Greg's previous answers are archived in the following categories:
I was wondering how the lime light and how fans affect your piano playing and your day to day life. Like does the press and or fans ever make a big deal out of small meaningless things or issues unrelated to music that cause you to loose fans or for people to become more interested in the hoopla than your piano playing. I was just curious because my little cousin absolutly adores piano. I just started last year and am self taught, but I encouraged him to begin piano and he is inlove with the instrument. I'm genuinly impressed with his ability he picks up on things fast being able to see patterns in music right from the start. The hardest thing he can play at the moment is a simplifide version of Bach's toccata and fugue in D minor which excludes certain parts but I still had some trouble playing it. Anyway I wanted to ask you if people give you alot of attention or shit for things you don't want attention for or would prefer it not distracting from your skill since my cousin has a sensitivity issue where all of his nerves are hypersensitive so he cant wear certain cloths, be around certain noises ect (which may explain his versatility at piano with his really sensitive ear) and hes kinda shy about talking about his sensitivity issue. One more question. I am going to college this year and obviously can not afford the space or money for a piano in my dorm should I invest in a nice keyboard or would playing a half hour in a practice room every few days be enough to prevent my skill from atrophying.
I'll answer your easy question first -- if you can afford to buy a nice, weighted keyboard, go ahead! I love my Yamaha P90 and use it often. (This is the only time you'll hear me endorsing a non-Steinway piano.) :-)
The other question is interesting, but my response is similarly simple. Classical musicians do not suffer from the same sorts of celebrity invasion as pop musicians. Only very rarely does anybody recognize me on the street. I can't imagine that strangers will start gossiping about your cousin's sex life or something similar (unless he becomes the next Martha Argerich).
Upon reflection... I suppose there are some whispers shared about Liz and me -- people are still trying to figure out the nature of our relationship. (I'm gay; she's straight; we're just good friends!) But we don't care what others think. We'd rather be our honest, authentic selves than try to shape the opinions of others. We'd rather direct our attention to more important matters -- giving a great performance! If extraneous details turn people off -- or bring in a crowd -- who cares! We're having a great time at the piano.
- Greg (October 23, 2009)
Have you ever collaborated with a mainstream musician? I think that you and John Mayer would produce some crazy awesome music (oh, to be a fly on the wall during that brainstorm session...). Just curious.
Yes, I have dabbled with popular elements here and there. The most obvious example: I arranged "Everybody Loves Somebody" for five pianos and voice. You can listen to the work on the 5 Browns' latest album, "Browns in Blue," performed by the 5 Browns and Dean Martin himself (in a previously unreleased vocal recording).
I'm sure that throughout my life, I'll continue to have unique experiences with mainstream musicians, but my true love is classical music. I love its shapes and forms, its complexity, its harmonies, its passions. It's sort of like mac and cheese -- I love all types of food in moderation, but I could eat mac and cheese for every meal if I had to. The same with classical music.
- Greg (October 24, 2009)
You're hot. So... the question is, are you single, as well?
Hehe. Josh, you're making me blush!
I am in a happy, wonderful, and amazing relationship with a man who continually exceeds my dreams. :-) While he isn't a professional musician, he is a pretty fine euphonium player! You can watch my husband-to-be and me perform Piazzolla's "Oblivion" together on this very website.
- Greg (Nov. 6, 2009)
Do you teach piano as well?
No, I do not. I often give masterclasses, and I really enjoy doing so, but I simply do not have the time to teach privately. With all the composing I do, the performing, the writing (my book), the video editing, the answering (of questions on this site!), I hope you'll forgive me for not adding another entree to my plate. :-)
- Greg (Oct. 24, 2009)
Hi Greg :D
I'm a college sophomore music major with about ten years of formal study under my belt. I've wanted to be a doctor since I was little and had been playing piano off-and-on for about as long until I hit eight years old, I think. However, it took me until college to realize that I love music more than what I thought (had I realized that earlier I'd have applied for a conservatory, but alas, life is life and there's plenty of time for that down the road). I'm still doing the med school thing, but I'm hitting grad school in music first. Okay, my question. I'm a tiny person. Nine times out of ten the piano bench doesn't lower enough for my feet to hit the floor, and I can only hit a ninth comfortably -- even that can be a bit of a stretch for my right hand. It just so happens that I have a strong affinity for Russian music, especially anything composed by The Five. And what piece did I just happen to fall in love with after hearing it for the first time? Islamey by Balakirev. My piano prof thinks I have a "masterpiece syndrome" or something because I have this knack for falling in love with big-handed hard pieces. Understandably, a lot of Russian music requires a pretty big stretch, which I'm not that capable of. I'm trying to grab as many of the reaches (particularly the tenths) with my RH as possible, but I can't grab all of them that way. Stylistically, how would you recommend approaching those? In areas where the texture is thicker I'm having no problem -- it's the D-major passage in the middle I'm trying to address because the beginning of that section is rather tranquil and I feel that rolling the tenth kinda kills the mood a bit. Also, do you have any recommendations as to what I can do exercise- or stretching-wise to try to improve my reach? I'm getting rather sick of having to roll almost every chord every time I play Rachmaninoff. Thanks! - Angel
You can always find inspiration in the late Alicia de Larrocha. She had tiny hands (she could barely play an octave) and she could sail through Rachmaninoff's concertos like nobody's business. She spoke eloquently about her trials and tribulations pertaining to her hand size in David Dubal's "Reflections from the Keyboard:"
Also, Aiko Onishi speaks at length about stretching exercises -- a great way to improve flexibility and hand span -- in her book "Pianism:"
I heartily recommend both books!
- Greg (Oct. 25, 2009)
I have some pieces you may be interested in. Want 'em? I have scores and recordings. Holla
Dear No Name,
Yes, I always enjoy looking at new scores and hearing new music. I make no guarantees that I will perform works you send -- my repertoire wish list is huge and there's never enough time to learn everything! You never know though -- the music you send could make it onto my wish list and someday be the perfect piece to fill a recital program, or inspire a recital program, for that matter!
- Greg (Aug. 3, 2009)
In your bio, you are described as a gifted musician who was able to tackle some very tough works in a matter of months within you're beginning. I ask, did that ability come from long hours of practice and dedication, or did it simply come to you?
- Chad Aboukaram
The bio is playful and humorous, but it is true -- I devoured my teacher's first four years of piano study books in a few months.
Many concert pianists begin playing the piano at a very early age -- 3 or 4 years old. I began when I was 8 years of age: comparatively I was "old!" I believe that during those first months of study, I caught up with those who had started much earlier. It definitely came naturally to me; I wasn't practicing much longer than 30 minutes a day. By the time I was 9 I was learning at a more reasonable rate, even though I started practicing longer hours. I worked very, very hard -- long hours of "practice and dedication," as you say -- later in elementary school, high school, and college. Liz always refers to me as a "voracious practicer!"
- Greg (Oct. 25, 2009)
I was just wondering if you knew if Leavesden Studios offered any work experience ? Thanks for your help!
During my residency at Leavesden Studios, I did see a few people "experiencing work," but I have no idea how they came by such work experience. I wish you the best, and I'm sorry I can't be of more assistance!
- Greg (August 12, 2009)
I saw your amazing repertoire list and I just want to ask you this: 1. Are you able to play all these peaces any time when someone picks up a piece? 2.Do you need to prepare them all over again? 3. What is the repertoire list for if you anyway practice one program at the time?
The pieces on my repertoire list have been "field-tested;" this means that for any given work on the list, I've probably spent a great deal of time thinking about what the piece means to me, I've memorized it, performed it publicly, and worked out the technical kinks. I certainly can't play most of the works at the drop of a hat, but they usually come back to my fingers pretty quickly when I invest the proper energy into relearning them. In fact, I find that when I relearn a work, it somehow happens to feel markedly better than it did before; it's as if my mind had been practicing it all along.
I like to cater my programs to particular audiences, venues, and concert series, so it's rare that I trot the exact same recital program around with me from city to city. My repertoire list is mostly used by concert presenters when they make requests. I can always learn new music, but it's not reasonable to learn entirely new programs for every performance. The chamber and concerto repertoire lists are particularly helpful when events are planned last minute, such as when an immediate replacement is needed.
- Greg (May 10, 2009)
You have answered a question as follows.. "don't go into music if you want to be a 'concert pianist.' Even if you've got mad skills, the chances of sustaining a career are next to impossible." despite the fact you then go on to state that there are lots of uses for pianists in the job market. Most people define the difference between a job and a career is a job is a way to make some extra cash, and a career is a steady paycheck to support oneself as guaranteed income. My question to you is, what is it you do to support yourself financially? I hear alot of artists do web design these days, unlike before the computer craze, many took office jobs, some worked in banks and a very lucky few took jobs in corporate, sometimes Wall Street gives a chance to someone without a degree in business. Strange enough, why is it so many artists dont teach music in public schools? Benefits, summers off and pension seem like a reasonable equation for a artist to work by day and practice by night while sharing their love of music with others. It seems to me this would be the career path one would go after making such an investment in attending Juilliard or any other music school.
Wow. Let's not confuse my meaning. (Perhaps I've mistakenly been using the words "career" and "job" interchangeably!) In these answers, I frequently find myself encouraging questioners to consider a musical career that doesn't involve trotting the globe performing for large, enthusiastic audiences. Such a career is partly a product of extreme talent and partly a product of pure luck. My point is: when a pianist seeks the fame and glory of the concert stage, he or she is probably on a path to disappointment; when a pianist is motivated by the genuine love of music, he or she will certainly find a satisfying musical career. There are countless fulfilling ways to make money as a pianist not wholly limited to performing on the concert stage. (Please view the "Ask Greg Archives: Career" for examples.) Yes, teaching music is one, but there are many more possibilities.
"What is it you do to support yourself financially?" This is like one of those questions one of my distant relatives will ask after a concert. "So, that was great Greg, but how do you plan to make a living?!" The answer: I play the piano and compose.
I keep a busy concert schedule, both as a soloist and a duo pianist. My recordings are self-produced and selling well, so I actually make money when you buy one. Please buy one. I'm a YouTube partner, so YouTube pays me when you watch my videos on YouTube. Do it. Click on those ads next to the videos! :-) I receive commissions and royalties from the works I compose for The 5 Browns. Liz and I sell my piano duo scores to the public; you can buy them on the compositions page. That's most of it -- performing and composing! -- although I do give lectures here and there, I'll publish my book someday (someday!), and I have other surprising plans for the future in the works. At the moment, I don't pursue any financial gain through teaching, web design, video editing, or accompanying -- with everything that excites and consumes me, I simply don't have time.
Some people think I'm savvy, but I'm doing what feels obvious to me. I'm following my mission ("to make classical piano music a relevant and powerful force in society") in every avenue of my professional life, from my performances, compositions, concert programs, and recordings to my websites, videos, and book. My mission is ever present in what I do because I believe in it so passionately. It's not like the things I do are creative, random ideas; they are born from an innate necessity -- from a desire to make what I love relevant and powerful to others.
I'm not in it for the money, and it bothers me when people become preoccupied with this facet of the profession. Every time I check this website's Google stats, I see dozens of people finding the site through some variant of the following search: "How much money do concert pianists make?" I mean, really?! For real?! If you care about money, please don't become a pianist. You may or may not make a significant amount, but that's definitely not what it's about.
I really believe that if you are doing what you truly love, you'll find a way to survive. I'm not prancing about in piles of cash, but I manage to find enough doing what I do to pay my bills. I wish I had more (it would go right into recordings, videos, and websites!), but really, when it comes to money, my only concern is that I have enough to keep doing what I love.
- Greg (Jan. 14, 2009)
My school has an athletic requirement which means I have to do two seasons of sports this year, but in the spring I'm doing an independant performing arts project. I'm so excited! I'm working on the Bach Concerto in F Minor S.1056. I wanted to do the entire concerto, but I may have to just do the first movement. Anyway, as far as accompianment goes, my teacher said I could either get a string quartet or another pianist. I would rather go with the strings, but I'm having a really hard time finding musicians for it. Should i settle with the piano accompianment? What do you think?
Athletic requirements are a good thing! I'm all for Americans finding enjoyable ways to stay healthy!
You ask whether you should work with a piano accompanist or a string quartet. As a potential audience member, I would be more inclined to come to the concert if I saw you were playing with a string quartet. That said, if you can't find a string quartet, enjoy yourself with the piano accompaniment!
Where can I inquire about performing in a piano recital?
I'm not entirely certain I understand your question, but I recommend you contact me through my Contact page to discuss your idea further. I usually perform my recitals as a soloist or with my piano duo partner Liz, but I'm always open to awesome ideas regarding collaboration.
Similarly, if you are interested in booking a concert, please contact me via the Contact page.
In a few months, I will be performing for at a very large event. I would like my fun piece to not only sound great, but be entertaining to watch as well. Do you have any advice on how to work with the audience when performing (regarding facial expressions, etc.)? Is there any special "choreography" that I should take note of when performing a piece (for example, lifting hands off the piano at a certain time when the piece is done)? Do you know any resources that I could use to aide me in the process? Your advice is greatly appreciated!
I would never endorse facial expressions or choreography unless the music demands it. There's nothing worse than watching a pianist artificially throw their limbs into the air because they think it may entertain the audience.
I suggest you start at the root of the issue versus its surface. Instead of asking what sorts of gimmicks and tricks you can utilize to "entertain" the audience, ask yourself how you can heighten the impact of the music. Most of your energy should go straight back into the music itself; you should be performing every piece as if it's the last time anyone in the world will ever listen to it.
Only after you've uncovered exactly what makes the music tick will other facets of the performance become clear. If for some wild reason, you end up tossing a sexy glance to the audience, it will be because you had no choice but to toss a sexy glance to the audience. It will be something the music demands of you; not something you decided to do because you thought it would be cute. Likewise, your outfits should be dictated by your interpretation of the music and not by whichever outfit may generate the biggest gasp from your audience.
Sabre Danse or A New Account of the Blue Danube Fantasy are unusual because they demand some visual performance as well as musical, but in most pieces you'll find that contorting your face and flailing your limbs are unnecessary and artificial. In the end, if you do your job, if you do what the music demands of you, you will entertain your audience.
When you sight read a piece or look at a piece, do you first break it down as to which key it is in and which modulation etc. etc...? How do you learn to do that fast? Do you know of any simple not-too-hard tango duo pieces? I would love to obtain a copy of your take on Piazzolla, but currently, it is not available, right?
The more you sight read, the easier it will be. As a child, I would loan piles of music from the library - whatever interested me really - and play through it all at home. At Juilliard, I often checked out the maximum number of items from the library (45 items) because I was curious to read through music unfamiliar to me. The piano repertoire is like a giant treasure trove - there is so much good stuff out there, and the only way to become familiar with it is by listening or sight reading.
I'd recommend you start with what feels comfortable and go from there! Buy an "easy" classics book, or read through the Mozart sonatas, move on to the Chopin waltzes, etc. Gradually the process will become easier. For me, it is not a matter of analysis (keys, modulation, etc.) but recognizing visual patterns in the music (arpeggio figurations, chords, stylistic tendencies, etc.).
As for your other questions: I'm not familiar with any tango pieces for piano/four-hands, although I'm sure there must be something out there. Keep searching! And yes, my arrangement of Piazzolla's is not available yet.
What's the name of the piece that used to play on your homepage? The piece that plays now?
The excerpt that used to play on my homepage was from Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto, specifically from the cadenza of the first movement. The piece that currently plays on the homepage is the opening to Saint-Saëns' Second Piano Concerto. Naturally, I'm the pianist in both instances. :)
This is a really random question, but how many browns are there? I believe melody just got married. But surely, there are more to the fam than just Desirae, Deondra, Melody, Greg and Ryan right? i was looking through your photos and just thought that picture had a lot of browns!
This would be a good questions for www.the5browns.com!
Keith and Lisa Brown (the parents of The 5 Browns) only produced five offspring. There's no additional children hiding in the attic! In some of the pictures with the Browns featured in my photo galleries, you can see Bryan (Desi's husband), Kevin (Deondra's husband), Casey (Melody's husband), Tara (Ryan's fiancee), Keith (the dad), Lisa (the mom), and Liz (my piano duo partner). They are all awesome, wonderful, and kind people whom I am proud to call my friends.
Hi Greg, Noticing that you play the Saint-Saens Ctos. 2 & 4, I 'll ask you something I've wondered over as a listener for years. The Ctos. 2 & 4 consistently get all the attention while the 3 & 5 get relatively ignored. Why I wonder this is, taking the Cto 5 with those exotic sounds in the middle movement (harmonics?) are so unique in the repertoire that they still sound somewhat revolutionary to me against other Romantic Ctos. All the best.
- Bill Shurtleff
I love your question! Those who know me well know of my passionate advocacy for Saint-Saëns' fifth and third piano concertos. They're wonderful pieces, but they do have their share of weaknesses. Most people consider the second and fourth concertos to be more consistent from begining to end. Nevertheless, the fifth and third concertos have some unimaginably beautiful and inspired moments. I particularly love the entire second movement of the third concerto and the ending of the fifth concerto's first movement. The second movement of the latter concerto does, indeed, feature some exotic and awesome sounds, but Saint-Saëns wrote the work very late in life and it shouldn't necessarily be compared to other Romantic concertos. Believe it or not, the work was composed after Prokofiev's first piano concerto, after the first version of Prokofiev's second piano concerto, after Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, after Debussy's Preludes, Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit, and many other revolutionary works of the early twentieth century!
Pieces enter my repertoire for a variety of reasons - some complex reasons and some simple. The pieces listed on my repertoire page are, by no means, a complete listing of the pieces I love. There are countless works on my "repertoire wish list" that I have yet to learn, and with some luck, I will have many years ahead of me to make my wishes a reality. Learning repertoire is a time consuming process; the notes can be learned in a matter of weeks, but it usually takes years of "living with a piece" before it becomes something I'm proud to share with the public. Incidentally, my "wish list" is still growing, and I seriously consider all of the suggested offered by visitors of this website. Recommend music here!
Do you have absolute pitch? What is your hand span?
Do I have absolute pitch? No. There are many times I wish I had perfect pitch; it would certainly make the process of composing much easier. Instead I have the much more common form of relative pitch.
What is my hand span? I can comfortably reach a tenth. If I approach the keys really slowly (stress: really slowly), I can reach an eleventh. Sometimes I wish my hands were smaller; it would make it easier to perform Mozart's music, but the large reach is useful for late-Romantic music and contemporary music.
I have been playing for a few years, and it seems that my sight reading is considerably slow. What sorts of practice did you do in order to speed up the process of sight reading?
- Na Lee
It was never a matter of "practice" for me, but it certainly is something I have developed over the years. As a child, I would check out piles of music from the library - whatever interested me really - and work through it all. At Juilliard, I often had the maximum number of items checked out of the library (45 items), because I was curious about the repertoire. The piano repertoire is like a giant treasure trove - there is so much good stuff out there, and the only way to become familiar with it is by listening or sight reading.
I'd recommend you start with what feels comfortable and go from there! Buy an "easy" classics book, or read through the Mozart sonatas, move on to the Chopin waltzes, etc. Whatever you do, have fun!
Question now. Suggestion for how to play the devil's staircase? thank you
How to play Ligeti's Etude No. 13, "The Devil's Staircase" in three words:
Practice, practice, practice.
Then, practice some more. Then some more. And then: ....practice some more.
The piece tests a performers determination and ability to focus. There are other pieces that are technically harder to play, but I've encountered nothing as mentally demanding as this ... except other Ligeti etudes.
A quick tip: I originally learned the piece by counting 8th notes. Later, I began listening to the various groupings of 8th notes (5, 6, 7, 9, etc.), and now I listen for the bigger picture.
What computer programs did you use to make your super-fabulous recital flyers? I have big ambitions for mine, but nothing ever turns out quite right.
Deficient in Design
Glad to hear you liked the flyers! I always figure a concert flyer should reflect the concert. If I see a boring, un-invested concert flyer, I assume the concert is going to be the same! I try to avoid creating such an impression with my own.
My older brother designed the first and last "super-fabulous" flyers; I'm not sure how he made them, but I think he did a terrific job. I made the rest with a combination of Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, a scanner, markers and pens, and a photocopier. I start with a very specific image in mind and do whatever it takes to get it on paper. ...usually I have to make compromises along the way. If you have trouble, remember that it's always possible find effective ways to transform "messy" into "artsy!"
I once heard you talk about how your dad soundproofed your practice room at home. I've just moved into a new apartment, and though the walls are thick and I don't have any wall-neighbors, the sound travels up the wall and bothers an at-home writer 4 floors above me. What should I do? I don't want to muffle the piano too much but instead would rather attempt to "sound-proof" the room. What do you think about foam? I am open to any and all suggestions.
Blisteringly Bombastic (not really) in Berlin
My dad's form of soundproofing was nothing more than mattresses hauled up from the basement and placed around the piano. It didn't really work and my family members remained frustrated by the bombast.
You could hire a professional acoustician. Soundproofing is a tricky job, so much so that people spend years in school studying the science behind it. They could offer you better advice than me! One thing I've seen repeatedly in soundproofed apartments: the piano is elevated off the main floor. Apparently, the main conduit for the sound to reach other apartments is the legs of the piano and the floor. With this in mind, you could try putting the piano on, like, three thick rugs.
I own an electronic keyboard (Yamaha P90). Really, it's not as bad as you might think! It's designed for classical pianists and it has several functions which are surprisingly handy (various Baroque-style tunings, recording capabilities, and several fine-tuning sound adjusters). I use the keyboard for composing (because it connects to my computer) and when I want to spares my neighbors from the bombast.
You're in a sticky situation. Flowers, chocolates, and baked goods may help diffuse the emotions with your neighbor!
Our four hands of fingers get tangled when playing the "Waltz of the Flowers" from the Nutcracker. Any suggestions??
Muddled in Mahtomedi :)
That's the fun of four-hand playing - tangled fingers, limbs, feet, etc.! Liz and I routinely become weak from laughter during our rehearsals!
The element of physical navigation is unique to four hands at one piano, and it is helpful to isolate the issue and practice it separately. When you practice your parts individually, make sure you practice as if the other pianist is there. Drill things like "going over" or "under," "around" or "elbow in," so that you remember everything when you and your partner practice together.
That said, there are a couple tricks you may want to consider:
- Try placing two benches in front of the keys at a slight angle to one another so that the pianist make a "V" (facing each other). It gives you more elbow room.
- Instead of cramming your elbows into your sides (the top player's left elbow and the bottom player's right), try elevating or lowering your elbow so that it sits above or below your partner's elbow. Although it is awkward, I find it to be much less technically restricting than playing with my elbow stuck in my side!
- In particularly nasty points, consider switching the left and right hand parts of the two pianists. Although it may not make musical sense (and "goodness!", you'll have to cross the invisible line many composers insist on drawing down the keyboard), it's frequently easier. When the two pianists cross hands, it forces them to utilize "Trick #2."
Four-hand playing it very similar to dancing - the hands and fingers are like a pair of dancers' feet - it can be just as beautiful to watch as it is to listen!
My love life sucks. I haven't been on a date in over a year. I find the piano more interesting than any of the guys I've met lately. What should I do?
Desolate in Deutschland
Good grief! I'm not a psychologist, nor do I pretend to be!
Regardless, I can offer you two bits of common sense. 1) Be authentic. If you'd rather interest yourself with the piano, no one's stopping you. If you'd rather be out on dates, get yourself out there. 2) The piano is there to enhance real life, not supplant it.
Now, if your some reason, you are intimating that pianists (myself included) are stuck in the practice room and have no love lives, I suggest you reconsider! "Us Weekly" could easily devote an entire issue to the torrid romantic records of the great pianists.
Dear Mr. Anderson,
Sometimes it's hard for me to memorize pieces. Am I just stupid or is it hard for everyone? I feel like killing myself when I have a memory slip. Please help me soon.
Desperate in Denver
Memory is something I've struggled with for as long as I can.....remember. Desperation and threats are certainly no way to solve the problem - in fact, the more you think about memory while you perform, the more slips are likely to happen. There are a couple tips I can offer:
- Practice! The more you play a piece, the easier it will be to engrain the music in your memory.
- Think harmonically. Remember the key scheme of the piece - For example, know that your piece is in d minor and that the middle is in F major.
- When you memorize music, connect every musical phrase in the piece to images or feelings. The brain is better at retaining visual thoughts or emotions than it is at recalling numbers and words. It's this fact that allows us to "remember a face, but not a name!" Comical images help it stick even longer. For example, if there is a heavy, fast, and low passage in the music, try thinking about an elephant performing ballet while you are learning it. I know it sounds ridiculous, but if you think about the elephant during performance rather than every note name, you are more likely to recall the right notes. - Or if some of the music recalls the feeling of a really good hug, think about that while you learn it.
Not really a pianist. But I am planning on studying music. I'm a junior in high school and have played the trumpet for about 8 or so years. Right now I have my sights set on Duquesne University's music school for music technology. In the audition, you have to pass an aural musicianship exam. I'm told I have a good ear, but I just need to develop it. ...How exactly does one do that? What would you say is the best way? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
The best way to develop your ear is to learn to identify and sing intervals - in fact, I'll bet that's exactly what they'll test you on. First practice with a friend. Have him or her play a scale at the piano and then play a note against the tonic pitch. Example: your friend plays a D major scale and then plays a "D" with the "A" above it. Your challenge would be to identify the interval (a fifth). Practice this until you can nail it every time. Then switch it around. Have you friend play a scale and ask you to sing an interval above the tonic pitch. Example: your friend plays a D minor scale and then plays the "D" and asks you to sing a minor third above that. Your challenge would be to sing an "F." Eventually you should be able to get rid of the reference scale beforehand and simply be able to identify and sing random intervals.
Best of luck in your audition!
What was it like meeting Daniel Radcliffe? What was he like? What was Emma like? How long were you an intern for Goblet of Fire?
Harry Potter Fan
Dear Harry Potter Fan,
Are you really a piano student?? I've received many questions of this nature, and I'll remind you - I'd love to post the journals from my experience, but I'm under heavy confidentiality restrictions! Everyone was so nice to me during my stay at the Leavesden Studios - I'd rather not break their trust. Perhaps sometime soon I'll receive permission to post some of my journals from the experience. For now, I'll touch on these, but then I need to get back to practicing the piano!
- It was a surreal experience meeting Daniel Radcliffe - After seeing actors on huge, gigantic screens, it sometimes slips the mind that they are real people. Dan was so down-to-earth and friendly that it was hard for me to connect this person to the cinema. He seemed like he could have been my next-door neighbor! Actually, I think he's got to be one of the most intelligent, friendly, sincere, and unassuming 15-year-olds I will ever meet. Every time he saw me, on or off the sets, he'd make a point to say hello and give me a huge smile. On several occasions, he'd make his way over and we'd chat as if we'd known each other for years - I was completely amazed. Emma was exactly the same. They both were genuinely interested in everything BUT themselves - something pretty impressive, considering their position. While I'd be trying to talk with them about the movie, they'd be asking if I was having a good time, what I was up to, or how my flights went.
- I was in England for 10 days and I spent 5 days interning on the sets. I also saw Dan and Emma during the two MTV shows I did in New York and London.