Category Archives: Piano

teaching

People wanting piano lessons.
 
See how the black notes are grouped into threes and twos.
 
Reach/ press those groupings up and down octaves, whatever speed you can.
 
Rest of it is more like that. See patterns, play with them.
 
p.s. you need special footwear.

skydiving from the couch

Over the years as the Gerrard street restaurants and other businesses increase I remember the wee house still standing on the north side and the small town feel weekly arriving there in 1985 studying with Darwyn Aitken, a big guy, a smoker, unimpressed with whatever I wanted to show him.
 
He focussed on exercises to play 3rds or 6ths with a technique called the hop. He thought mastering the hop was quintessential for a pianist. There was an arpeggio exercise too he said Bill Evans was doing when heard practising for his last show in Toronto. That’s all I remember pianistically and it wasn’t life changing but the cool thing being around him was he studied with David Sapperton who studied with Rafael Joseffy who studied with Franz Liszt.
 
That’s Mr. Franz Liszt, thank you.
 
Liked imagining some of Liszt’s fairy dust traveled to his students and then their students and then their students even though I know that’s as reasonable as thinking we breath the same air as Stephen Hawking so we might all be just as good at physics. (or does that make sense?)
 
Anyway the Hungarian Rhapsody #6 – a pianistic nuclear bomb. Just adore the mind behind that crazy 10 minute death defying sculpture, especially the last movement which feels about as close as I’ll ever get to skydiving while being on a couch with headphones.
 
 
 

Eric Dolphy and Jaki Byard

Got into music school because I lived out of province sent a cassette demonstrating my piano playing, something classical and something jazz. Was glad I could send in a recording because I don’t read music. At York they thought the cassette reflected my reading skills or else they just took the money of any applicant but if you were in Toronto you had to audition in person so definitely I could not have been accepted that way. Would be seen as illegitimate because the non existent sight reading would be on display. The jig would have been up.

Probably a more cost effective procedure would be showing this video to prospective students. Whoever doesn’t start laughing or crying, (especially in the Jaki Byard/ Eric Dolphy solos) doesn’t get accepted. Simple and accurate no?