I'm operating the titles for Onegin! There is a first time for everything, and this is it. I had my first go at it yesterday. Rather fun. Keeping breathing with the singers, same as playing, to synchronise the words as much as possible. I got carried away watching them at some points though and almost lost the plot with the titles.. So need to watch out hehe! Difficult, because they all are doing such an amazing job, I just don't want to take my eyes off them!
This is a complete personal take in the subject, the blog title should probably be rephrased as "me (or the professional musician part of me) and politics. On the other hand, corruption is not politics, it's a perversion and an abuse than some people in the political power sphere are committing/have allegedly committed. So maybe my two words title should be renamed on the other side as well.
Jokes aside, what is going on at the moment in Spain is so absurd, so embarrassing, and makes me feel so impotent, that I couldn't avoid voicing myself out there, shouting through the typed silence of cyberspace. AKA twitting, and in this case blogging.
I always intended to keep this site and the linked twitter account, as an "online-portfolio" and therefore not interfering with other aspects of my private life. But the moment Spain is living now is so critical, that not voicing myself, not expressing my indignation, seemed to be a passive nod to the situation. And that is just beyond me. Things have to change drastically and immediately in Spain. We must do something. We owe it to ourselves. Continuing using the media means, this is an online Petition
asking the main PP (people's party- what an euphemism!) leaders to resign. Goal is a million signatures, as of the moment I'm writing 752,057 have already done it.
We must do something.
This is the least I can do.
I was planning on doing an introduction about how modern technologies are such a big part of our lives. However, not only might that sound redundant and obvious, I was really getting stuck and not going ahead with the writing. When the important part of this post, is to mention some of the wonderful resources the digital era and the internet have brought with themselves.
First of all a forum I've subscribed recently, Piano Street. Very friendly community of pianists, professional and amateur that share their views, concerns and ask questions to the community! There is also the possibility to upload videos and get feedback in the "Audition Room". It makes me really happy to see that so many people enjoy music and specifically piano, and how despite the distance we can help each other and share. (My user name is maitea if you want to find me there. )
Youtube is no longer something none really knows about.. Moreover is something most of us would not be able to deal without! But it's barely 8 years old! Obviously as in the preceding paragraph, many young musicians use it to upload their work. Some have grown into "superstars" thanks to it, like Valentina Lisitsa, but also, thanks to the generosity of many "donors", we can see/hear, wonderful material that would be otherwise quite difficult to access to! Recordings of Cortot, Casadesus, Novaes, Yudina.. and so many more!And two of my favourite findings: Rubinstein teaching Chopin 1st Ballade and Gyorgy Sebok, whom I've only "met" through youtube, but I consider a profound inspiration. There was a documentary of his online, but I seem not to be able to find it now.
Other common and incredible resources are Spotify (although not free anymore) or imslp! (What would I do without imslp, I really don't know!) However my last mention (I've always been told, three is the magic number), so my third and last reference is to Skype! Not that obvious at first right? Well, after few requests of former students no longer living in the UK, I gave my first lesson through Skype some days ago! And hey! It was quite a success! As I explain in the teaching page, it is not the same. By definition, it can't be. But it also works, and depending on the needs, interests, availability, then it might be what works.
So, despite being an analogical musician I'm tuned to technologies ;)
Happy New Year!
Ok, a slightly belated one.. But still, first week of term! And what a week!
Things have kicked in fast with Onegin rehearsals as well as opera scenes in the Royal Academy ( Don Pasquale and Turandot!). Legal Harmony and DsSq have had their first term rehearsals too, and I'm about to see my students in couple of hours. Plus I've started to walk-should I say trot?- at the London-pace again. Definitely Christmas time is gone!
2013 has started fully energized with lots of projects coming up, including competitions, concerts and my first masterclass as a teacher! I'll be diligently posting about it all. :) Besides, if time permits, I intend to open a new section on learning resources in the website that hopefully you'll find useful!
Wishing you All a marvellous year full of music!
Yesterday I had my last Christmas Concert with two of my Choirs! And how wonderful that was!
But not going to touch the music and or technical side of it (though I'm massively proud of what we have achieved, and enthusiastic and passionate about the journey we have ahead of us). However, what has really stirred me is the "human touch", the connection with the people, the people I consider now my people, almost like a second family. It is a different kind of bond, but one of the nicest and warmest kind, when people put their time, trust, emotions into singing with you, and you create something together. I cannot really explain in words how joyful I felt yesterday, how much They mean to me, and how much I'm looking forward to torment them in the New Year! :)
Thank you All!
This has been last week's read, and what a good one it was! Not only is it informative and inspiring, it is written with a nice lively pace and humorous tone so rare in this specialized genre.
In case the photo is not good enough: Notes from the Pianist's Bench from Boris Berman.
It distils passion and love for music and piano in every single page, talking from his perspective as a performer and as a teacher. Whilst he goes "technical" at times, it is easy to follow, and I would recommend it even to younger students. I definitely wish I had read this ten years ago. :) (As we always do, wishing things were done by yesterday!)
Little blog post: check, diary update: check. Saturday piano practice.. here we go!
Hope you all have a nice weekend,
Finally I took the time to upload a little bit of the work done during the Young Conductors Development Programme with Milton Keynes City Orchestra led by Sian Edwards. It was a terrific weekend where we had the opportunity to work fantastic music with a great teacher and orchestra. And I made friends for life.
This is Crisantemi by G. Puccini, not one of his most famous works, but a truly beautiful one.
Yes indeed! You'll have more awareness, you'll be calmer, will breath better and with the music, and you'll play freer than you ever did before. You will sound better.
I didn't approach yoga as early as I should have and until very recently any sort of advice I received along those lines was more or less quickly rejected with the usual "I have no time for that", or "I rather practice [piano] more". I was sceptic, didn't believe it could affect my playing and didn't have time to waste.
It is another silly excuse, but probably the fact that such a recommendation would't come directly from a musician didn't help! Alas, we can be so blind sometimes...
Yoga has a profound effect both in your body and mind, and consequently it will show in the way you play. Yoga brings together mind and body in one, and is precisely that unity, that coherence in oneself that we need to have in order to truly let the music flow from us, and through us.
I could go on and on , but I want to keep it really brief and hopefully effective, the main message being, TRY IT! Moreover, you don't need to spend a fortune committing months in a studio or gym if you are not ready for it; there are plenty of fantastic tutorials online to awaken your curiosity and help doing the first and most important steps!
This is my little contribution. I have to thank my piano teacher Laura Roberts for having shown it to me.
I'll finish with some links: this is the Yoga Journal with plenty of info and here goes a Sun Salutation with Esther Ekhart. It can take as little as 10 minutes a day, but it will make such a difference! You can take my word for it!
As I said earlier.. Try it!
Ps. I have no shares with either the Yoga Journal or Esther! They are two online resources that I like :)
After about 6 months of neglect, I'm back into the blogging mode, at least I will try my best. There are always many topics to be discussed, musical and non musical alike. Specially now that the situation in my home country is getting so desperate and crying out loud through the internet seems to be the only thing one can do from the distance. At least to redeem a bit of guilt.
However, after such a long time without writing a single line, I need a bit of time to get back to it con tutta forza and since I have thoroughly enjoyed this week's reading, I'm going to focus on that.
I got out of the Royal Academy library Harmony in Context A new approach to understanding harmony without conventional exercises, by Paul Steinitz and Stella Sterman. I have to say that it did not disappoint. The book is written in a concise but friendly manner, and it precisely does what it promises, contextualizing the use of the different harmonic devises through the scope of musical history. I found specially uplifting to see that it doesn't focus in mere nomenclature of chords, but in the functionality of harmony, revising it's real usage by the composers. The book inspires curiosity for harmonic syntax, rather than being an aseptic chord (-progression) list.
Apart from the examples provided in the book, there is a separate workbook with a set of very interesting exercises, based mostly on musical excerpts, that I think make of this method quite a hands on one. I fully recommend.
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