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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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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Bus Shelter Ballade

Here’s a Thursday morning improvisation on one of our public pianos here in Guelph, Ontario. Every September, 12 pianos are placed outside various establishments throughout the downtown core. The project is called Happy Making and it invites residents to indulge their creativity in a public space.

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3 Piano Improvisations ~Anyone~ Can Do!

What is Improvising?

To improvise means to make music up on the spot and can be intimidating for beginner musician and seasoned professional alike. While all the great composers were known for their abilities as skilled improvisers, the tradition of classical music really doesn’t give us the space to explore it today.

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