not exaggerate. Every time I step into one of these meetings I ask myself if I've taken a wrong turn at the Career Expo! The assembled mass of teachers was talked at by various heads for about an hour and a half this morning. There are a few new rules related to the

September 2009 Teaching Schedule

-- Monday, September 7 is Labor Day holiday. I will not be teaching that day. -- I am performing in the orchestra pit for the Douglas Morrison Theatre production "Sullivan & Gilbert" . The performances run from September 25 through October 11. Also, there are dress rehearsals every evening the week of September 21, leading up to opening night. As a result of my involvement in these rehearsals, I will be ending my teaching early - at 6:30pm - on the evenings of 9/21, 9/22, and 9/24. This is post #50 on my blog. Hooray for productivity! Thanks, Jesse

Fall 2009 - Spring 2010 Studio happenings

Dear Students & Parents: Here’s a note about some of the things that will be happening in my teaching studio from Fall 2009 through Spring 2010. 1) Music history -- listening and quizzes I am preparing a program of study that will take interested students through the different periods of music history, teaching them about the famous composers and music from each period. The months of September and October will be spent learning about the Baroque Period (1600-1750). The following two months will focus on the Classical Period (1750-1825), and so on. Listening examples will be available from September 1st via links on the front page of my website -- -- along with composer biographies and other helpful material. At the end of October, I will present a listening test to participating students. (*If you prefer not to download the audio online, you can purchase a compilation CD of all the listening examples from me for $10) 2) July 2009 Recital DVDs Copies of the

The Baroque Period

The Baroque Period (1600-1760) The term Baroque is used to describe the style of music written from approximately 1600 to 1750. This title was originally used to describe a style of art and architecture of highly decorative and extravagant design in the 17th and 18th centuries. The elaborate detail of design during the Baroque period can also be seen in the furniture of the era. It was a time when people wore lavish clothes and ornamented themselves with ruffles, jewels, and powdered wigs. Most Baroque musicians worked as servants of a royal court, church, or town. Their music reflected their occupations. Court musicians wrote dances and music for concerts and royal ceremonies. Church musicians wrote instrumental and vocal music for church services and oratorios and masses for special occasions. Some musicians were supported by patrons who expected the composer to write music for them. Most Baroque musicians were composers, performers, conductors, and also teachers. You ca

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach Lived: 1685-1750 Country: Germany Most Famous Works: Too many to list! Listening Links: Toccata & Fugue in D Minor Prelude & Fugue in C Major (from The Well-Tempered Clavier ) Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (from Cantata 147 ) Suite for Cello Solo No. 1 in G Johann Sebastian Bach was a Baroque composer, organist, singer and violinist. He was a master of counterpoint , and is particularly renowned for his church music, including the famous St. John Passion and Mass in B Minor. Bach's music was "rediscovered" in the 19th century care of the "Bach revival" promoted by Felix Mendelssohn. J.S. Bach is now universally acclaimed as the unequaled giant of Baroque music, and one of the greatest musicians to ever live. Early Life of Johann Sebastian Bach J.S. Bach, was born in Eisenach, Germany on 21 March 1685. Orphaned at age 10, he went to live with his older brother Johann Christoph who gave him musical instruction on the clavichor

George Frideric Handel

George Frideric Handel Lived: 1685-1759 Country: Born in Germany, died in England Most Famous Works: Messiah (oratorio), Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks Listening Links: “Hallelujah” (from Messiah ) Alla hornpipe (from Water Music ) Ouverture (from Music for the Royal Fireworks ) George Frideric Handel was an English composer and violinist of German birth. He is famous for oratorio his " Messiah ," anthem " Zadok the Priest ," " Water Music Suite ," & " Music for the Royal Fireworks ." His life and music may justly be described as "cosmopolitan": he was born in Germany, trained in Italy, and spent most of his life in England. Handel received wide acclaim for his work during his lifetime. To this day he is hailed as one of the greatest masters of the Baroque period. Early Life Handel was born in Halle, Germany on February 23, 1685, the son of a barber-surgeon. His father wanted him to pursue law instead of mu

Claudio Monteverdi

Claudio Monteverdi Lived: 1567-1643 Country: Italy Most Famous Works: L'Orfeo (opera), Vespers for the Blessed Virgin , 9 books of Madrigals (vocal works) Listening Links: Ave Maris Stella (from Vespers for the Blessed Virgin ) Claudio Monteverdi was an Italian composer. He is most well-known for his opera La Favola d'Orfeo (The Fable of Orpheus). His lifespan stretched across the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods, and as a composer he provided crucial contributions to the early development of opera . He specialized in composing operas, madrigals, and motets. He is particularly renowned for his skillful vocal writing. Monteverdi exhibited consistent development in his abilities from his first opera, La favola d’Orfeo (The Legend of Orpheus), to his last opera, L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea). The opera he wrote to follow these, Arianna , is now lost in performance except for the famous work's famous "Lament". Monteverdi is of

Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi Lived: 1678-1741 Country: Italy Most Famous Work: "The Four Seasons" ( Le Quattro Stagione ), for violin and orchestra Listening Links: (all from The Four Seasons ) Spring - 1. Allegro Summer - 3. Presto Autumn - 3. Allegro Winter - 3. Allegro Antonio Vivaldi was a prolific Italian composer, violinist and conductor. He was widely known during his lifetime by the nickname The Red Priest ( Il Prete Rosso) , owing to his flaming hair color. Early Life of Vivaldi Vivaldi was born in Venice, Italy, on March 4, 1678, the eldest son of a professional violinist. Antonio was the only one among six children to follow in their father’s musical footsteps. His father, Giovanni Battista, was originally a baker but he eventually gave up this family trade to become a musician, finding employ at St. Mark's church as a violinist. Aged 15, Vivaldi began training for the priesthood and was ordained in 1703. At this same time he was developing his own skills on the