A former student from France recently spent a weekend with us while she was in the States on vacation. We had a lot of years to catch up on, enjoyed good food and wine, and found some time to play four-hand music. Four-hand music is fun to play, but it can be notoriously awkward because not only are two pianists sharing the same piano, they are often sharing the same segment of the keyboard. It occurred to me that, in spite of the awkwardness, the sharing of space has worked well with everyone with whom I’ve ever played – with one glaring exception. Continue reading
I know that I promised mirror neurons in the next post, but we have the following from someone who has not only won a major international competition but has also served as a member of the jury at an international competition. Paavali Jumppanen is an internationally-known Finnish pianist, winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 2001. He sent the following in response to the first “listening or watching” post.
I hate to admit it, but I played the electronic game Simon for years before I realized it was possible to play it by the colors, not by the pitches. I knew the red, blue, yellow, and green buttons each corresponded to a certain pitch and flashed when that pitch sounded, but it simply never occurred to me to remember the sequences by color. For me, the game wasn’t visual, it was auditory – I memorized the pitch sequences. I still remember my amazement when I learned that it could be played by color, not sound. Continue reading
Imagine being Brahms in 1889 and being the first composer/performer to be able to hear a recording of your own playing, as well as hearing your own voice. Granted, the quality of the wax cylinder was terrible, but hearing a piano performance coming from a machine, rather than producing it yourself or seeing it being produced by another person, must have felt a bit disembodied. Music, after all, had always been about a person using movement to create sound. Continue reading