Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The 2022 Edition of The Royal Conservatory's Piano Syllabus and Celebration Series Launches this Wednesday at Koerner Hall in Toronto


Every seven years, The Royal Conservatory launches a new edition of its Piano Syllabus and Celebration Series in order to reflect new directions in piano pedagogy and to refresh the many selections available for developing pianists to learn.

The kickoff event for the new series and syllabus is Music Lights the Way on Wednesday, April 27 in Koerner Hall at The Royal Conservatory in Toronto. Pianists appearing include Steward Goodyear, Lang Lang, Angela Hewitt, Jan Lisiecki, Tony Yike Yang, Heather Schmidt, and Dianne Werner-Simon. 

The in-person event is sold out, but you can still register to watch the livestream online

One of the highlights of this event is an announcement that the RCM will be gifting more than 400,000 physical copies of the Celebration Series, Sixth Edition to teachers across North America. 

Yes, you read that correctly. Stay tuned over the coming days for more information on how you can redeem your copies. 

I'll be posting more articles over the coming months on the new series and how it can inform your teaching. For now, here are a few of the works newly introduced to the Celebration Series that I'm really excited about and are going to have tremendous value for both teachers and students.

From the Level 8 repertoire book, From Moanin' Pines by Harry Burleigh, played by Julia Scott Carey:


From the Level 10 repertoire book, Troubled Water by Margaret Bonds, played by Samantha Ege:





Wednesday, February 23, 2022

duo526 Sonata Seminar at Indiana University on May 23-27, 2022


Those of you who are interested in exploring the extensive violin and piano repertoire might be interested in attending duo526's week-long Sonata Seminar at the end of May hosted by the Jacobs Academy at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. This is a fantastic opportunity for those interested in deepening their ensemble skills and knowledge of the art of ensemble with violin and piano. 

Some information from the website:

duo526 Sonata Seminar @ IU offers an intensive five-day performance seminar to explore the art of listening for both pianists and violinists. Since 2018, duo526 Sonata Seminar has been offered at Brandon University, Canada; duo526 is thrilled to bring its program to IU’s Jacobs Academy. Up to five duos (five violinists and five pianists) will be selected via the application process. The daily schedule includes mentoring time, wellness time, individual coaching, training, and masterclasses. The program will culminate with the recital performance on the final day. Any pianists or violinists aged 18+ are eligible to apply.

duo526 is a duo ensemble with Kerry DuWors and pianist Futaba Niekawa. They'll be joined by wellness instructor David Simpson for the workshop. Registration and audition info is on the IU link above, and the registration deadline is March 15. 

Monday, February 07, 2022

Leaving Classical Music?


Since the start of the pandemic, many classical musicians have made a shift away from traditional classical music work, in whole or in part. Clarinettist Zach Manzi writes about his experience on why he left the profession

As much as I’ve felt like a failure over the last almost two years, I don’t regret my choice. I wish it was more normalized to move on from music as a profession , but there’s so much shame around “quitting.” I wish I’d known earlier that moving on would allow me to grow in ways that would not have been possible if I stayed. I’ve been working to know myself apart from my identity as a musician, which I always held in higher regard than my inherent worth as a human being. Even for musicians, life is much bigger than music, but I never really understood that until now. 

When I think about why I want to share this story, I think about younger musicians who are struggling to figure out what they want to do with their careers. Many are anxious and depressed, trying to find their way, exactly as I was, realizing that their career in music is not giving them what they had hoped it would.

Zach's follow-up article on what it means to end a career in classical music looks at how is identity changed as he was no longer defining his self-worth in terms of success as a musician:

So what did I mean by ending my career? Although I would characterize ending my career by no longer depending on the classical music industry for income, that feels like the least significant part of it. I still practice the clarinet occasionally, take gigs when I want to , and enjoy talking about and listening to classical music. It’s still an important part of my life. The most significant part of ending my career in classical music has been far more existential. 

The end has primarily involved attempting to separate myself from my identity as a musician, which has led to my understanding that I’ve let my talents and abilities define my worth. There were times in my adult life when I literally thought being a musician was the only interesting thing about me. I’d convinced myself I could not give up that identity because then nobody would want me. I thought worth came from being admired for the things I did, having talent and creating something beautiful in the world, and ultimately, my career choice.

How does it feel to "make it" outside classical music when there are fewer and fewer jobs in orchestras and university teaching jobs are mostly sessional/adjunct positions that don't pay very well? Some of the musicians that I've talked to mentioned these things:

  • once you leave classical music, there are way more than the half dozen positions available every year in your field across North America
  • the pay for an entry-level programming job is often the same as a position in a major orchestra
  • less anxiety
  • more time for exercise
  • since hours are often flexible in remote positions, you can still take on freelance performing work
Musicians who have left the profession, what have your experiences been like? Leave a comment below. 

(Image courtesy of Michael Jasmund on Unsplash)

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Bebop Mädchen: Effective Practicing, Optimal Time Management, and Pomodoro for Musicians


One of the areas that musicians continually need to improve in is the art of managing our time, including with practicing, studying, and admin work. On a recent edition of the Bebop Mädchen podcast, Jens Emil Jensen talks about his experiences managing his time as a musician:



For those who aren't familiar with the methodologies that Jens talks about:
  • The Pomodoro Technique is a system of breaking down units of work into 25-minute blocks, with a 5-minute rest between them. Every four Pomodoros, take a longer 15-30 minute break. 
  • GTD is a system developed by David Allen that helps us manage our commitments with a five-step process of capture, processing, organizing, review and engagement. Here's a quick intro to the system
I've been using GTD since 2006, and have found it to be incredibly useful over the long term to organize my inputs and manage my projects. The Pomodoro system is a bit newer to me, but using it has resulted in a noticeable increase in my ability to focus on important stuff and get it completed. 

What can be frustrating is setting aside time but not getting to it, as well as overshooting the time we estimate and getting done way too early. To Jens' excellent explanation of the Pomodoro Technique, I would also add the importance of planning the estimated Pomodoros over the day and reviewing whether you achieved them, undershot, or overshot your estimates, and why. This daily reflection helps to create better estimations over time. Also check out Mike Sturm's The Today System for a related methodology. 

(Image courtesy of Thanos Pal on Unsplash)

Monday, January 24, 2022

The Summer 2022 Collaborative Piano Institute at LSU


Ana Maria Otamendi sends along some information about this summer's Collaborative Piano Institute at LSU:

It is my pleasure once again to invite your students to apply to the sixth edition of the Collaborative Piano Institute, which will take place between June 5th - 25th 2022 at Louisiana State University. Our program is open to all pianists who are interested in the collaborative arts, from undergraduate students to professionals. 

NEW IN 2022!

CPI, the Vocal Academy, and the Collaborative Strings Institute are accepting applications for duos, trios, or larger pre-formed groups! Click here for more information.

NEW FACULTY MEMBERS JOIN CPI REGULARS:

We are elated to welcome an even larger roster of collaborative piano superstars: 
Anne Epperson (Director of Collaborative Piano at Indiana University) will join returning faculty members Martin Katz (University of Michigan), Howard Watkins (Juilliard School, Yale, MET), Kathleen Kelly, (Cincinnati College Conservatory, former Director of Musical Studies at the Vienna Staatsoper, and former Head of Music/Music Director at Houston Grand Opera), Jonathan Feldman (Juilliard, NEC, Music Academy of the West), Elvia Puccinelli (UNT), Christopher Turbessi (Rice University), Elena Abend (University of Wisconsin), Ana Maria Otamendi (Louisiana State University), and Elena Lacheva (Louisiana State University) among many others. For more information please see the attachment or visit our website and our Facebook page and also check out the Testimonials of our alumni. 

Click here for Vocal Academy Faculty and Collaborative Strings Institute faculty.

THE TRADITION CONTINUES

We continue to offer the intensive learning experience which we are known for, tailored to the individual needs of every pianist through individual lessons, collaboration with seasoned professionals in recitals and masterclasses, and over 50 group classes, lectures, and performance opportunities. To see how a day at CPI unfolds, check out our Daily Schedule page.

FINANCIAL AID

We have a higher number of scholarships available, and the scholarship decisions would be made based on the audition recordings and demonstrated need. 

APPLICATION DEADLINES

NEW IN 2022:
 Early Bird Application due February 15th, 2022 ($35)
Regular deadline: March 15th, 2022 ($55)

For any questions, please email us at collaborativepianoinstitute@gmail.com 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Erika Switzer on Collaborative Resilience


"In reorienting our systems toward diversity, equity, and inclusion, we inherently acknowledge that it takes more than perseverance to overcome such obstacles. Whereas the internal fortitude of perseverance costs energy, such that we may acquire emotional debt, systemic change universally invests in its constituents through equitable treatment and compensation, making resilience an institutionally supported commodity. In the meantime, as we persevere, resilience must be cultivated by individuals and within communities. In my own work, the essential elements of collaborative resilience are restorative piano practice, socially conscious communication habits, and regular celebration of accomplishments. Taken together, these elements express a global respect for ourselves and for others."

Erika Switzer's Collaborative Resilience in the Jan/Feb 2022 NATS Journal of Singing explores how we can add sustainability into our collaborative work, benefitting others as well as maintaining the well of creativity within us. The sections on restorative practice, communication habits, and celebration of accomplishments are important touchstones for all musicians. 

You can read more about Erika's work here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Collaborative Piano Internships at The Trentino Music Festival



Maddalena Deichmann from the Trentino Music Festival sends along the following information about the festival's new collaborative piano program:

Trentino Music Festival is an international Young Artist Program that runs every summer in the beautiful Dolomiti region in Trentino, Italy. 

The program has been growing exponentially in its many seasons, and we are now launching a collaborative piano program - offering a few positions with fully scholarshipped tuition and housing provided. The successful candidates will live among a culturally rich international community of talented young artists for 5 weeks, and will work with and receive coaching and tutoring from renowned professionals in the field; they will also be able to enjoy time off in the gorgeous Unesco Heritage Dolomites in the Primiero Valley - or head to Venice or another nearby city such as Verona for the weekend.
You can read more about the collaborative piano program here. The opera and voice faculty includes vocal coaches Jane Robinson, Peter Nilsson, and Tim Ribchester. Tuition and registration information is here