The latest series of new piano music books from ABRSM promises “great arrangements for easy piano”. Does it deliver?
Continue reading ABRSM “Piano Mix”
Guest Post by Evelina de Lain
Evelina de Lain writes of her background growing up in the former USSR, the serious injury that stopped her piano playing career in its tracks, her discovery of jazz, and how she finally overcame her injury to become a successful professional pianist with a growing international career…
Continue reading Overcoming Injury – A Personal Story
The Awakened Soul, aka Apo Malo, has been producing and sharing fine piano improvisations on SoundCloud for several years, and was one of the first friends I made when I joined the site a few years ago. His music has a depth and spirituality which I believe readers here will appreciate.
Regarding this piece, Apo writes:
“Amidst the confusion of the times, the conflicts of conscience, and the turmoil of daily living, an abiding faith becomes an anchor to our lives.”
– Thomas S. Monson
This piece came to me when I eventually calmed the inner conflicts within my soul. Enjoy this improvisation!
A wonderful sentiment – and brilliantly conveyed in the music!
Follow: The Awakened Soul on SoundCloud
The Fermata Series
“You may be capable of great things,
But life consists of small things.”
Deng Ming Dao is a popular contemporary writer whose meditation books have a Daoist emphasis – I’ve quoted from him before, and no doubt will again as he is a source of tremendous wisdom.
I highly recommend all his books, and the best-selling ‘365 Tao’ is a great place to start, offering a thought a day throughout the year.
Today’s thought is, I think, of particular relevance to musicians. Here’s an extract, which I hope you will enjoy reflecting on:
“Big things seldom come along.
One should know the small as well as the big.
We may all yearn to make lasting achievements and to be heroes, but life seldom affords us the opportunities to do so. Most of our days consist of small things – the uneventful meditations, the ordinary cooking of meals, the banal trips to work, the quiet scratching in the garden – and it is from these small things that the larger events of our lives are composed.
The master musician’s best composition is but one work in a sea of musical tones. If we want to be successful, it is the small things that we should pay attention to.
We must not fall in the trap of waiting so long for the big things that we let numerous small chances slip right by us. People who do this are forever waiting for life to be perfect. They complain that fate is against them, that the world does not recognise their greatness. If they would lower their sights, they would see all the beautiful opportunities waiting at their feet. If they would humble themselves enough to bend down, they could scoop untold treasures up into their hands.”
Tammy Howarth composed this while a second year student at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.
I first heard Tammy’s original music posted on SoundCloud before she had finished schooling in Pembrokeshire, and was immediately struck by her originality and talent.
“Aftermath” is a deeply reflective piece, its engaging melody underpinned by subtle arrangement and production. Unlike many pieces in a so-called “post-minimal” style, the arrangement never becomes too much, drowning out the core piano content … it’s this musical sensitivity, restraint and sophistication that I find particularly striking and appealing.
I hope you enjoy this too!
Follow: Tammy Howarth on SoundCloud
I am delighted to welcome Karen Marshall, the co-author of the excellent “Get Set! Piano” series and compiler of the ABRSM Encore books, as a regular contributor on the Pianodao site. In this, Karen’s first post here, she explores the importance of personalised teaching…
Continue reading Karen Marshall: “Bespoke Teaching”
The journalist Jeremy Nicholas interviewed legendary pianist Jorge Bolet back in 1977, and among other things asked him why “The Romantic Pianist” seemed already by then to have vanished.
Bolet’s reply was prescient, and perhaps even more relevant today than it was in the 1970s. Here is his response:
Continue reading Jorge Bolet on competitions
The Sunday Sounds feature will occasionally feature my own original piano compositions, and it seems fitting to begin where I myself started.
This piece was improvised late one night some years ago. Listening back to it I realised that the structure and musical content was satisfactory without any editing, and when I subsequently set up my own SoundCloud account, it was the first piano track that I ever shared.
From the start, it has proved popular with listeners, and if this is your first encounter with it, I hope you will enjoy the piece!
Follow: Andrew Eales on SoundCloud
Pianodao is FREE to all, but funded with the help of reader donations.
Supporters enjoy extra benefits by joining The Pianodao Tea Room.
Guest Author Mark Polishook takes a look at the benefits of weight-based piano technique, with reference to boxing, martial arts and … cherry tomatoes.
Continue reading Piano Technique, Weight in Motion, Boxing, Taichichuan and The Cherry Tomato
Manchester based pianist and composer Terry Robinson says of this beautiful composition:
My wife bought a fabulous original watercolour painting of purple poppies and she left it on the music stand of my piano. As I sat down to practice I gazed at the painting and improvised this track. It has two aspects – the present day image of poppies blowing in the wind and the associated remembrance of soldiers who died in battle.
I recorded the improvisation and practised it until I could play the left hand part without it sounding too amateurish – at the end of recording the track my left hand felt about ready to fall off!
It’s a great track! Have a listen:
Follow: Terry Robinson on SoundCloud