Tag Archives: events

House Music

On Saturday, May 23, we held the fourth annual Student Salon, an event I started so that my piano students could have a space to play without the stress of a formal recital. For the past two years, I’ve added the requirement that they play by memory. Keep ’em on their toes. I could see them more worked up over this and sometimes I’ve wondered whether this takes away from the casual music-sharing feel of the event. I even added a program so that they commit to pieces they have decided to play. No backing out last minute! It’s a tough thing, challenging them and making it feel like performing isn’t this be-all, end-all moment.

Last Saturday, though, I think it worked out. A couple of students surprised me by deciding to play, by memory, pieces that we had decided in advance to play with the score. I know how difficult this is in front of an audience and how vulnerable one can feel. And they handled it with humour and honesty. Students shared interpretations and even their own compositions. Every one of them got in the cypher and did their thing.

They're growing up! Missing some people in this shot, unfortunately.

They’re growing up!
Missing some people in this shot, unfortunately.

This could not have happened without the supportive audience that created such a comfortable environment for musical risk-taking. I wish I had this while developing as a musician. Instead, I only had recitals and competitions in which the pressure to be perfect made me anxious and messed with my focus on the day of performance. I learned a lot in those settings, but sometimes I wonder how I ever got through them still loving music.

So, thanks to everyone that participated for filling my home once again with warmth and music.

(P.S. I never did mention what I played despite being kind of asked that day. It was the Prelude from Bach’s Partita No. 5.)

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Want a bit of jazz?

Members of the choir I accompany at the Newman Centre are putting on an evening of  jazz tonight at 7:30 pm. You can pay at the door, and while you’re at it, enter yourself in a raffle draw for incredible prizes, e.g. tickets to the TSO, Theatre Passe Muraille, dinner at the Keg. I heard some of their rehearsal last night, and they’re sounding great!  If you don’t have plans yet, head over to U of T, corner of Harbord and St. George, grab a glass of wine, sit back, and enjoy.

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Student Music Salon

Last December, the first Student Music Salon was held at my home studio on a sunny afternoon.  It was a casual affair, showcasing student compositions, duets, and solo repertoire. For most of them, it was the first opportunity to perform, and they did so with incredible presence and focus. Best of all, it was great for me to see the joy on their faces as they played, despite their expressed anxiety beforehand. As one student said, “I feel nervous and excited” — Perhaps the best combination possible.

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