Sunday, January 9, 2011

Russian virtuoso pianist performs in Taiwan

"The 25-year-old musician started learning the piano at the age of five and made her first public performance when she was six.
For the Chopin Piano Competition, Yulianna Adveeva said she had spent a year studying Chopin's life and work so that she would be able to interpret his work to the standard demanded by the contest."

I thought it was interesting that she prepared 1 year intensely, studying the life of Chopin - I remember my days when I was in my twenties working towards my own competitions. It gives tremendous insight, reading up on the lives of composers and spending time with contemporaries who write about individual composers, their lives and observations. I highly encourage my students to read about the various composers, their lives, reprints of personal letters, so that composers can be understood and interpreted better. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Play Piano

Why is playing piano so important?

Well for one thing, you are creatively engaged. You are working each side of the brain - you could say you are giving your brain a workout! The right side of the brain controls the left hand and the left side of the brain controls the right hand.
When you are working scales, chords / cadences and arpeggios you could go through this checklist and find that each are is being improved with piano playing. I am not saying piano playing is the only activity that would improve these areas -- no, not the only one, but a good one:
1. working the brain: right / left
2. working the fingers - obviously
3. eye co-ordination - with your inner eye you are projecting how it should be and with your physical eyes you are observing
4. ear control - you know how you want the sound to be and are imagining this sound with your inner ear and then your physical ears are checking up, that it all actually turned out the way you imagined it
5. oh yes, you are working with imagination!
6. you are projecting your emotion into the tune
7. you are raising your emotion as you relax more and more into the music - the scales - the tune you are playing
8. you are detaching from problems of daily life while playing or practicing piano
9. you are breathing with the pulse of the music you are playing
10. you are adjusting your heart rate up or down; in my opinion, piano playing regardless of the piece or speed, it is relaxing -- even if you play a piece in top speed, your heart rate is not necessarily flying with your piece. You adjust your heart rate by breathing and practicing with the metronome, counting out loudly so you know your count and playing aligns perfectly with the metronomic clicks.
11. So it is important to practice breathing, relaxing arms, shoulders, upper, lower arms lose wrist, hands just enough tension to maintain effortlessly good pianistic hand position.
12. Sit upright, comfortably feeling slight body weight over your feet (well grounded), upper body / shoulders lose - your body is lose enough to vibrate with the sounds you are making - to tune in - in contrast if you are all stiff, shrug shoulders and tense your sound will be wooden and have no ring, or it will sound forced.
13. Think of the beauty and quality of your sounds, the music you are playing. - the esthetics in your playing.

This is what I can tell you today about the importance of playing piano.
Playing Piano is an important and creative step in your daily life.
Enjoy, Eva

How I gave my family a digital detox

I came across this fantastic article and decided to share it. It is so important to included music, communication, reading and just being there together, rather than just staring at TV or some videos games - or computers. As I am recently saying more and more often:  If everyone would play piano, the world would be a better place!
Please, read the article:

The family dramatically increased their enjoyment of music, conversation . . . and sleep

The first day of The Experiment I wake up to a peaceful, almost Zen-like atmosphere in the house. No MTV blaring. No burst of computer- generated anti-aircraft fire from Bill’s room. No pinging, bleeping or — barring the birds outside — chirping of any kind to spoil the quiet.
The background buzz of technology in the household has gone. It feels good.
The only upset is that 14-year-old Sussy has left home. She’s not happy about the new regime and has packed up her gadgets and gone to stay with a friend.
Anni and her friend laugh when they come home at 8pm to find Bill and I eating supper together on the terrace (he’d usually be found hunched over a bowl of cereal or instant noodles in his room as he played his computer games). Anni says it’s ‘creepy’.
I wrote my newspaper column in longhand today. Painful to hand and head. How I miss MS Word and Google! I’m going to have to go to a local cafe to transpose everything on to my laptop then email it.
Had a fight with Anni about dirty dishes

Read more: