Thursday, July 31, 2014

Student Post: George Friedrich Handel

Period: Baroque 
Born: Germany on February 23, 1685
Died: England on April 14, 1759 
Specialist: operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos.
Famous works: Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks, Messiah and Coronation Anthems.

Handel is one of the greatest composer of the Baroque era, born the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach and Domenico ScarlattiHandel studied in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712). He was influenced by Italian Baroque and Middle German Polyphonic Choral tradition. Handel  made a transition to English choral works after Alexander's Feast was well received, which was written in 1736. The Coronation Anthems were composed for George II of Great Britain and is still used for British Coronation today. He also composed over 40 operas in 30 years and The Messiah in 1742. Handel lived in England for nearly 50 years and was a respected, rich man. Handel's funeral was given full state honours and he was buried in Westminster Abbey (church founded in 960)

by a Suzuki Violin Book 1 elementary school student

Monday, July 28, 2014

Practice Tips for Firefly in Faber Lesson Book 1

Congratulations you have started Faber Book Level 1. Your first piece is Firefly. Here are some tips and focus points that will help you master this piece:
  • Prepare your hands in the C position: right hand thumb on C and left hand pinky on the lower C.
  • The right hand starts, as you can see the notes in the Treble Clef staff is for the right hand. The left hand plays the bottom staff with the Bass Clef.
  • Practice the right hand by itself 3-4 times, then do the same with the left hand. As you are playing each hand by itself watch your fingers that they stay curved and firm.
  • Now, you are ready to try both hands together. Watch those fingers to keep them curved and firm.
  • When you start putting both hands together, take your time and do not be in a hurry it will sound a lot better this way.
  • Try the song 2-3 times without the book and see how much of the song you have mastered.
  • Play the notes mf (mezzo forte) strong with firm fingers.
  • Make the notes where you have a p really soft, because p means to play soft.
  • Try the song in D, E and F position, it is going to sound a little different.
What tips do you have for Firefly? Feel free to ask questions, suggestions and concerns in the comment box. And if you want more help, try a free online lesson!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Student Post: Johannes Brahms, Part 1

Let’s go back about 200 years to a time of music before Katy Perry and Bruno Mars where a marvelous masterpiece of music lived who was born in 1833. This man of compositions more beautiful than a flower, more creative then art and more suspense and adventure then Tom and Jerry was named Johannes Brahms (Yo-han-ess Bram-s). He was born in Germany in the year 1833 and he was a composer and pianist. He wrote and composed many symphonies (orchestra music), concerto (solo instrument or an instrument accompanied my orchestra), chamber music (music held for small groups of people), piano work and choral compositions (compositions usually written for chorus or choir). So, what’s so important about an old dude playing piano? More than you can think up!

 The Beginning

     Johannes Brahms was born May 7, 1833 in Hamburg, Germany in the romantic era explaining the reason why some of his works were romantic. Brahms was the second born child, out of three, born to Johanna Henrika Christiane Nissen and Johann Jakob Brahms. At an early age Brahms was intrigued with music and began playing piano at the age of 7. As a teenager Brahms was already an accomplished musician, unlike most teenagers nowadays. He would play wherever he could to help provide his family with money. Brahms had quickly become famous when a close friend named Robert Schumann (renowned German composer) had talked about Johannes Brahms’ beautiful music in a famous article. Soon new sounds became popular leading Schumann and Brahms to indulge in this harmonic beauty and making many famous composers famous. Unexpectedly, Schumann fell ill in 1854 and died in 1856. Just as Dory would say, “just keep swimming” and that’s exactly what Brahms did after Schumann’s death, he moved on. Several years after the tragedy, Brahms played in many places and wrote famous pieces such as “String sextet in B-Major” and “Piano Concerto in No.1 in D Minor."

        A Change in a New Place

     In the early 1860’s Brahms made his way to Vienna (a city in Austria) where 3 years later was appointed director to a choral group named Singakademie. Brahms was delighted at how well life was in Vienna. I mean who wouldn’t like an opportunity to be conductor of “Society of Friends of Music”? Also, Brahms directed the “Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra” for three seasons. In 1868, Brahms’s mother died and it was tragic. But that year was also a year when he finished a piece called “A German Requiem” (which brought together chorus, solo voices and an orchestra), this was a very important composition in his time. In this time he also composed waltzes and two volumes of “Hungarian Dances” for piano which were very popular in his time. 

Check back for part 2. More on Brahms here. What do you like about Johannes Brahms? 

By a Suzuki Book 1 violin 7th grade student