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Archive for the ‘MR SEVERINO PRESENTS’ Category

Animals

Monkeys, Lions and Turtles (and even Butterflies) …….. OH MY!!

Four very different creatures.  Four very different characters!!  Let’s talk about each one.

What is the character of a MONKEY?  Think of a word that describes a MONKEY?  What’s your word?

My word is PLAYFUL.

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What is the character of a LION?  What is your word that describes a LION?

My word is MAJESTIC.  This is why LIONS are known as the KING OF THE JUNGLE.

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What is the first thing that pops in your mind when thinking of a TURTLE?  What is your word?

My word is S—L—O—W.  My mom would often tell me I was as slow as a turtle.

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Finally, what one word best describes the character of a BUTTERFLY?

That one is pretty tough.  My word is FLIGHTY.  Butterflies quickly bounce from place to place.

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Music can express these same characteristics.  Music can be MAJESTIC.  Music can be SLOW.  Music can be PLAYFUL.  Music can be FLIGHTY.

You are going to hear four excerpts of music.  Listen closely to see if you can hear its characteristics.  Is it MAJESTIC?  Is it SLOW?  Is it PLAYFUL?  Is it FLIGHTY?  Which animal is best pictured by each musical example.  Are we listening to LION MUSIC or TURTLE MUSIC or MONKEY MUSIC or BUTTERFLY MUSIC?

SET ONE

Which of the four examples was MAJESTIC ….. which one was SLOW ….. which one was PLAYFUL ….. which one was FLIGHTY?

In no particular order you just heard …..

1) March from the Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint Saens.

2) Concerto for Recorder, Oboe and Bassoon by Antonio Vivaldi.

3) Etude in G flat major by Frederic Chopin.

4) Offenbach melody from Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint Saens.

Let’s try again with another set of musical examples!!

SET TWO

Listen to each example and ask yourself; which one of the four examples was MAJESTIC ….. which one was SLOW ….. which one was PLAYFUL ….. which one was FLIGHTY?  Are we listening to LION MUSIC or TURTLE MUSIC or MONKEY MUSIC or BUTTERFLY MUSIC?

The MAGIC of music is that it can express almost anything even without using words.  In fact, some people say music is one of the most powerful languages that humans can experience.

In no particular order you just heard …..

1) Birds from Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint Saens.

2) Fragments for Woodwind Trio by Robert Muczynski.

3) Jupiter from the Planets by Gustav Holst.

4) Cello Sonata in D major (excerpt) by Johannes Brahms.

Thanks for listening to MR SEVERINO PRESENTS —Character in Music   and until next time — KEEP PRACTICING!!

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This blog is dedicated to MADDOX – my latest new piano student.

So many times a parent asks me about piano practice when their child begins piano lessons.  I, naturally, give parents my opinion.  In this blog I’m going to answer this question to the beginning piano student.

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Before talking about piano let’s talk about FUN.

Name something that’s fun?   Is going to an amusement park “fun”?  Almost everyone loves exciting rides at an amusement park.  When I was a little guy I thought the “dodge cars” were the best ride of all.

What else is “fun”?  Do you like going to a birthday party?  Especially if it’s your best friend’s birthday party?

But how do you feel when your friend opens the present you gave him?  Isn’t it “fun” watching your friend opening up your gift and tearing the paper off the package?  Isn’t it “fun” to watch the happiness when he smiles at you after opening your gift?  This is a different kind of “fun” than going to an amusement park.  Making someone else happy is “fun”.

Let’s talk about some different kinds of “fun”.  When you get a good report card isn’t it “fun” to hand it to your parents?  It wasn’t easy getting all those good grades but making your mom and dad happy was great fun.

Or, when you make a special mother’s day present at school, isn’t it “fun” to see your mom’s reaction to your present?  But maybe in making the gift you got glue all over your fingers and some things stuck to the glue making things messy.  That wasn’t “fun” but when your mom told you how she loved your gift I bet you forgot all about those sticky fingers and the mess it made.

How about when you see someone at school that’s all alone and you decide to talk to him to give him some company.  You start to talk and he smiles at you and thanks you for talking to him.  You took a chance and did something a little bit scary, but in the process you made a friend and in the following days you and your new friend had lots of “fun” together.

How about video games?  Are they “fun”?

Piano lessons can be great fun, too.  But, they are a lot like the “fun” of getting a good report card, or, making that special gift for mom, or, taking that chance and making a new friend.  BUT ….. it’s also a lot like your favorite video game.

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Let’s enter the world of ……. Scaling Piano Mountain

Scaling Piano Mountain has all the thrills of the most popular video games.  Scores of levels.  Monsters to conquer.  Traps to avoid.  Power to build.  Knowledge to acquire.  Friends to help you on your way.

You must take the long and challenging journey to Climb Piano Mountain.  You start at a young age with no skill or knowledge.  Your mentor is a highly skilled Master who has studied with the greatest wizards of the land of Musica.  Piano Mountain is one of the highest peaks found in the dense forests of Symphonia.  These great wizards have studied with Master Wizards some of which have known the greatest Masters of Musica, the Composamenti.

Your mentor will teach begin teaching you from the Great Motto of Musica — THROUGH THE HANDS COME STRENGTH – THROUGH THE EYES COME KNOWLEDGE.  You see, at LEVEL 1 you as yet have no strength for the

THROUGH THE HANDS COME STRENGTH - THROUGH THE EYES COME KNOWLEDGE

THROUGH THE HANDS COME STRENGTH – THROUGH THE EYES COME KNOWLEDGE

journey to Piano Mountain nor do your have the knowledge to know the way.  Your Mentor will begin to give your hands great strength to master the great physical demands of the ancient Composamenti.  Your Mentor will give you a keen eye to master every small marking in any of the writings of the great Composamenti.  In time you yourself may become a Little Wiz.

In LEVEL 1 it’s very important to learn the discipline to learn the strength and knowledge for the journey to Piano Mountain.  And this is the key of your practice.  LEVEL 1 STEP 1 is to begin to devote some time every day in the acquiring of strength and knowledge.  The most important discipline is to practice a little EACH DAY.  This is even more important than the length of time you spend each day.  As you gain in knowledge and strength you can slowly increase the time you spend each day.  But the first order of business is to make practice a regular and daily habit.  Once you master this task you will be able to advance to LEVEL 2.  In LEVEL 2 some Mentors may bring you through the Steppes of Staccato and take you to your first visit to the Land of Legato.  But those challenges are for another day.

So now, my little poppet, you are now ready to begin to take your first steps to Scaling Piano Mountain.  GO FORTH, HAVE FUN AND CONQUER!!

Thanks for listening to MR SEVERINO PRESENTS — The Game of Practice   and until next time — KEEP PRACTICING!!

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An Old Man In Front of A WindowLook at this picture.  What do you see?  Most people would say I see an old man.  If that was your answer you are absolutely correct.

But is that ALL that we see?  What else do we see?  Do you also see the window in back of the old man?  YES!  This picture also contains a window behind the old man.

This picture teaches us about FRONT and BACK.  The old man is in the front of the picture.  The window is in the back of the picture.

Music also has a front and a back.

What we see first in the picture we can call the FOREGROUND.

What we see next in the picture we can call the BACKGROUND.

Music also has a FOREGROUND and a BACKGROUND.

The FOREGROUND is what our ears hear most easily.

But if we listen closely we will notice other musical sounds.  These other sounds make up the BACKGROUND.

Let’s now listen to a piece of music to find the FOREGROUND and the BACKGROUND.  Let’s listen to a song by the famous composer Franz Schubert.  Franz Schubert lived 200 years ago when the United States was a very young nation.  George Washington could have seen Franz Schubert as a little baby had they lived in the same nation.  Franz Schubert was born in Austria, one of the nations of Europe.

Franz Schubert composed beautiful songs with beautiful melodies.  The song we are going to listen to is called Hedge-Roses.  Let’s listen!

What did you hear FIRST?  What was in the FRONT or in the FOREGROUND?  Did you hear the singer?

But, upon listening a little closer did you hear a different musical instrument?  Did you hear an instrument that was in the BACK, or BACKGROUND?  Did you hear the piano?

This song by Franz Schubert has a FRONT and a BACK just like the picture of — An Old Man in Front of A Window.

The next time you listen to music listen for FRONT and BACK.  Listen for the FOREGROUND part and the BACKGROUND part.  This will help you to listen to music better and you will enjoy it more.  Learn to be a GOOD LISTENER!!

Thanks for listening to MR SEVERINO PRESENTS — An Old Man in Front of a Window   and until next time — KEEP PRACTICING!!

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