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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Before You Bang Your Head Against the Wall…Try These

You know that feeling when you’re practicing a piece of music and no matter how many times you go over a passage it never seems to improve? I can hear you nodding.

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Welcome to the third instalment of this series. Here we are demystifying, decoding, and deconstructing just what those crazy-looking musical scores mean. If you’ve always wondered how musicians can make sense of all those hieroglyphics then you’ve come to the right place. If you’re just coming aboard then please check out the first two articles: Movement 1 and Movement 2.

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Nordic Fantasy

If you love exploring the fantasy realm, be it through art, music or literature, then check out this new work for solo piano. Come and be whisked away into lands of ice and snow, where horn calls echo in the valleys as battle draws near!

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Ear Training Resources

What is ‘Ear Training’ and why is it important? As musicians we spend a lot of time practicing our instruments, learning how to read, developing effective technique, understanding theory, etc. But how is it that some musicians are able to hear a melody, be it a simple folk song or a complex jazz riff, and then can play it back on their instruments without reading any music?

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How I “Accidentally” Became a University Music Student

They say that life never moves in a straight line. Although I’ve always been an industrious student, I’ve never really had a clear sense about where I was going when it came to a career. At one point in time I wanted to become a pilot, I even did the ground school for it. But for some reason that, like many things, never materialized. In my final year of high school it came time to decide what to do next.

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