All posts by Elaine

The Mute Art

Next to one of his own compositions on YouTube, Per-Olov Kindgren writes, “Ok, I’m doing it again. Telling my life with music. Sorry. If I was a writer/author, I would write a long story. Now I have to do this instead.” I say back to him, “maybe you would write a long story if you were an author, but how much more moving that you can say it succinctly in this mute, beautiful language that is music.”  Continue reading The Mute Art

Music and Human Beings

For the last few days I’ve been transfixed by the videos of precocious young children playing piano music by Mozart, Haydn, Chopin, Debussy, etc, on YouTube. There are always comments under these videos remarking that the child in question is too young to understand such music, that there is a lack of expression, etc. But it seems to me that these young children do indeed understand the music and that there is hardly ever a lack of appropriate expression. Continue reading Music and Human Beings

Songwriting and Composing

Why is songwriting referred to as a ‘craft’ and yet the composing of a sonata, a string quartet, a symphony or even a lied is called an ‘art’? There seems to be some implication that the former is simply a skill but that the latter has more to do with creativity and expression. But surely the greatest songs, the songs that capture the thoughts and emotions that are shared by millions of people, show as much artistry as, for example, any lied by Schubert. Continue reading Songwriting and Composing

Key Sense

I was reading through some posts on the forum of UK Piano and there was a question from someone about the purpose of learning keys. My own pupils often ask me similar questions. And sometimes when I ask a pupil what key a piece of music is in they’ll reply by saying, for example, “two sharps”. Now what is the advantage of knowing that this music is in D major, (or possibly b minor)? Continue reading Key Sense

Artificial Divisions in Music

I’ve just been listening to a classical guitarist on YouTube, well I should say “a man playing music on a classical guitar”. His username is ‘AndanteLargo’ if anyone wants to go and listen. He’s posted some wonderful videos of himself playing Bach and music by other classical composers – and they sound glorious – but he’s also posted videos of himself playing songs by the Beatles and other bands, some folk music, some songs and themes from films, musicals, etc, etc, which all sound equally as glorious. It interests me that his performances on classical guitar seem to put all types of music on an equal footing. Continue reading Artificial Divisions in Music

Private Music Teachers

Should there be some control over who can (or cannot) set up as a private music teacher? I ‘inherit’ a lot of pupils who’ve been so badly taught by ‘teachers’ without any experience or qualifications that any musical ability that pupils may actually possess has been virtually ruined at the outset. I’m not saying that there’s a hidden genius in every child (or adult) but I think everyone who wants to play the piano (or any other instrument in fact) should be given the chance to develop to the best of their own ability. Unqualified people who start teaching just to bring in a few extra pennies should be avoided like the plague.