piano lessons richmond

Composition – Same Tune with Different Modes

Different Modes

I decided to explore parallel key modulation further and write a tune with different modes. I write the melody and harmonize using the major key first, and then modulate it to the parallel minor key without changing the direction of the tune. Since I am currently exploring C major, I decided to do C major and C minor.

My Perspective

When I write a tune, I definitely decide on a mode before writing. Major keys and minor keys evoke very different emotions for me; I would choose one over the other based on what emotion I would like to express. For this tune, I wanted express some nostalgia that I have felt around New Years Day. I find that C major is right for this feeling, because of it’s simplicity. Here’s a picture of the first draft of my tune!

I then played it in the parallel (harmonic) mode. The difference is huge! What I intended to be a light wishful tune became a dramatic tune that suggests a hint of pain. Take a listen for yourself! Which one do you like better?


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Exploration in C Part 1

I have decided to do an in depth exploration of keys as my personal project in my piano journey. Throughout the years, I likely have played pieces in every key! With this project, the idea is to get intimate with every key.

What flavour does it have? How are different modes used to create variety? How can I use this key to express myself?

While exploring, I intend to learn classical music and pop music in the key in question. There will also be listening exercises, improv exercises, transposing exercises, and composition exercises involved when needed! Quickly said, this is an expansive project, designed for me to gain a deeper understanding into every key. Along the way, I will be practicing notation, rhythm and technique.

We begin with C major.

C Major Part 1

My initial feelings towards this key: clean, classic, easy going and bright

I first warmed up with the technique I knew in C; this included parallel scales, arpeggios, chords and formula pattern. I quickly noticed that my formula pattern could use some work in coordinating my hands. This task has been added to my to-do list.

Then I googled through IMSLP piano pieces in C major. I landed on Mozart’s Sonata in C major.

While sightreading through the Sonata, I noticed that the high register in C major sounds innocent. It almost has a childish twinkle to it. The sound is clear, whimsical and and light.

I also thought the accidentals were very noticeable in a land of white keys. They added an immediate contrast and peaked my ear’s interest as it flew by.

The timing is not necessarily easy in the intro of this piece! I decided to slow down the piece considerably to work on the rhythmic structure of the piece. When left unchecked, I felt myself play faster and faster through the scale-like runs.

Stay tuned!

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What to Expect When Your Child Takes Piano Lessons

Piano lessons are often extensive multi-year long journeys. At the age of 26, I have had 15 years of piano lessons. EN Music Studio supports a 3 year curriculum that can be extended based on student interest. That being said, it is often hard for parents to imagine what piano lessons look like when they first register their child.

Being a pianist is a process, not a product.

As a teacher, I can not promise that your child will become a concert pianist at the end of the one year mark. Of course, there are curriculum expectation and guidelines; however, there is no “aha!” moment when a student becomes a pianist. EN Music Studio believes that students are pianists from the day they start playing the piano; while they may not be playing Beethoven by week 2, everything they create on the piano is part of their journey.

At the age of 26, with 3 certifications in piano, I can not point to you the moment in the time I felt like I was a pianist. As far I am concerned, I am both a pianist and a piano student every day. The piano is a expansive topic; there are no ending point.

Good Weeks and Bad Weeks

Even as someone with a self-declared passion for the piano, I have had good weeks and bad weeks with the piano. I am talking about both my past with piano lessons, and my current weeks!

Imagine a relationship with the piano as any human relationships. There are moments are deep passion, happiness, light-heartedness, sadness, rage, and frustration. It is in fact these emotions that give the piano so much life.

Piano lessons are a deeply personal project. There are weeks where a student will pour their heart out into a creation. Some weeks they find beauty in pieces they didn’t know existed. There are weeks they feel defeated and not good enough. This is all part of the great journey of the piano lessons.

The Role of the Parent and Teacher

The role of the parent and teacher is to support the child throughout this up and down journey. There are points that your child will feel like quitting! This moment will be up to your and the teacher’s interpretation. Is this because of a temporary block? Or is the student’s shifting their musical interests? Could the teacher support the child’s learning style better?

It is the teacher’s role to guide the student like in any other project-based work. The teacher will moniter their child’s progress, providing opportunities for the student to renew interest, to learn new concepts, and to provide resources to their creations.


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