Monday, August 30, 2010

Little Chamber Music Players

This past week I taught at Camp Point Counterpoint near Middlebury, VT. The pianist in this trio was my student and was such a good little pianist!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pianos to plunk down around NYC

60 instruments installed around city are part of world tour

.Video: Public pianos strike chord in NY

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Transcript of: Public pianos strike chord in NYAdvertisement
ad infoBRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: reported by a lot of New Yorkers on the streets of this city today. Turns out it was music , as in from an actual piano outdoors in the middle of it all. And it turns out there's a good reason for it. Our report tonight from NBC 's Rehema Ellis .

REHEMA ELLIS reporting: This is the music of the city. But today New York streets have an added rhythm. In Times Square , an old piano has been spruced up and marked with a clear invitation, encouraging anyone to stop and tickle the ivories for free.

I've never like played anywhere except my home pretty much, so it's really cool.

Unidentified Woman: That's just what British artist Luke Jerram was hoping for. He came up with the idea for an outdoor art project two years ago to inspire city folks to interact.

ELLIS: The pianos are a blank canvas for everyone else in the city to express themselves and to have a great time and to connect with one another.

Mr. LUKE JERRAM (Street Pianos Creator): The pianos exhibit first hit the streets in England , Brazil and Australia , and has generated a YouTube following. But the biggest exhibit yet is right here in New York City . Sixty old, unwanted pianos like this one have been placed at parks, on street corners and famous landmarks. It's an effort organized by a nonprofit artist group Sing for Hope . There are all sorts of players, from students of the art...

ELLIS: And I love playing it outdoor in nature, so it's just like, you know, it's pretty nice.

Unidentified Man #1: professionals, to wannabes.

ELLIS: Did you get any tips?

Offscreen Voice: No. Nothing in the hat today.

Unidentified Man #2: I think it's great. I don't really know what it's for, but whatever it is it -- I think it's wonderful and they should probably do it again if they can.

Unidentified Man #3: After two weeks in New York , the show closes here, but these pianos will be donated to local schools and community groups so the music can go on. Rehema Ellis,


Show transcript

by Sara Kugler Frazier

updated 6/21/2010 9:55:55 AM ET

Share Print Font: +-NEW YORK — Consider them keys to the city: Anyone who gets a sudden itch to tickle the ivories will be able to play free public pianos in 50 places throughout New York City, from the Coney Island boardwalk to the Metropolitan Museum.

An art installation touring the world is making its first U.S. stop beginning Monday. For two weeks, players can play tunes on pianos all over New York City, at famous landmarks like the Lincoln Center, the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Staten Island ferry terminal and Central Park's bandshell.

The concept, devised by British artist Luke Jerram, has put more than 130 pianos in parks, squares and bus stations since 2008 in cities including London, Sydney and Sao Paulo. And now it's New York City's turn to play, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday.

"There's going to be a huge amount of talent here," Jerram said in an interview. "The piano's actually a blank canvas for everyone's creativity, really, so I just hope that the city enjoys it."

The New York installation will be the largest in the project. It is double the size of the previous largest — 30 pianos in London last year.

Each of the 60 pianos to be installed throughout New York has its own attendants responsible for its care. That involves unlocking the keyboard at 9 a.m. every day and deploying a heavy tarp over the instrument if it rains.

The pianos were donated for the cause and have been painted and decorated by artists.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Healing vs. Curing with music

I think that people sometimes get confused about the difference between "healing" and "curing." They are not synonymous...not at all! Music heals but it does not cure. To go a little deeper, music can ease the symptoms of pain; it can greatly improve the mood; it can distract from feelings of gloom and despair; it can calm an anxious and troubled mind, and it can energize a lethargic and sluggish body.

Whatever condition of the mind, body, spirit that has descended on a person that makes them want to feel better, music can usually help. I won't say always because always is too big of a word. But music can definitely help a troubled person. Healing is the amelioration or lessening of the symptoms, whatever they may be. Next time you want to feel better, put on some music, play or sing some music yourself, or just think about some music that you love and that has meaning for you. You will feel the healing power of music!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Music and Dance Appear out of nowhere at Train Station in Belgium

There seem to be more and more incidents of spontaneous song and dance in the most unexpected places. Here is another example of over 200 people bursting into song and dance! What's going on? I love it!

Friday, March 05, 2010

A Day with Dr. Clive Robbins, Music Therapy Pioneer

This morning I had the distinct pleasure of spending a morning in a wonderful workshop at the U of L School of Music, listening to and learning from Dr. Clive Robbins, who has spent his life working with handicapped children and using music therapy to transform their lives. If you're interested in learning more about him and his work with Paul Nordoff, go to

Saturday, February 06, 2010

What exactly IS Sound Healing?

Sound Healing has become more popular over the last couple of decades, simply because more and more research has proven that we are greatly affected mentally, emotionally, and physically by sounds or combinations of sounds. Sounds can essentially bring us up or bring us down, from a mental and emotional standpoint, and this works the same way on the physical level as well.

How Sound Healing Works

Because all sounds have a frequency, and every cell in our bodies also has a frequency, these frequencies can work together to heal our minds and our bodies. For example, in modern medicine, sound is commonly used. Sound waves, or sound frequencies, can be used to destroy gallstones or kidney stones in many cases.

Sound is also often used for the reduction of pain, although we don’t realize it. For example, when you have a dental procedure done these days, you will usually have the option of wearing earphones and listening to music. This isn’t to drown out the sound of the dentist’s drill. It’s for the purpose of taking your mind off of the procedure, to reduce the pain that you experience, and to relax your mind as well.

If you doubt that this type of therapy actually works, or has an effect on us, try it out yourself. Listen to music that you love for about thirty minutes, and then jot down your feelings in a journal. On another day, listen to music that you hate, and again jot your feelings down. You will most likely notice that your feelings after hearing music that you liked were positive, while they were negative after exposure to music that you did not like.

Various Sounds Used for Sound Healing

While most people think that only music is used for this type of healing, this isn’t true at all. While music is widely used, and highly beneficial, other sounds are also used – such as beating drums, sounds of animals, sounds of water, sounds of wind, sounds of the ocean, and many other sounds.

Typically, the sound chosen for your healing will depend on the type of healing that is needed, and on your personal preferences concerning sounds. For example, some music and sounds can actually distress us, while other types of music and sounds make us quite happy, or extremely relaxed.

The Benefits of Sound Healing

Sound healing can be used for a variety of problems. It can lower the blood pressure, ease or eliminate stress, reduce pain, improve sleep, lift depression, and much more. You can find sound therapy or healing used in doctor’s offices, dentist offices, hospitals, day care centers, schools, nursing homes, prisons, rehabilitation centers, and a variety of other places.

For more info, go to

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What music is most relaxing for YOU?

Music can be used as a valuable stress management and relaxation tool. Relaxation music creates an ambient oasis of peace and tranquility enhancing vital relaxation.

Music is a great accompaniment for holistic therapies and very powerful tool for relieving stress. It also enhances the production of guided meditation or hypnotherapy. Soothing music helps a person calm down, lower the heart rate and by design create additional alpha brainwaves with its special rhythms.

Music with a magical tempo of 60 beats per minute enhance a restful sleep, speed up learning, improve immune response, decrease the need for anesthesia during surgery and has even been known to reduce blood pressure.

The experience of most people and science points out the significance of baroque music in offering relaxation. Studies indicate that baroque music played at 60 beats per minute enables the brain to generate increased alpha brainwaves offering a relaxation effect.

To choose the relaxation music, which works best for you, start by testing the various types of soothing music available. It is likely that what one considers relaxing may be irritating to another. Choosing appropriate calming music is a matter of personal preferences, but though one’s personal preferences go into the equation, some kind of music is more relaxing than other music.

The brain primarily produces brainwaves at 14 to 30 cycles per second (hertz) known as beta waves when in normal consciousness. Brainwaves with frequencies of 8 to 14 cycles per second are alpha waves that are present when one is more relaxed. Around 4 to 8 cycles per second is the theta waves that present a deeper drowsy and meditative state. Finally, when one is asleep, delta waves of fewer than 5 hertz are produced.

Normally, alpha brainwaves stimulate a relaxing state, but meditation encourages a more relaxing consciousness state especially if practiced regularly. For those who have no time or inclinations to meditate, music embedded with particular beats works in a similar way. This is the source for brainwave entertainment technology, which alter one’s brainwaves giving a rapid relaxation response. Relaxation music affects the soul. People don’t just merely hear it, they also feel it.

When trying to use relaxation music to calm the body and spirit it is most important to choose music that is relaxing to you. There are various styles and genres of music and the style that is comfortable for one person may be completely different from the style that relaxes another. Trial and error will help to gauge which style is best for your mind.