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A new year 2012;- new batch of students wanted

12 Jan

Since I’ve been in Hawaii, I’ve only had 1 or 2 students who actually paid my fee and listened to me, their teacher. And, I feel badly that I have had to “sell” my 1st piano that I purchased upon arriving in Hawaii in order to cover my immediate need of a living space. In the past 2 years and 11 months, I have attempted to build up a piano studio. However, I don’t have enough paying students.

Some of my “students” including relative(s) of people with more established Hawaii piano studios, have not paid the appropriate fees as scheduled;- and have offered what they define as payment in other terms. So, this has not worked for my piano studio financially. Additionally, I decided that it would/will be better in the future to leave men out of my studio in entirety since some of them are belligerent and insensitive to the piano business;- and have largely contributed to destroying my studio operations in Hawaii;- despite their well-groomed upbringing in Hawaii’s better High schools. Also from their threats of cutting off my fingers for fun.

In Hawaii, my teaching services and experience goes largely unappreciated financially and otherwise. And, as an instructor I will not sign a contract with other “schools/studios” where my students and thus income can be “taken away” at the whim of some “artistic director” who governs the “broke artist” realm.

So, as it stands I will be finishing lessons with the student(s) who have already paid me on my academic calendar schedule.


And, if there are sufficient complying students who not only fill out the application, but also pay the member fee, as well as full tuition up front I will resume teaching beginning students. Until that happens, I will only be available for more advanced students who pay and seek interpretation, technique, and other more artistic development lessons.

If there is a School/conservatory in Hawaii that will sufficiently cover my expenses and suitably meet my teaching fees;- I will resume teaching beginning students. My capacity for students remains below 15 students. However, at this time;- they must be paying in entirety since there are no funds for me to support students. My own living needs are priority.

If there is a “new batch of students” who can meet my requirements to employ my teaching services;- I will resume with studio hours and performances. My piano performances cannot happen with the strain of trying to financially carry needy and uncooperitive students as much as I would like to perform in Hawaii. I need that time to myself;- that has literally become part-time job  hours to afford my own basic housing & living needs. Aloha, & thanks.

Angela M. “Kikuchi” Kneale

Cross Cultural Understanding

28 Dec

repost: Cross-Cultural- Understanding from Piano_Noir  

First published Dec. 28, 2012

Aloha…is from a land of Hawaiian Ukulele music.  Ukelele music is popular among the local Hawaiian families and is frequently used at weddings and celebrations. Aloha land is 4920 miles away from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the East Coast of the United States where traditional Christian weddings are plentiful. Philadelphia, PA where Rachmaninoff hisself conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra, where the legendary piano instructors Gary Graffman & the Sokoloffs reigned for over 50 years as the best piano instructors on the planet through the 2000 millenium. Though I was adventurous as a prior student of a Hungarian piano instructor who was a collegue of Zoltan Kodaly where local folk music was embraced, the Hawaiian attitude is anything except harsh.

I was in a condusive traditional Classical piano environment and learned piano in a very strong Christian based community. One where every church has at least one grand piano, if not two or more grand pianos and electric organ or common pipe organ. I grew up with the general knowledge that Bach and many of the great keyboard Composers were supported by the Church and wrote sacred as well as secular music, with a pethora of churches and institutions where I could perform on a variety of period instruments frequently.  In diminished comparison, Hawaii barely houses an electric keyboard at any church, let alone 1 studio upright or pipe organ.

In the current 21st century economy many Hawaii churches have “gotten rid of” their keyboard instruments due to maintenance costs and vandalism from an obtrusive population. Before moving to Hawaii, I took my east coast musical environment for granted and wished the general population was understanding of my Japanese heritage. However, most of the Christian community included everyone in the USA who has traditionally hated the Japanese;- including newly formed Korean specific churches. So I continually befell physical attacks, verbal criticism, and blatant discrimination on the East coast for most of my 30 some years of life.

So, I move to Hawaii and am inundated with a severe local attitude that is against piano.  They say I have  “too high makamaka”  think I’m better than them. I worked at piano because I loved it and my talent put me through college with a scholarship.

The other day, a local parent mentioned to me that his child was learning a popular “Traditional Christian wedding piece” on their keyboard on her own. This is the first time that I have gotten to explain that these are normal pieces, that many children on the mainland learn to play at their family weddings. It’s difficult for me to believe that the culture in Hawaii is so vastly different from the East Coast USA that these things are so “foreign” to local Hawaii. Especially since I see the religious rosary with crosses dangling from many rear view mirrors, and other Christian car markings. Just as most mainland people could not explain the differences and nuances of Hawaiian musical performances because they don’t know the Hawaiian traditional song repertoire;- most Hawaiian Islander natives could not begin to explain the subtleties of any Classical piano repertoire performance.

edited: Nov. 23, 2016

Artist at Ritz Carlton Kapalua- Maui

23 Dec My Fish Go by A.M.Kneale
My Fish Go by A.M.Kneale

My last conversational drawing with Mario Pascuale, He and Katia were drawing fish- so I joined by drawing Go (my Betta)My first try at the technique (though a bit lazy) while chatting with Macario Pascuale in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton.

I got away to Maui for a couple of days, at a friend’s invitation who is a piano lover. I only got to sit at a piano for a few minutes upon arrival, a nice breather. Though, Hawaii hasn’t been too kind to being nuturing of my hands and technique due to locals not understanding how delicate the mechanism of hand/arm etc is in creating tone. After breakfast the following morning the artist-in-residence Macario Pascual at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua- who was sharing a simple batik type technique with guests in the lobby outside the gallery. He shared some of his wonderful batik designs on paper. And had a beautiful display of his oil painting “en plein air” that are wonderfully soft and clear. I learned that he also teaches tennis to local Maui residents and supports his teaching largely through sale of his paintings. Thanks to Macario Pascuale for sharing his painting passion!

A link to Macario Pascuale’s website:

Pineapple by AMKneale

My first try at the technique (though a bit lazy) while chatting with Macario Pascuale in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton. A not so modern looking pineapple.

11.11.11 Full Moon

13 Nov 11.11.11 APEC under the Full Moon
11.11.11 APEC under the Full Moon

11.11.11 a full Moon Shines

Things for a Student Recital List

25 Oct

Student Recital:

1. Students

2. Students with memorized pieces for a recital,  3 to 4 pieces from each student is preferred or more than 4 for a better time.

3. Student recital agreement contract (I’m finding that this is a MUST in the 21st century, and for Adult students)

4. Venue & piano

5. Concert Piano Tuner

6. Chairs for hall

7. Refreshment Table

8. Flowers of some sort (nicer though not necessary)

9. Recording equipment

10. Printed Programs

11.  Certificates

12. Camera/ Video Camera

13. Chair for a page turner ( if works are not memorized)

14. Refreshments – Non-dairy, no-eggs, no meat

15. Table Cloth

16. Press Release (possibility if students vote for public concert)

17. Prizes (if Fundraiser event with recital)

18. Give notice to students that 10 days to 1 month before recital they should be ready to perform.

19. Students/ school  should have mechanical licenses for copyrighted works, register each song @ $15/ song even for video taping.

20. not may be safer for posting video.

Tough decision time…

25 Oct

I had rice with teriyaki flavored nori & natto for dinner. Couldn’t focus on my practice. I feel that I have to decide on terminating a student before recital time due to 2 years of continual missed & mostly unpaid lessons on my time (wasted) & total disrespect of my policy (for the most part). Not a good situation, the person is seemingly spiteful towards me in private and the improvement is to little too late. I told them after the 3rd time – 2 years ago how unhappy I was. The behavior continued and is now a messy catastrophe with an (1) unpracticed work. My patience has been burned from both ends of the candle, and the fuse is nearly out. But I’m short on students who will commit to playing in a recital so there is a printed program. And, it costs me the same to hold the venue and everything else for 1 person (myself) as it does for 30.  Too frustrating right now….is taking me away from adding some Liszt to the program. Abusive people to my pianist mindset, whether intended or not detract from entire programs being completed, because I’m not in a good frame of mind. When I was 16, I eliminated people out of my studio who were like this so I could focus on me. It landed me @$100000+ in awards, scholarships, & paid expenses for my Chopin Ballade and Beethoven & Bach. I don’t see that much has changed 20 years later, in the sense that I know that my pieces are suffering.

A rainy Sunday

23 Oct

Last night I got out of the studio with nearby tooting sounds of flute and brass and joined a small crowd of martial arts goers for dinner. The Spaghetti Factory at Ward Centers. It’s probably the only place where there is a gracious helping of fine articulations and art that have any connection to East Coast and New England styles. I opted for a glass of Chianti $8.50 and the Olive Tapenade @$6.50 with toast. It was almost the only vegan item on the menu without ordering something special. I should have only ordered the wine and gotten a second glass and enjoyed the stained glass. And, as usual, I had to explain to the crowd there that I’m a pianist/ instructor who just got out of a music studio.

The excessive hugging to say farewell isn’t something that I would ever do on the mainland for fear of giving a signal to others that I’m an easy target to hunt down and that everyone is entitled to wrap around me. Somehow, Hawaii’s martial arts and the expectation of these things still doesn’t sit well with me. Especially if they’re coming off the mat where there is foot fungus and ringworm potential in a tropical climate. In fact I’m ostracized if I say that I don’t like giving hugs to people I just met. If not, I suspect I run the chance of being battered and beaten up. My body is mine, even the handshakes after practice at the piano hurt. Why do they feel they’re entitled to it? I detest this behavior so much.

I’d opt for Asian style clean and elegant bows, the kind that we do in New York when meeting other Asians.

So anyway, I survived the meal.

I’d love insight on this matter.

Asian Women in Classical Music

17 Oct

My lunchtime thoughts were too intense…Today I decided to have lunch at Thai Village and I ordered a vegetarian green curry dish. $9.79 and I calculated the 20% tip of $1.87 despite wanting to leave more. On the walk home;- I found a $1 folded and laying on the sidewalk. definitely one of my smaller money laying on the sidewalk finds. It wasn’t some drunken gambler who dropped his bound 12″ stack of Franklins who possibly just left a hidden gambling room. Then, I didn’t have to hand this dollar back to anyone, I gave it to my cat to play with.

I sat below an antique cloth sculpture with tarnishing metal sequins, river polished moon stones and other embroidery articulations. On the adjacent wall, there is a Western style painting of a Village scene at the foot of a mountain in Thailand. In the water are energized water lilies/ lotus floating by a bridge. Since I’m from the East Coast and have spent most of my years on the planet regularly between New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore my mind has grown weary of the superficial life in Hawaii. It’s difficult to have a conversation with someone about what college/ university you went to. Instead, people get very excited over those who went to the main private high schools on the Island. There is little to no appreciation for anything that isn’t difficult for them to get and expensive to pay for. Then, especially if you are a female;- there is a very nasty side that translates to “sex trade” and someone else capitalizing off of your efforts to stay alive. And the worst part, is that the Island of Oahu is small enough so that people can find you easily if you don’t do what they want or ask of you. There is no big city anonymity or luck by chance of running into the right person through hard work.

So finally time for me to mention, Yuja Wang, pianist, this past August at the Hollywood Bowl.  She wears dresses on stage that are shorter than the traditional cocktail dress. I myself, think that her taste in dress is demeaning to a lot of women. Her club clothes that seem more appropriate for an American strip club or Hawaiian hostess bar.  Though, I’ve seen some of the women coming out of Hostess bars at night to eat at local restaurants in Honolulu and they wear longer dresses & high fashion shoes.

There has been a conversation going on for some time about “changing the Classical piano performance”.  The thing that really really gets to me though;- is that my colleagues and performers who I read about (like Yuja) who I think Gary Graffman mentioned to me back around 2001;- is that the change isn’t clothing. The change in the Classical piano world is the publicizing of “ethnic” people of non-caucasian background. Try telling someone from Guam or Japan or China they are “ethnic” in Hawaii like I did when I moved here from my Philadelphia and NY life. I was met with a shocking comment from them;- That I am not ETHNIC and am part of the MAJORITY (that is, over here in the middle of the Pacific), and neither are they. They have little to no awareness of how badly women of Asian descent can be and are treated on the East coast because those women (and men) are considered “Ethnic” to mainstream America.

I could probably write more than a dissertation to unpack the problems of minority women (not just women) in the United States with regards to classical music and other professional fields that are predominantly Caucasian male run. Instead, below are some statistics from the book, “Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream” by Robert I. Simon, MD; 2008, American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.

  • 33-35% of men fantasize about raping a woman, and say they would if they knew they wouldn’t get caught (pg. 64-65)
  • “51% of rapists are white, 42% black, 6% have other racial backgrounds” note percentages are based on reported rapes. (pg. 61)
  • “The National Women’s Study estimated that 683,000 adult women are raped each year.” (pg. 61)
  • “Power is the major motivation for rape”(pg. 61)
  • 14% of single rape victims are 12-15 years old.(pg. 61)
  • “The group at the highest risk is between the ages of 16 & 24.”(pg. 61)

My thoughts on Yuja Wang’s short dress that belongs in an age 21 and over club, where there are only adults and possibly alcohol.  I think Yuja should have stayed with a nicer image that doesn’t advertise cockpit hemlines. I know I’m not thinking about the music, I’m thinking about the continued exploitation of Asian women by the United States. I have heard at least 3 generations of sad tales from Asian women coast to coast and in Hawaii, of those who speak english well. I and my friends have lived through a lot, and there is a horrifying reality that this attitude will only become worse in the USA. Mostly because of the economy. And, when there is a lack of wealth;- women are some of the first to be exploited without financial compensation. Even in Hawaii, domestic violence cases are being ignored by HPD. The more stable women are hurting more already. When I was in my college years, because of a lack of family in the USA, I stayed and interned for leading Feminist and rights groups around Washington D.C. That was how I stayed safe for some short times I was in need of help. If I could say something.Please Yuja, keep it graceful. Your face & your musical performance and interpretation is the change in the piano performance world. Your short dress, doesn’t distinguish you from the rest of the Asian sex trade.

To be edited….

Play piano. Don’t learn to play.

13 Oct

“Play Piano. Don’t learn to play.”

A slogan I’ve adopted, is born out of a pet peeve of mine. Don’t say “I’m learning to play,” a commonly said phrase said by many beginning students. How, how are you going to play piano if you don’t know how to play? ROFL. So, this early Hawaii AM, I’ve ordered some hats for my school of consciousness, the Mililani Music & Arts Academy. They are simple white hats, just a few as a test. They say, in my quirky style. They can be purchased at cost for $20 each.

Mililani Music & Arts Academy

Play piano. Don’t learn to play.

Mililani Music & Arts Academy

My school of conciousness meets Vista Prints

Happy Rainbow Roses

12 Oct Today's Rose
Today's Rose

Quick snapshot of a rainbow rose at Hawaii Studio

My 1st performance for my students, and by my students here in Hawaii after 2.5 years of moving here. I ordered the Rainbow Roses, that are colorful like music, giving hope, and a sign of acceptance to me. Wishing there were more interested students after I stopped by a local Piano store yesterday advertising lessons for $69 per month. Though, I’m not a fan of “piano mania” playing all the works in some Bastien or Alfred method books on 8 pianos by dozens of students and teachers. It was an impressive arrangement of pianos. However, the playing skill level;- even of these beginning pieces by students was lacking in the phrasing that makes the NYSMTA “Piano Mania” sound superb in comparison.

I remember last year, before un-joining the HMTA, approaching the Blaisdell center pounding beginning pieces onto the pavement through loudspeakers. Needless to say, the next door car show people saw me before I got there and one nice local man gave me free admission tickets (normally @ $26) to see the car show.

So, I am hoping that a 1st recital for my humble studio will create some more interest. Yesterday, I decided on a simple flower arrangement for the door that is mostly these bright rainbow roses>>> To be more a christening Rainbow State performance. And dedication to years and years of learning that I have done. Last night I sat at a bar for Happy hour, and had a Dewars 12 yr. on the rocks. I explained why I drink whisky. How, at an international competition, where a “friend” who was a past judge for the International Bartok-Kabelevsky-Prokofiev competition told me I have to go. How after the semi-final round, competitors staying for the Festival sat around sipping drinks. The Russians had some martinis, another American had a highball, the pianist from Ghana—started to tell me I need to drink whiskey to be a real pianist.

As they inquired about my life & teaching as an American, everyone agreed that I should cut my studio down to no more than 10 students. This way, I would have more time for my art (which should be most important rather than students which I had over 70 at the time). My studio, After that time in Virginia, got cut back to 12 private students and I left my entire studio behind at the conservatory. Unfortunately, Homeland Security, was all over my 12 student studio composed of multi-national Asian/Latin/& other Americans. That with the addition of the longstanding KKK “white” supremacists in the Bucks County and Allentown area ran me not only out of work, but put my life in jeopardy as a Japanese-American. And, my brother had died in 3 years of that competition time. My parents friends being a source of both mine and my brother’s troubles and problems as they play the divide and conquer game with my only close living relatives in the USA.

So, I had two choices aside from sleeping in my car in a field in NY in sub-zero temperatures as my me & residence was stalked. Expatriate from the USA, or move to a Japanese-friendly community in California or Hawaii. So, I decided on Hawaii. And, This performance that is scheduled because local Hawaiians convinced me to stay through APEC in hopes that I might have a little more financial stability before moving on, if necessary.

So, Hawaii & Rainbow Roses, on my birthday. I’m brushing the rust off of 6 years of stress, tragedy, and uncertainty as a first Generation Japanese-American. I pray for my parents’ safety too. Somehow, I can only hope as any nervous instructor hopes;- that the performances are successful for the day, everywhere on this planet too.

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