What would you like to do if you live to 99 years old? Irving Fields is almost a century young and he is still playing piano! As a seasoned New Yorker, Irving has played piano for more than 90 years. He has performed all around the world, including the Taj Mahal, Imperial Hotel in Tokyo and the Copacobana in New York City among many others. He has also performed on the Ed Sullivan Show, the Jackie Gleason show, and ABC’s The View! Check out this video featuring Irving as he tells us what he loves most about doing what he loves most. Published in 2014
Hearing your child play music is one of the most wonderful sounds in the world! Imagine your son or daughter sitting down at the piano and playing beautifully. Classical music, Jazz, music for holidays and celebrations. Envision you child really playing, really enjoying the piano for a lifetime. What better gift could you give? Here are 10 ways to make that dream come true. Continue reading →
School is starting and you may be thinking of signing your child up for piano lessons. Maybe you play yourself and you know how awesome it is or maybe you don’t but you would love for your child to learn. There are many great reasons for your child to learn to play but there may be some things that are holding you back. Let’s take a look at those reservations one by one and how to overcome them, so you can feel comfortable and enroll your child in piano lessons. Continue reading →
If you ave ever studied the piano for any length of time, chances are you’ve played music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach was born on March 21, 1685 in Eisenach, Germany smack-dab in the middle of a supremely musical family! In fact, the Bach family boasts over 50 known musicians and several notable composers. There were so many musical Bachs that in the town of Efurt, all musicians were called “Bachs” (which I guess would make me a “Bach” too). Continue reading →
Studio Policy- An annoying list of rules and expectations that a piano teacher would rather not bother with, usually presented as quickly as possible at the start of lessons, which students and parents may or may not be asked to sign and may or may not adhere to depending on how forcefully the teacher enforces said rules and expectations. The official Studio Policy is often printed on disappearing paper or featured on an obscure page of a Studio website. Either way, nobody likes them.Continue reading →
Before we begin the count-down, let me set a little scene. I am a piano teacher mom so we have a studio in our home. It’s a room that has my Kawai baby grand piano and all of my other music stuff. It’s where I teach all of my students. My boys also like to “practice” in the studio. Which works out just fine. I have always encouraged my boys to practice their instruments. Continue reading →
Most of us have heard of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1795) child prodigy, master performer and composer of over 600 works. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is considered by many to be the greatest musical genius that has ever lived! But there was at least one other musical genius in the Mozart family. Her name was Maria Anna Walburger Ignatia Mozart but she was know by her nick-name Nannerl.
Nannerl Mozart was Wolfgang’s older sister. Many music historians believe that Nannerl was every bit as talented as her younger brother. As children they toured Europe their father Leopold amazing audiences with their talent. Leopold described Nannerl as: “one of the most skillful players in Europe”. Nannerl and Wolfgang both studied music with their father and spent their childhood immersed in music. So what happened to Nannerl?
Maria Anna Walburger Ignatia Mozart (Nannerl) was born on July 30, 1751 in Salzburg Austria. She and her brother Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were the only two surviving children of the seven children born to their parents Anna Maria and Leopold. Nannerl began harpsichord lessons with her father around the age of eight years old. We know that both Wolfgang and Nannerl were extremely gifted players people called them “wunderkinder” which means “wonder children.
In addition to being a brilliant musical genius we can surmise that Nannerl was a hard working and very strong person. She practiced hard and maintained a demanding concert schedule traveling from Paris to Vienna. That might not seem like much today but back in the 1700’s transportation meant riding in horse and carriage, a slow and uncomfortable way to go. As a child Nannerl also survived smallpox, typhus, and almost died of bronchitis.
Nannerl continued performing until the age of 18 when she was left behind and no longer allowed to continue with her musical performances. At that time it was considered acceptable for female children to play in public, but public performance was considered a distasteful endeavor for grown women. Composing music was also a taboo for women at that time. So Nannerl’s musical career was ended before it had a chance to really begin.
We know from letters and writings that Nannerl and Wolfgang were very close. We also know that she did write at least one song. In al letter the younger Mozart wrote, “I am amazed, I had no idea you were capable of composing in such a gracious way! In a word your lied is beautiful. I beg you to try to do these things more often.”
Nannerl’s father Leopold was very controlling. Wolfgang stood up to him but Nannerl did not. She fell in love with Franz D’lppold, a captain and private tutor but her father did not allow her to marry him. She later married a magistrate named Johann Baptist Franz von Berentold zu Sonnenberg who had 5 children from his two previous marriages. Together Nannerl and Johann had 3 children. Nannerl named her eldest son after her father. She allowed her father to take him and raise him for the early years of his life. This continued until the older Leopold’s death in 1787. Some people think that the grandfather Leopold may have been trying to turn his grandson into the next great Mozart genius.
In addition to all of her other troubles Nannerl lost her beloved brother Wolfgang in 1791 when he was only 35 years old. I can only imagine that this was a devastating loss for her. She spent her later years teaching music lessons and eventually became blind. She died on October 24, 1829.
No one knows what became of the lied Wolfgang spoke of in his quote,or if Nannerl wrote any other music. Some people like to imagine that she may have written music and that her famous brother presented it as his own but there is no evidence to support this theory.
Things have certainly come along way since Nannerl’s day. In most places women today have many choices about what they would like to do. We can only imagine how much more beautiful Mozart music the world would have if Nannerl would have had the opportunity to become a composer like her brother.
“La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin” is a piece written by the French composer Claude Debussy. 1862-1918 “The name means The Girl With the Flaxen Hair” It is a piece that many of my students have played. Practice hard and you will one day play it too.
Lang Lang was born in Shenyang, Liaoning, China. At the age of two, Lang watched the Tom and Jerry episode The Cat Concerto which features the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Franz Liszt. According to Lang, this first contact with Western music is what motivated him to learn the piano.He began piano lessons with Professor Zhu Ya-Fen at age three. At the age of five, he won first place at the Shenyang Piano Competition and performed his first public recital.
It wasn’t at all easy for this piano great. He was made to practice for hours and hours each day. At the age of nine his teacher stopped teaching him stating that he lacked talent!
Lang Lang did not quit playing and today he is considered the world’s top pianist. He has played concerts all over the world. He has even played at the White House. Lang Lang is considered a piano “virtuoso” which means he can play any piece of music. He is amazing to listen to and to watch.
Students, we can all learn so much from Lang Lang:
First of all, NEVER QUIT! Believe in yourself. Don’t listen to negative people.
Secondly, PRACTICE HARD! If you don’t practice you will never play well. Piano playing is like a perfect equation, what you put into it is exactly what you will get out of it..
PLAY MUSICALLY! It matters how you sound when you play but it also matters how you look. Are you enjoying playing? When you are well prepared and put your heart into your playing it will show. Just look at Lang Lang play, beautiful!
Piano teaching is one of the few completely unregulated jobs left in the U.S.. To be a piano teacher you need not apply for a license or have any specific credentials. Literally anyone can hang out a shingle declare themselves a piano teacher! So it’s important to do your homework when selecting a teacher for your child because finding a great teacher can be tricky. Continue reading →
“Flight of the Bumblebee” is an orchestral interlude written by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan, composed in 1899–1900. The piece closes Act III, Tableau 1, during which the magic Swan-Bird changes Prince Gvidon Saltanovich (the Tsar’s son) into an insect so that he can fly away to visit his father (who does not know that he is alive). wikipedia
This is a piano transcription played by Maksim Mrvica a wonderful Croatian pianist. It happens to be one of my favorite Youtube performances of the piece. It has gotten almost 7 million views!
From time to time we have gotten an awesome guest post from Ms. Neuman and the folks at TakeLessons.com. on our sister site palomapiano.com. This is the first guest post for PianoParents.net and we are all so excited!
TakeLessons.com matches students with teachers. They have an extensive list of qualified teachers that teach just about any subject you can imagine. Do you want to learn Chinese? Does you child need help with math? Would you like to learn to knit? Check out TakeLessons.com. You’ll find a great teacher right in your area or online!
If you are by chance looking for a piano teacher why not log on to TakeLessons.com you’ll find some really great teachers there. Including me!
Without further ado here’s the infographic;
10 Wacky Facts About the World’s Most Famous Piano Players
School will soon be out, summer will soon be here, what does this mean for piano teachers and students?
Summer is finally coming. Great news for kids and school teachers to be sure. But for parents?? Summer can be a mixed blessing. While the pressure of school work being off of children and families is a relief, trying to organize vacations and keep kids busy over the summer can be a challenge. Life for parents is so demanding! It’s tempting to just want to take a break from all of the activities that take place during the school year. I am often asked if students should take piano lessons over the summer
my answer is a resounding yes! Here’s why; Continue reading →
I found this article on Forbes it is very interesting.It’s sure to be music to parents’ ears: After nine months of weekly training in piano or voice, new research shows young students’ IQs rose nearly three points more than their untrained peers
The Canadian study lends support to the idea that musical training may do more for kids than simply teach them their scales–it exercises parts of the brain useful in mathematics, spatial intelligence and other intellectual pursuits
.“With music lessons, because there are so many different facets involved–such as memorizing, expressing emotion, learning about musical interval and chords–the multidimensional nature of the experience may be motivating the [IQ] effect,” said study author E. Glenn Schellenberg E. Glenn Schellenberg , of the University of Toronto at Mississauga. Continue reading →
Is it really necessary to have a teacher? Can’t I just learn to play the piano online? I have yet to come across anyone who has really started as a beginner and has learned to play using a strictly online course. Here are some of the reasons I think it is important to have a teacher; Continue reading →
“What is the best age to start piano lessons?” this is a question I am often asked by parents who dream of giving their child the life long gift of playing the piano. I believe that it is good to start learning the piano at a young age, but how young is too young? and, is it ever too late to begin learning to play the piano? If you ask ten different teachers, you’ll probably get ten different answers, but here are my thoughts about when to begin piano.Continue reading →
Before we begin the count-down, let me set a little scene. I am a piano teacher mom so we have a studio in our home. It’s a room that has my Kawai baby grand piano and all of my other music stuff. It’s where I teach all of my students. My boys also like to “practice” in the studio. Which works out just fine. I have always encouraged my boys to practice their instruments. Well anyway, one day, one of my sons, whom I’ll call Johnny (his real name) was in the studio “practicing” his violin. I had a friend over and she was really impressed with this. “Wow! Johnny is really practicing hard” she said. “No he’s not.” I told her. “What do you mean?” she asked “I hear him, he sounds great”. “OK. Yes, he sounds great”, I told her. “He’s very talented, but he’s not practicing right now, he’s playing, but he’s not practicing” My friend turned her right palm over and raised an eyebrow as if to ask, “What’s the difference?”
Piano Teachers and Piano Parents Take Heart! Encouraging kids to keep going with piano lessons is no easy task. But the benefits of music study are beyond measure. I recently came across a fantastic article on the American Music Parents website. The article is entitled “Preparing children for the Creative Economy” I found it very interesting.
We all know that the worldwide economy is changing, This isn’t the first time, the last change was from a largely agrarian work environment to an industrial one. The work paradigm that Boomers and Gen-xérs grew up with is quickly evaporating. The idea that you study hard go to college and immediately come out and find the job you had been training for is now no guarantee. Today’s young people are entering a new economy, “The Creative Economy”.Continue reading →
Once you have decided on piano lessons for your son or daughter you will need to find a teacher. Fortunately, there are many fine teachers out there. Of course you want to find a good teacher so that your child will learn and have a wonderful experience. This begs the question what is a good teacher? Continue reading →