In February 2013 at the invitation of star conductor Christian Thielemann, the legendary Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini returned after almost 25 years to the Dresden Staatskapelle and gave his first performance at the Dresden Semperoper ever. The celebrated, 70-year-old pianist played Brahms’ 1st Piano Concerto in D minor, Op. 15.
For those who remember the Abbado/Pollini collaboration from 1999 and the Böhm/Pollini from the 1980s in that same work, the Böhm is considered the best in terms of balancing heroic pianism and confessional insight. The new Thielemann collaboration however, displays superior balance and tempi, richness of detail and greater substance in the piano part, often accomplished by Pollini´s dynamically supportive and active left hand structures.
Brahms originally conceived the first piano concerto as his first major work for orchestra, what would have been his first symphony. After that proved unsatisfactory, he began molding it into a sonata for two pianos. Brahms ultimately decided that he had not sufficiently mastered the nuances of orchestral colour to sustain a symphony, and instead relied on his skills as a pianist and composer for the piano to complete the work as a concerto. It was first performed on January 22, 1859, in Hannover, Germany, when Brahms was just 25 years old. Five days later, in Leipzig, an unenthusiastic audience hissed at the concerto, while critics (Read more…)
At some point in the past year you have probably heard about space station commander Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to command the station and also apparently a very good guitar player and singer. His cover of the song Space Oddity by David Bowie has already had over twelve million views on YouTube. But did you know that back in February he did a music education event with the Barenaked Ladies music group of a song called Is Somebody Singing (I.S.S. for short)? His space to earth performance of that song was broadcast in a way such as to allow bands and choirs all over the world to play along with it as a part of what some billed as the world’s largest concert. More importantly it was a very novel way to encourage and advocate for music education in the schools. The bad thing though is that if you are like me, you totally missed it!
Not to worry, you can still listen, watch, and perform the piece with your own ensemble, if you know where to look. Read on to find out more and download the music to I.S.S. for use with your own band.
I recently heard some horror stories of a music teacher receiving poor Instructional Practices Inventory scores from the other teachers during weekly observations of the teacher’s ensemble rehearsal classes. For those not familiar with it IPI is a method many schools are currently using to evaluate instructional practices in teaching as they relate to students using the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. If you are already a music educator then you know that what we do is completely encompassed within the top levels of Bloom’s. Music education classrooms consistently use many of the best instructional practices, very rarely sliding down the pyramid of Bloom’s except in pedagogical cases where prerequisite knowledge of music notation and other musical topics is required. When we are performing there are very few other subjects that keep students thinking at the analysis and evaluation levels of Bloom’s as consistently as we do.
This then brings back the question of why on earth was this teacher’s peers grading him in a way that he perceived to be below the true level of engagement? It turns out they were saying that his rehearsals only ranked a 3 or 4 on the scale because they were “Teacher Led Instruction” rather than “Student Active Engaged Learning.” Conversely in another case he was given the highest marks possible when the observers noted that his students (who had not practiced) were essentially sight reading their lesson material. In blessed irony it was decided that that session was scored as being (Read more…)
The concept of the flipped classroom is growing in popularity across the country as more and more schools adopt the common core. While we in music education are probably more “flipped” than most other classrooms we still resort to a traditional model where a teacher essentially lectures, demonstrates, then tells the student to go practice and come back in a week to prove they have learned it. That’s not exactly the same thing…
In a flipped classroom the teacher acts primarily as a moderator, providing activities that help the student learn on his or her own. In essence, letting the student teach himself and thereby master the material more fully. How do we break with hundreds of years of tradition and “flip” our music education classroom to be more student centered? For many people it may require that we also flip our expectations of what we need to do in small group and private instrument lessons.
For the past few years, I’ve felt like a pilgrim on a journey towards a far off, distant land. I am feeling less & less at home in the current church culture. I am longing for something more…something new. Fresh revelations coupled with new & deeper expressions of worship. A Church that is Christ-centered in …
Chopin’s piano music does have a prominent place in the classical music repertoire. Janina Fialkowska’s Chopin Recital II recording on ATMA Classique confirmed the fact when it recently won the prestigious BBC Music Magazine Award for Best Instrumental Recording of 2012.
The BBC Music Magazine Awards are the only classical music awards in which the main categories are voted for by the public. The shortlist represents the very best of more than 1,300 recordings reviewed by BBC Music Magazine during 2012, and features leading names from the international classical music arena.
“I’m overwhelmed by the prize,” Fialkowska told the Independent. “I’ve devoted most of my professional life to the music of Chopin and it’s nice to have my playing recognized in this way.”
Montreal-born Fialkowska, 61, is recognized the world over as one of the great interpreters of the music of Frédéric Chopin, whom she names as her favourite composer. In 1970, she settled in New York and enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music as a student of Sasha Gorodnitzki, later becoming his teaching assistant from 1979-1984. Following her prize-winning performance at the inaugural Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition held in Tel Aviv in 1974, Arthur Rubinstein became her mentor and launched her international career. Last May, Fialkowska was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.
This short film artfully defines Janina Fialkowska’s imprint in the world of classical music: Constellation by Patrick Doan
A Christian song by Keith & Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend. The lyrics speak of being thankful to God for all that Jesus has done for us. He took away our sins and gave us His righteousness instead. He sustains us in our journey of faith, fulfilling all His promises to us and showing us unending grace. He reigns on high and give us each day that we might follow Him.
Indeed our hearts are filled with thankfulness when we think of all that Jesus has done for us. And we respond in song, love, joy and gratitude to a God who first loved us. Thank You Jesus for all that you’ve done. We will give our life, our all, to love and follow You.
MY HEART IS FILLED WITH THANKFULNESS – Keith & Kristyn Getty
Tabbed by: Graham Choo
Finding decent, easy to play clarinet sheet music for free is not as hard as some might believe. The beautiful thing about the clarinet is that it can play sheet music written for almost any instrument as long as it falls within the playable range of the performer. In other words, a clarinet player doesn’t have to play ONLY clarinet sheet music. If you are playing solo you can play almost any music that falls within your playable range. Focus on looking for sheet music for instruments that are also pitched in the key of B-flat like the trumpet, or tenor saxophone. Flute or piano music can in some cases can be played on the clarinet, making finding free sheet music a fairly easy proposition if you know where to look.
Two live CD/DVD projects that I had the unbelievable privilege to work on have recently released. These projects not only capture incredible new worship music, but their companion DVDs capture the live visual environments & show very different approaches to what leading visual worship can look like!
Need a fun, seasonally appropriate motivation tool to help keep your students practicing? Although it works best if you do this during March to coincide with March Madness there’s no reason why you can’t use it at any time of the year. Special thanks to Elaine Menke, 5th and 6th grade band director at North Polk Community School District for passing this idea along. She uses this tool each year with her students but it works just as well with pianists or almost any music studio setup.