Tiny Tenor of Romero Creations (mahogany)
This past January, I introduced myself in Joel Katz‘s intermediate ʻukulele class by announcing that I was downsizing from the nine foot grand piano to the less than two foot ʻukulele. People laughed.
Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t giving up the piano by any means. Rather, I was embracing the ʻukulele. It has my namesake after all: KU in ʻukulele.
In truth, I didn’t know what I was getting into. A few of my music students had shared their love of the instrument. One even gave me a hand-built ʻukulele stand as a parting gift. Eventually I succumbed to my usual thirst for novelty and variety.
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2015 is a year many Sinatra lovers will celebrate with songs that he made famous. One of these is a favorite among my piano students. Each year, a new pianist will ask to play “Fly Me to the Moon.”
When I asked my mom to select songs made popular by the late Teresa Teng besides my favorite Ni Ze Me Shuo, she mentioned Dan Yuan Ren Chang Jiu. On the night of the super blood moon and lunar eclipse, I learned of its significance. The lyrics come from a famous poem by Su Shi, also known as Su Dong Po. The song is associated with the Mid Autumn Festival, which is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. For 2015, it’s Sunday September 27th.
At the annual Maui Okinawan Festival, I heard three youngsters announce the songs they would be dancing to. When one of them added “and this one is my favorite,” I took out my iPhone to record it and began my journey of discovering this famous song about the Okinawan instrument. Continue reading
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Have you ever become so obsessed with a tune that the only remedy is to play it on your instrument? When I watched the following clip, I knew I had heard the music before — in London, but not for guitars. Continue reading
The 78-minute documentary “Alive Inside” is a fascinating account of the effect of familiar music on eliciting memory in the elderly, awakening them from their otherwise passive state of being. Released in 2014, the film “follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.”
Alex (piano) and Jason (flute). N. Virginia, June 1999.
The sudden news of the fatal plane crash of James Horner is rippling through the music and film industries. James R. Horner was a prolific composer of music for film.
As I discover piano transcriptions (also known as piano covers) of his music online, I am reminded that I, too, was once an obsessive fan.
I listened to the love theme from the Titanic over and over again until I configured an arrangement for flute and piano for my friends’ young sons in Northern Virginia in June 1999. Continue reading