Monthly Archives: August 2016


What Are They?

Intervals are the distances between each note. They are named numerically and have different qualities to them based on the exact spatial difference.

For example:

C to a D is a MAJOR second
C to a Db is a MINOR second
C to a E is a MAJOR third
C to a Eb is a MINOR third

Why Are They Important?

These small differences may feel arbitrary, but intervals actually play a big role in how we perceive music. Intervals have always been categorized as consonant or dissonant; consonant means stable, and dissonant means unstable. With that definition, it is obvious that the perception of intervals is subjective…who decides what is stable and what is not?

Fortunately in music today, there are no such quick and fast hard rules on what is considered consonant or dissonant, and many intervals can be used to achieve a variety of effects. Furthermore, what classical music considers as dissonant, jazz music may consider neutral or even consonant. Different musical styles have different customs on how to approach and resolve dissonances

The concepts of intervals is important, because it is the music between the notes. For example, a singer reaching for a perfect fifth (C – G), will sound considerably different than  reaching for a major 6th (C – A). Not only is the latter a higher note, a good singer also understands that there is a different quality to the interval, therefore requiring a different tone and approach to singing it.

This holds true for piano players as well. As piano players, it may be easy for us to think an interval is simply using different fingers. However, if we approach music this way, we may find it to be robotic and lackluster. It is the space between the notes, that creates the interesting and beautiful sounds that we call music.  We do not speak in monotone, so we should not play in monotone either.

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Summer Piano Lessons

Summer Piano Lessons

While it may seem intuitive to take a break in piano lessons for the summer, to match the school term, I encourage students to continue their lessons through the summer. Simply put, piano is one of those skills that require consistent work to be maintained. For example, while you may not completely forget how to cook if you take a two month break, you may find your veggie chopping skills to decrease if you haven’t had to practice every day.  Even though I am not taking piano lessons anymore, I still practice my scales everyday to maintain my chops. There is nothing like consistent work to continue developing a skill. Besides this reason, here are 3 more reasons to continue lessons throughout the summer.

  1. It Keeps the Students’ Minds Sharp While They are Out of School
    • Piano lessons and practice will keep the kids’ minds active. Besides having to coordinate two hands, music is full of math, logic, and of course, creativity.

  2. It’s a Nice Break From the Sun
    • Of course, kids are meant to go play in the sun while the weather is amazing. However, should they be outside in the glaring sun everyday? Piano lessons and practice provides a nice creative outlet for kids when they have received too much sun.

  3. It’s a Great Time for the Students to Really Explore Their Musical Talent
    • While school comes first for 10 months of the year, piano and music can finally take priority in those 2 summer months. Throughout this last summer, we have worked extensively on improvisation, recording, and technical development. With all this extra work, we can move on to new challenges in September.

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What Classical Music Taught me



Classical Music and Me

Hi Everyone,

Today, while browsing my Facebook feed, I came across the picture above from Classic FM.  As a classical musician, I find it to be quite insightful and hilarious! This picture shows that the lifespan of classical music has been threatened again and again throughout history, and yet still remains relevant to musicians.

The picture quotes that a variety of factors, including certain composers, money, YouTube, and an aging audience,has been accused of killing classical music since 1324.  Yet, classical music continues to survive.

While I am not a music historian, I can vouch for what classical music has taught me.

  1. It taught me how to say the same thing in different ways.
    1. Much of classical music is written down, and musicians are expected to perform from the score with the correct notes and rhythm. How the musicians interpret this blueprint, is the art of classical music. No performer would perform the same piece the exact same way.
  2. It taught me about emotions. 
    1. Although I am an avid listener to current music such as pop, RnB, and techno, there are not a lot of music that makes me feel the wonder of Claire de Lune, or the sadness from Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. By exploring classical music, we explore ourselves and our emotions.
  3. It taught me how to commit.
    1. Not only can advanced pieces be incredibly difficult and time consuming to learn, classical performers must commit 100% to the feelings of a piece to perform it. Classical music asks for both technical precision, and sensitive musicality.

The list can go on and on. The complexity of classical music, is what categorizes it as a fine art. To be a committed classical musician, we must be committed to up keeping our technical abilities, respecting the history of the pieces, understanding the music theory, and using our musicality to translate all our work to the audience.

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