After having this on my to-do list for YEARS, my web guru husband took the job over for me and uploaded a sampling of my recordings. Click the button below, or visit my recordings page on this website.
Hope you enjoy!
This is my kitty, Jeffrey, who provides constant musical inspiration and comic relief at every piano lesson I teach! Truth be told, Jeffrey makes it very clear that she hates it when I play (the chewed-up blinds in my living room are evidence!), but is always in the room and squinting with approval when all my students play.
Since I introduced "Jeffrey" as a "her" in my first blog post, I thought I would provide a bit of an explanation....
While I was doing my undergraduate degree in piano performance, I accompanied a choir and soloists for Benjamin Britten's "Rejoice in the Lamb". One of the selections is for keyboard and solo soprano, entitled "I will consider my cat Jeoffry":
For I will consider my cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the living God.
Duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance
Of the glory of God in the East
He worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body
Seven times round with elegant quickness.
For he knows that God is his saviour.
For God has bless'd him
In the variety of his movements.
For there is nothing sweeter
Than his peace when at rest.
For I am possessed of a cat,
Surpassing in beauty,
From whom I take occasion
To bless Almighty God.
Sounds nice and sweet, until you realize that these words were written by a man named Christopher Smart who was institutionalized for insanity in the late 18th C. I loved how strange the music and libretto were, and wanted to name my next cat Jeffrey.
Jeffrey lives up to the name quite well. She might be insane, too.
......After all, she decided to put all her toys in the toilet one day...
Don't stop practicing, just because it is summer!
My students at Grace Piano Studio are required to attend lessons from September through May, and have the option to continue with summer lessons. I absolutely support taking a break from lesson from June through August - I need a break, too! But as I send them off to enjoy a few months at the beach, I also send my students away with a few piano assignments:
1. Play at least four to five days a week - even if it is just for fun, and even if it is just for five or ten minutes.
2. Review all the scales, arpeggios, and cadences we have practiced so far, so you won't forget them and have to relearn them.
3. Review your favorite pieces that we learned in the past year, and try to memorize them over the summer.
4. Be thinking of new pieces you would like to learn in the upcoming year.
5. If you have the time and the desire, try to learn a piece or two on your own!
No one likes to have to relearn skills we spent months to perfect! There are more fun and interesting pieces to play the more advanced a pianist you become. Just by playing a few minutes every other day during the summer you will keep your muscles in shape and your brain in the right place - and we'll be ready to hit the ground running again when we start piano lessons again in September.
Have a wonderful summer, everyone at Grace Piano Studio!
Happy birthday to this handsome fella, Robert Schumann (1810-1856), who wrote some of the most well-known and well-loved piano pieces in the classical repertoire. Unlike many other composers, he was a beloved father to his seven children and spent all his married years head-over-heels in love with his wife, Clara. Clara was one of the first women to have a successful career as a concert pianist. And his good friend, Johannes Brahms, helped Clara take care of the kids when Robert died at the age of 46.
Here is a beautiful little piece Mr. Schumann wrote - Arabesque in C Major, performed by the great Vladimir Horowitz.
Michal Grace Harris
Piano Teacher & Accompanist