“Eastern Preludes Collection” – Christopher Norton

Sheet Music Review

Christopher Norton is – very deservedly – one of the most famous and beloved educational composers alive today. Perhaps best known for his ground-breaking and million-selling ‘Microjazz’ series, which is one of the most widely used educational series ever, he has added many other outstanding collections to his list of publications.

His piano “Preludes” series is a particular favourite, with previous collections including ‘Jazz Preludes’, ‘Rock Preludes’, ‘Latin Preludes’ and ‘Country Preludes’.  To these, Christopher recently added ‘Eastern Preludes Collection’.

The concept behind this publication is as simple as it is innovative. As stated on the back cover:

Continue reading “Eastern Preludes Collection” – Christopher Norton

“Inside Life” – Bruno Sanfilippo

Sunday Sounds

An artist I came to know on SoundCloud a few years ago, I immediately fell in love with Bruno’s music when I first heard it. It’s a winning combination of minimal piano music with classical sensitivities and the electronics of Brian Eno’s ambient work.

Bruno’s site describes himself thus:

“Bruno Sanfilippo is a classically trained musician and composer. His focus alternates between the exploration of minimalist piano concepts and electroacoustic music. He is obsessed with the search for new and unique qualities in music – the amazing, the magical and the deep. In dreams, there’s no imagined thing that’s too absurd, too strange, and Bruno Sanfilippo’s music comes from that inexhaustible and shameless source.”

“Inside Life” is a 7 track CD release that came out a while ago. It offers a warm welcome to Bruno’s sound world, and I hope you will feel yourself immersed as I do when listening to these beautiful tracks.

Cello: Julián Kancepolski
Analog Mastered by Ian Hawgood · Tokio
Artwork & layout by Andy Ruggia · Buenos Aires

Follow: Bruno Sanfilippo on SoundCloud

Sunday Sounds showcases great keyboard music featuring players past and present, from classic recordings to great new music discoveries.

The “People Person” Piano Teacher

Guest Post by Karen Marshall

In memory of Enid Oughtibridge, 1993

A number of years ago I wrote an article for Music Teacher Magazine after interviewing a large number of children on a theme of ‘what makes a good music lesson or music teacher’. It became pretty clear that the teacher’s personality was just as important (if not more important) than their subject knowledge.

Time and time again students would talk about the importance of the teacher making them feel ‘liked’, showing interest in them and simply ‘smiling’ on their arrival in lessons.

In this blog I want to share with you my experience with one of my teachers, who I feel was a powerful influence in my teaching career and the ultimate in being a ‘people person piano teacher’.

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Recovery from Injury: Alicja Fiderkiewicz

Following on from the recent interview with Evelina de Lain in which she talked about her recovery from a serious piano playing injury, I am delighted to talk to Alicja Fiderkiewicz, an internationally renowned  classical concert pianist who has experienced her own trauma with injury, which you can read about in this article from The Telegraph.

To provide more background before exploring Alicja’s recovery from injury, I wanted to find out more about her piano journey, starting with her lessons as a child growing up in Poland and Soviet Russia:

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Let’s talk about our practice expectations

Pathways for Teaching

Lack of practice is an issue that most piano players grapple with at some point – and it is something that teachers don’t always handle graciously and with understanding.

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“Solo” – Oliver Sadie

Sunday Sounds

Oliver Sadie was one of the first musicians whose piano recordings I discovered when I joined SoundCloud a few years ago, and with whom I connected in those earlier, more “community” oriented days on the platform.

One aspect of Oliver’s musical development which has inspired many is his ability to provide a complete “package” – not simply great music, but also well played, beautifully recorded and packaged. These reveal the skills and dedication of a true professional, and it has been a pleasure to see over the years how his subsequent career as an upcoming award-winning media composer has developed.

An irony is that although Oliver has worked so hard to develop his career, his music comes easily and naturally.

He is one of the most talented free improvisers I know of outside of jazz, effortlessly playing, recording and performing fully-formed piano works with the spontaneity that comes from genuine talent, and with an appeal that has naturally attracted a huge following.

“Solo” is a track in which Oliver returns to this simple ethos.

Follow: Oliver Sadie on SoundCloud

Sunday Sounds showcases great keyboard music featuring players past and present, from classic recordings to great new music discoveries.

Year of the Fire Monkey

The Chinese New Year officially starts on February 8th 2016, marking the start of the Year of the Fire Monkey. So what is the background to this ancient tradition, and what (if anything) might it mean for the year ahead?

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Social Media and Feelings of Inadequacy

Following on from her well-received post “Am I Really Good Enough“, guest author Frances Wilson turns her focus to the impact that social media can have on our view of ourselves…

Continue reading Social Media and Feelings of Inadequacy

Iconoclasts, Shibboleths, Paul Bley and Pierre Boulez

Classical composer and conductor Pierre Boulez passed within a week of the influential jazz pianist Paul Bley… in this brilliant in-depth article, guest author Mark Polishook considers the impact that both musicians had on the music of the 20th century and beyond…

Continue reading Iconoclasts, Shibboleths, Paul Bley and Pierre Boulez

Fivos Valachis: “My Musical Diary”

Sunday Sounds

This week, I am sharing a compilation of some of my favourite pieces by Greek pianist and composer, Fivos Valachis, whom I have had the pleasure of knowing online for a few years now. He is a musician for whom I have the utmost respect.

Fivos also has an interesting “piano journey” story to tell, which I will let him share in his own words while you enjoy listening to his music:

“Born in Athens (Greece) in 1959, crossroad of Western and Eastern culture, I learnt as a child to appreciate both classical and popular culture.

In 1967, I fell in love with the piano, beginning the study of the instrument. My adolescent years were years of continuous curiosity and musical experimentation, moving from folk music to hard rock, from pop / rock to classical music. These were also the years that I composed my first “rudimentary” pieces and songs. And I learnt to also play the guitar, accordion, bouzouki and baglama.

In 1977, after finishing High School, I concluded my studies in classical piano at the Conservatory of Athens and then moved to Turin, Italy for graduate studies in Computer Science. As I continued my studies I also played as a pianist in piano-bar, taught piano and harmony, and worked as a private freelance musician. 1978, I was the winner of second prize of UNESCO’s International Competition for original music for children. 1981, parallel to the university, I graduated in jazz technique and improvisation with teacher Giorgio Gaslini.

For the next 20 years, for personal reasons, I largely retired into the background, but composed Greek and Italian songs and music for advertising under a pseudonym. At the same time I continued to compose neo-classical piano music, and gave small private concerts for up to 50 people.

In May 2013 I woke up and decided to share my musical diary not only with friends and family, but through the internet with everyone using SoundCloud   and streaming concerts on YouTube. The effect of this decision on my life was unimaginable: new contacts with great musicians, 21 charity concerts in one year in Italy, and many new friends around the world.”

Fivos is indeed a musician who has taken the internet with both hands and found a way to share his wonderful music far and wide. In the process he has gained an enthusiastic and large international audience.

Follow: Fivos Valachis on SoundCloud

Sunday Sounds showcases great keyboard music featuring players past and present, from classic recordings to great new music discoveries.