Growing Strong: The 2018 Christmas Recital

For the first time the studio needed to find a new space for its annual Christmas recital. The comfy family room area of my home was no longer able to fit everyone because we just keep on growing in size! (pun intended) Fortunately, a church well known for its rich musical community, Harcourt United Church near downtown Guelph, was happy to accommodate us in its lovely sanctuary. Students could breathe a sigh of relief and invite whomever they wished, no longer having to worry about limited space.

The concert was an all round positive experience for performers and audience members alike. Relishing the opportunity to play on a tuned-up Yamaha grand piano, all performers shined musically, playing with enhanced expression only a premium instrument and amazing acoustic space could offer.

The afternoon opened with an ornate, virtuosic arrangement of Carol of the Bells (arr. George Winston). It was an afternoon of first times: one player performed for her first time ever on piano; another woman performed for the first time in decades, playing a duet called Gentle Breeze (Heinrich Wohlfahrt), indeed a gentle way to ease back into playing before others again.

The program included a wide range of levels and styles. From well-known Christmas gems such as Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Silent Night and Rudolph, to advanced Classical works such as Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude and the first movement of Mozart’s Sonata in F major, students and audience members were kept on their toes! To boot, we sang a couple of Christmas carols together at half-time and at the end of the show.

Students also had an opportunity to be exposed to some improvisation as my colleague, violinist Louisa Krátká and I performed a short off-the-cuff vocalise near the end.

I want to thank all students who came out to perform and who also chose to be there to support their colleagues. It’s a privilege to work with you and I’m so proud of your growth and dedication this year.

Ho, ho, hope you have a great holiday!

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Springtime Sounds

Today students from the studio congregated to share some of the pieces they’ve been learning this spring. With summer around the corner it was an opportunity to bask in the warm glow of beautiful piano music. From Yankee Doodle to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the audience was serenaded by music from many time periods and places.

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Sonata Deformed: An Injured Musician’s Chronicle Pt.3

These entries are written for musicians who have faced injury. Injury not only strikes our bodies but our identities too. By sharing my story I hope that other hurt musicians will feel part of an increasingly vocal community and will be motivated to seek the tools necessary to heal and flourish again at their craft. I believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel for every musician facing injury. Yet there is no magic wand. It’s up to you to be the expert in your own recovery process.

The story continues in the third instalment. If you’ve been waiting for the good news then wait no longer. For those who are just discovering this chronicle, please read part 1 and part 2.

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Sonata Deformed: An Injured Musician’s Chronicle Pt.2

These entries are written for musicians who have faced injury. Injury not only strikes our bodies but our identities too. By sharing my story I hope that other hurt musicians will feel part of an increasingly vocal community and will be motivated to seek the tools necessary to heal and flourish again at their craft. I believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel for every musician facing injury. Yet there is no magic wand. It’s up to you to be the expert in your own recovery process.

The story of my eight year journey continues in this next instalment. If you aren’t caught up please read Part 1: Exposition.

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Sonata Deformed: An Injured Musician’s Chronicle Pt.1

These entries are written for musicians who have faced injury. Injury not only strikes our bodies but our identities too. By sharing my story I hope that other hurt musicians will feel part of an increasingly vocal community and will be motivated to seek the tools necessary to heal and flourish again at their craft. I believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel for every musician facing injury. Yet there is no magic wand. It’s up to you to be the expert in your own recovery process.

This story is an eight year journey chronicling my personal experience as a pianist with severe injury in my hands. It begins with my life as a confident professional pianist who had the rug pulled out from under him via a debilitating injury. I suffered for many years thinking that I’d never play again, but through perseverance and the proper guidance I rebuilt my technique and am able to end the story on a positive note as I now play music I never thought possible. It’s much easier to write this from the other side of my journey. These are the words that I needed to hear when in the depths of despair and uncertainty. Perhaps you need to hear them too.

If you are an injured musician of any kind may my story be a source of hope and inspiration. I encourage dialogue about this often taboo topic so please share your stories in the comments section below.

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2017 A Year in Pictures

As some of you may know, one of my hobbies is photography. This past year was a major period of growth and experience in this endeavour. I upgraded from a smart phone to a real-deal camera; learned about lenses and techniques; and became an Instagram addict. Photography has been a healthy balance to my music. It certainly involves a lot more walking around. To cap off 2017 I thought, what better idea than to combine the two!

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A Very Laid Back Christmas Recital

On Sunday, December 10 2017 my studio held its very first recital in the comfort of our large walk-out basement area. With the fire roaring in the background early attendees sang Christmas carols as we broke out into a spontaneous singalong while waiting for everyone to arrive.

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