Music Is Portable!
Not the piano, the player.
It is something that goes with you your entire lifetime.
Music Is Portable!
Not the piano, the player.
It is something that goes with you your entire lifetime.
This article is reprinted from our publication “The Piano Times,” in honor of Beethoven, who died on March 26, 1827.
Are musical audiences more exacting today than they used to be? In some respects, it would seem that the answer is in the affirmative. At all events, the master pianists of today who make the grand tour are so worn out with the sheer physical stress of travel at the end of the season that they are obliged to spend the greater part of their summer vacation in recuperating. Nevertheless, we do not today expect pianists to improvise on a given theme, as both Beethoven and Mozart were expected to do; in fact, we do not expect modern pianists to shine as composers, nor composers to be brilliant pianists. The following account of how Beethoven played is extracted from an article by Henri Kling in Le Guide Musical, an excellent musical journal published in the early part of the twentieth century in Belgium.
From his adolescence, Beethoven possessed a virtuosity of the first order. During the first years he was in Vienna from 1795 to 1814, Beethoven often had occasion to display his talents. It was thus that on the 29th of March, 1795, Beethoven lent his assistance to the Society of Musical Artists, and played for the first time his Concerto in C Major, Op. 15. A Viennese critic characterized the playing of Beethoven in the following terms: “His playing is bold, brilliant, full of impetuosity that at times compromised his clearness. He shone above all in his improvisations, in which he excelled admirably. Since the death of Mozart, who, for me, remains the non plus ultra, I have not experienced artistic delight comparable to that which Beethoven has given me.”
On the 22nd of December, 1808, Beethoven gave a recital at the Theater an der Wien, in which he interpreted for the first time his Concerto in E-flat Major, Op. 73. An amusing incident recorded by Spohr in his Memories marks this memorable performance. “Beethoven,” he says, “played a new concerto of his own, but after the first Initi, forgot that he was the soloist; he raised his hands and commenced to conduct with them. At the first sforzando, he threw his arms so violently to the right and left that he knocked down the two candlesticks placed on the piano. The audience laughed, and this put Beethoven in such a temper that he stopped the orchestra and made it begin over again. Fearing that the same accident might happen a second time, Seyfried, the conductor, had two small boys stand on each side of Beethoven, each holding a candlestick. One of these youngsters approached the master in good faith, his eyes following the music. When the fatal sforzando was again reached, however, he received from Beethoven’s right hand such a resounding blow that he was terrified, and the poor boy allowed the candlestick to fall. The other boy, with greater wisdom, had anxiously followed the movements of the master, and by dodging quickly had luckily managed to avoid the blow. If the audience had laughed at the previous mishap, it fairly exploded at this one. Beethoven became so furious that on the first chord at which the solo again entered, he broke half a dozen piano strings! All the attempts on the part of music lovers in the hall to obtain silence were in vain. Thus the first allegro of the concerto was entirely lost upon the audience.”
After the fashion of Mozart, Beethoven played only his own works in public; he composed five concertos for piano and orchestra which are admirable masterpieces in this style of composition. One should also mention the Fantasia in C Minor for piano, chorus, and orchestra.
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From Guest Blogger Lucas Denzer:
An amazingly talented professional piano player once told me, “There is no such thing as wrong notes, only notes that sound wrong.” At the heart of what he is saying, I believe he understands something about the true purpose and essence of music. Though music contains many similarities to mathematics, and many like to make the obvious comparisons, music serves a much more eloquent purpose. Music is arguably the deepest language we have, for it can communicate with great feeling, emotion, depth, and fervor where words can too often fail. It does not have to have a right or wrong answer.
Music to me will always be a time-based art; it is fleeting by nature. It is something that is experienced over time, and ever-changing, which makes it more powerful and more precious. Perhaps the most important aspect of music is that it does not mean the same thing to everyone. People have differing opinions about it, everyone is affected by it differently, and most importantly, justifiably so. Music is so big, that it can accommodate the whims and desires of the most deserving as well as the most careless, and yet retains an inexhaustible source of influence in almost any capacity imaginable.
As Stravinsky once said:
“I know that the twelve notes in each octave and the variety of rhythm offer me opportunities that all of human genius will never exhaust.”
The Piano Outlet thanks today’s blog contributor Lucas Denzer, a pianist, educator, and composer with 17 years of experience in teaching, performing, and composing music. He has a degree in Music Technology from the University of Oregon, and his talents and style are a welcome addition to the Central Coast region.
Thank you for visiting us at www.thePianoOutletCo.com, your source for music with good new and used acoustic pianos and new digital keyboards for sale in Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Nipomo, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Southern California and the Central Coast, and throughout San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, Los Angeles County, and beyond!
Musician Lucas Denzer will be conducting a FREE seminar at the Piano Outlet in Nipomo, 485 N. Frontage Road (off the 101 at the Tefft St. exit), this Thursday, April 5th, 2012, from 6:00 until 7:00 p.m., on “Introduction to Music Fundamentals, Reading, and Standard Notation.”
This informative session will be repeated on April 19th, May 3rd, and May 17th.
Lucas has 17 years of musical experience in teaching, performance and composition. He studied at University of Oregon and graduated with a degree in Music Technology. His experience and unique style is an asset to the Central Coast region and The Piano Outlet of Nipomo, CA, welcomes his talents.
To plan appropriately, RSVP’s are requested; call the store at (805) 929-8901.
Thank you for visiting us at www.thePianoOutletCo.com, your source for learning piano with good new and used acoustic pianos and new digital keyboards for sale in Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Nipomo, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Southern California and the Central Coast, and throughout San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, Los Angeles County, and beyond!
NPR’s “Fresh Aire” program recently had an interview with Jonah Lehrer, a science writer whose new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, looks at where creativity and innovative thoughts come from and what some companies are doing to create an environment that fosters that creativity. One company he mentions is 3M, where “every engineer has an hour a day to do whatever they want: whether that’s work on a side project or simply tinker with a hobby.”
Lehrer told interviewer Dave Davies that creative insight has two aspects – that the insight comes “out of the blue” (a “flash” of insight) and that the person feels sure that the insight is correct or valid. Musicians often spend hours being creative, and the “Fresh Aire” story illustrates two examples of composers / songwriters capturing musical magic:
Beethoven would try as many as 70 different versions of a musical phrase before settling on the right one. But other great ideas seem to come out of the blue. Bob Dylan, for example, came up with the lyrics to the chorus for “Like a Rolling Stone” soon after telling his manager that he was creatively exhausted and ready to bail from the music industry. After going to an isolated cabin, Dylan got an uncontrollable urge to write and spilled out his thoughts in dozens of pages — including the lyrics to the iconic song.
Mr. Lehrer also talked about the brilliant cellist Yo-Yo Ma:
“For Yo-Yo, it’s about learning how to relax. He told me this great story where before he goes out on stage, he often thinks about Julia Child. And at first, I was like, ‘Why Julia Child?’ And he tells this great story about Julia Child making a roast chicken and it looked beautiful and she was talking to the camera and the chicken would just fall off the plate, onto the floor. And he said, ‘Did she make this look of horror? Did she scream? No, the smile never left her face. She picked up the chicken, dusted it off and just went on with the show.’ And he said that’s an inspiring story to think about when you’re in the middle of performance, because you’re going to make a mistake and your attitude has to be, ‘I welcome that first mistake because now I’m free.’”
Can you imagine how wonderful it would be for companies to have beautiful grand or upright pianos available for their employees to use to relax and let their minds be free to create? 3M, are you listening?
Check out the “Fresh Aire” story online at npr.org:
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A recent study, reviewed by online service Faculty of 1000 Biology and Medicine, concluded that “practicing a musical instrument connects and develops the motor systems of the brain, refining the entire neurological system in ways that can’t be done through any other activity.” Imagine that! Learning to play the piano can help your brain think better!
Many studies through the years have found similar data, that playing a musical instrument helps you in so many ways, including using your brain. Dr. Richard Haier, a University of California Irvine professor of pediatric neurology, said, “In some ways, the brain is like a muscle.” Well, you know what happens when you go to the gym and work out. Your muscles get stronger and work better, and you can do more. Your brain needs a workout too. Have you exercised your mind today? Practice the piano!
Thank you for visiting us at www.thePianoOutletCo.com, your source for new and good used acoustic upright and grand pianos, new digital pianos, and piano benches for sale in Oxnard (and greater Southern California), Nipomo (and the Central Coast), and throughout San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, Los Angeles County, and beyond!
It’s funny how, when reflecting on childhood memories, some adults recall the piano as a monstrous creature sitting in a corner of the living room. The piano (or, more likely, the teacher) may have become a symbol to us of anxiety and fear, especially on piano lesson days. Even at an early age, we may have vowed never to subject anyone else to this form of “punishment.”
Today, as parents, we look at our children and wonder if those little hands of theirs aren’t just the right size to take the world by storm. “Maybe this kid’s going to feel the need to play the blues someday. Or maybe Brahms!” And for ourselves (whether we have kids or not), a voice inside may be saying: “It’s time to stop merely listening to music. It’s time to give yourself another chance.”
As we get close to Halloween, when ghost and goblins and monsters in costume abound, why not get a “monster” of your own—a piano—to put in your living room? Get over your fears and make some beautiful music!
Thank you for visiting us at www.thePianoOutletCo.com, your source for new and good used acoustic pianos, new digital pianos, and piano benches for sale in Oxnard (and greater Southern California), Nipomo (and the Central Coast), and throughout San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, Los Angeles County, and beyond!
Students are heading back to school now, and many of them will begin piano, or other music, lessons. We applaud you if your children are among those taking up an instrument, since various studies continue to affirm the benefits that learning to play music provides. A piano student is required to use his or her aural, visual, and tactile senses all at the same time, which trains these young people to have better concentration and attention and helps the neural pathways in their brains to function at a higher level. There are social and cultural advantages to learning music as well.
Part of our business philosophy as a piano retail store is to help you, the parent, find the best instrument for your child at an affordable price as she or he learns to play. However, once the instrument is purchased (or rented), parents play an ongoing and important role in the success of their children’s piano lessons through the attitude they take towards practicing and learning.
How do you feel about music study for your child? There are a couple of possible extreme attitudes, one being “My child is going to have music whether he likes it or not!” This is a “cram it down their throat” approach. Sometimes the child may be successful, but it’s usually in spite of the parent, not because of him or her. The opposite extreme is “We’re going to give our child the opportunity to learn music, and if she doesn’t like it, she can quit because we’re not going to force it on her.”
There are many things that children don’t like to do but need to learn as they grow up, such as eating properly, brushing their teeth, going to school, getting enough sleep, making healthy choices, etc., and caring parents help their children to understand that these activities are good for them and provide a lifelong benefit to them. These parents are firm in setting behavior standards, no matter how much crying, whining, or excuse-making the child may try. Along the same line, music lessons are good for children and provide many benefits to them for years to come. Learning an instrument takes time and practice. If you are willing to help your children past the tough parts in music study, much more than music will be learned. Help them to be successful, not only in music, but in life.
Thank you for visiting us at www.thePianoOutletCo.com, your source for new and good used pianos for sale in Oxnard and Nipomo, and throughout Ventura County, Los Angeles County, Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County, and beyond!
In his foreword to Larry Fine’s The Piano Book, Keith Jarrett says that:
Pianos are complicated instruments. Some have deep, dark secrets, some have sunny dispositions, some have no secrets at all. There are pianos with a grey, metallic “European” sound; some with a stringier but brilliant “American” sound; some with a laser-sharp, “straight” “Japanese” sound. There are pianos with a wealth of overtones, and some with very few; some thick-sounding instruments, some thin and weak but interesting. But if a dozen people were asked to draw pianos, they would almost all look the same.
What piano sound do you prefer? And how would you describe it? Does your piano have any “secrets”?
Many piano professionals would say that Yamahas have a “bright” sound, whereas Kawai pianos are “warmer.” American pianos tend to have a big, full sound, as do many European pianos. Obviously, the size and type (vertical or grand) of piano make a big difference in sound, as do the age of the instrument and the acoustics of the room its in (size; carpeted or bare floors, for example). Has it been tuned regularly? Has a technician done any voicing to the instrument?
Keith Jarrett is right; pianos are complicated instruments, ones that transform wood and strings and all the thousands of intricate parts and pieces within them into wonderful, complex sounds and beautiful music.
Thank you for visiting us at www.thePianoOutletCo.com, your source for new and good used pianos for sale in Oxnard and Nipomo, and throughout San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, Los Angeles County, and beyond!