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Happy Year of the Dragon 2012

3 Jan Dragon mom vs. Tiger mom's hurt
Some of my quickie pen workAngela M. Kneale's Dragon penwork

The Year of the Dragon coming up for Chinese New Year....

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:

http://www.pascualfinearts.com/Originals.html

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.

Chihuahua: A piano that made me smile

10 Dec

Phone call, the doctor’s office;- the eye doctor. I got in just by 4:30pm through the thick Friday shopping traffic. So, then I deposited the very small amount of money I had left on me into my bank account this holiday season.  This will be my 3rd Christmas in Hawaii this year. And, nothing really has made me smile so much as trying the Ritmuller 4’11” today, at a Honolulu piano store and school.

The Ritmuller I tried out, as a possible purchase should I stay in Hawaii next year and succeed enough in the USA financially next year;- was impressive for such a tiny instrument. Brand new, it was tried after I went into the Used Steinway selection room full of “out of shape” Steinway sound;- aside from some Steinway Upright. The price tag on the 4’11” Ritmuller for the holiday was just under $12,000 + taxes (4%). Perfect for a small apartment or home. And, also highly responsive to execute Ritmuller’s “Euro Sound”.  I enjoyed the small thing immensely.

The “Ritmuller” piano that performed exponentially better than many of Hawaii’s pianos that I have tested. Beethoven, check hard. I found this very challenging compared to even a Steinway or Mason & Hamlin. The precision check needs to be nearly immaculate for the performing artist. Adjust my playing?, definitely. Chopin, discriminate pedal. Hypersensitive if you will. Voicing;- Ok this is the killer;- Topped the voicing of “Hawaii’s” voicing technicians on the Steinway. This is Hawaii. It is not New York or down the road  to Elephant Rd. Pennsylvania.

The Ritmuller 4’11” in Mahogany laminate grabbed my ear when I heard the lovely singing A5-C7 registers. It is quite satisfying for the size of the instrument and lacks the boxed sound of the Upright. I’m uncertain to say however that this is a piano for every learner;- though it should be in a sense.

Steinway is dead in Hawaii comparatively. Climate is #1. #2 is the lack of decent technican/  restorer who can independently, fully regulate a restoration job, or make the keys appear as if they are evenly spaced. Price tag;- will never fallow for Hawaii’s most elite.

So, for these reasons above, not to “unmention” the Steinway Chihuahua’s from Willow Grove ;-). I’d like a Ritmuller to practice on in Hawaii.  Thanks to Ritmuller for making me smile in Hawaii, for a brief bit, to remind me about the Art of being pianist. This “teacher” definitely approves.

My Hawaii Studio Recital & My Birthday

22 Nov
Gifts of Hawaiian Lei & Koko-Pele

Gift & Music from students for my first Studio recital in HawaiiFlowers for the Instructor

I arrived with a batch of recording equipment. One of my adult students  immediately “lei’d” me with a beautiful and soft fragrant lei. The lei smelled soft, light and fruit-like and really changed the aura around me to being immediately pleasant.  It was only my 2nd lei made of flowers that I have received since being in Hawaii. So, it is something very special to me.  Three beginning students of mine committed to performing that day for about a half hour. My prior studio recitals were 20-25 beginners playing short works of 1 min. a piece over 30 minutes.  So, this felt more like a recital should to me. Two of the composers prepared original works for they day. We had performances of a Christian based song called “An Angel is Born” by a Hapa-American composer that I accompanied on piano in the style of Pebble Hill Inter-faith Church, and a piano piece entitled “CY7” by a young Japanese-American composer.

Others adult students bailed out on performing, days before, or had business trips and other things planned. The Studio recital this year went well. Held on the 20th of Nov. 2011. Some of my adult students were able to perform, and in the aftermath of APEC that greatly affected the island and our schedules. And, on a weekend before the Holiday season “officially begins” with Thanksgiving day in 4 days.

I was very happy with everyone’s efforts. Before the performances I gave everyone performing a copy of Ruth Laredo’s book for advice and to aid them in their first performance. And, very proud of an adult student who had to play and carry most of the music time in this beginning recital with more lengthy and intermediate classical & jazz works.
 At the end, I was given a Hawaiian Koko-Pele necklace (aka as Kokopelli) with the spirit of the music muse. And, for the first time in my 20th year of teaching;- I gave out awards. Awards are something that I usually reserved for students who were in my studio in excess of 2 years or in the rare case of exceptionalism. This time was quite different. My youngest student and only child student has studied with me since August, barely making the 3 month mark. Another student who was on-again/ off-again and never having much time for learning piano and practicing pulled through with lengthy song lyrics and a melody that I helped to arrange.  What a wonderful day! All ended with another

Asian Lillies- fragrant
Flowers for the Instructor

bouquet of Asian lillies and requests to hear me play, despite my attempts to clear the hall for recording. I realized that I normally make and evaluate self-recordings before performing as part of my artistic process.

It was nice to see happy faces. Thanks to everyone for making it a wonderful day.
Later, I got to cash in my Starbucks Birthday coffee card for a Venti Peppermint Soy Mocha. Then, I was able to get some extra hall time to try out the piano and recording in this hall (a new place for me). Afterwards, I was taken to dinner at PF Chang’s for some Vegetarian spicy eggplant and yes, a Chopin Dirty Martini- Shaken not stirred.
(reminiscent of a small group of male tweens in my  piano studio, years ago who performed the James Bond theme, and one made the Philadelphia Inquirer re: his serenades)

My Current Technique

22 Nov

 

A glimpse of Angela M. Kneale's Piano techniques

 

 

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

Black notes create imaginative rainbows

26 Oct

Black notes created dark Gregorian chant  music scores.

Black notes created sacred Baroque period music scores.

Black notes created noble Classical period music scores.

Black notes created passionate Romantic period music scores.

Black notes created the colorful Impressionistic period music scores.

Black notes created revolutionary Contemporary period music scores.

Black notes create our now Modern period music scores.

Children and adults alike are to imagine the colorful, articulated sounds that breathe life into the music. It doesn’t matter what color one prints the notes on the score, there are more techniques to learn than ever. Black notes have worked for over  since 6 BC. And, coloring those notes various colors does not necessarily make one a more articulate player on the modern piano.  However, the common modern tactic to keeping interest at the piano is to make it a more interesting experience to sit at the piano. Black notes, rewrote and written for over 2000 years of the human experience…now in color.

FAQ- When to start a studio?

26 Oct

In the USA, business is business. Parents can start businesses to support their children’s futures. Though, for most people at the piano, it is a luxury and not a way of life. The time to start a studio, depends largely on one’s goals, their training, and their instructor’s tolerances. The downside of this is that Pianism is still an art and even the surly mobs of the USA consider almost anything they do “Art”.  So, for those people who actually have some respect left for the art of pianism;- there is tradition that is handed down to us, even in small quantity;- is better than none.

This is where Classical piano tradition has diverged from America’s passion with originality that consists usually of a daily burger. And, so many people enjoy the simplicity of knowing what to expect. Music itself is not a game of anticipation. Music has become something where the American audience likes to know that they were right. So, most performers who are winning over Audiences are simply giving the audience members key items, musical phrases that end simply as expected. There is no need for originality in music. There is only making sure that most people, who listen to simple music are always comforted with knowing that they are “correct” in their anticipation of where the music is going. This is difficult for most any composer to call original since it is a pattern that has been repeated, regurgitated, and embellished upon for over 3 centuries.

So, why on earth would anyone in their right mind start a studio at this point in time? What are they going to prove to the world and how will they make their mark? We know there are 1000’s of home studios that are springing up in the advent of major studio collapse. Like buzzing of bees that stimulates current hive collapse, the music industry is finding the sound frequency of anti-freeze more appealing than “intellectual” music.

Anyone can start a studio when they want. Music has simply become a generic version of the “hallmark card syndrome”. It’s simply a matter of maintaining a balance sheet where profits can outweigh the investment. Disrespect and annihilation of those of us who have cleared a small path to a higher perception has totalled the need for payment of our services, unless of course someone really expects and wants a reward for their hard work and appreciation for pianistic art.

Starting a studio solely depends on cash at hand, rewards, and parents or students playing a financial card game to run away with the grand piano dream. Anytime would seem to be appropriate, even if it is a plan over generations.

My Piano Syllabus & Method

22 Oct

20 years of my teaching & creating successful students. Yesterday, I spoke briefly with someone in my family who works for Czerny, a music publisher, about my publishing my piano method. I will most likely self publish, though securing library matters is necessary for future consideration. I have been teaching mostly and successfully producing quality students without following any particular method book;- though I have delved into several beginning method books. My focus in my teaching has not been financial. My syllabus simply is an outline of the Method and how I have successfully taught hundreds of children and adults. It is a complete method with all elements of pianistic skill for Classical & Jazz that include: Rhythm, Theory, Sightreading, Fingering, Artistic development, Memorization, Performance, Quality Recording level, Composition & Arranging.  Though I have used portions of this method for children as young as 3 years old, the age level may vary greatly for each student as well as the depth and immediacy of understanding concepts.

My Method book title is: “A Performer’s Piano;- Learn a Virtuoso’s Perspective.” for ages 3-adult

It is meant for a 2-3 year course of piano study that should be conducted by a well-trained pianist. This is not meant to be taught by piano teachers who still cannot clearly voice or play the works of Chopin.

Though the onset of my method is very accesible to nearly everyone, the method is for those who truly desire to play piano well in a non-competitive forum. This isn’t a method where one is going to learn to play… and then somehow fail to meet the Classical Literature that is performed by virtuosos. There are select pieces from the Great Masters for the student to choose from. Younger students will spend more time in Bach, Bartok, & Mozart. The adult student will learn from Bach, Bartok, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Mozart & Shostakovich. And, the study of these pieces and my Stamina & Technique excercises that include Performer’s theory should aid beginning pianists of all ages in understanding the piano virtuoso a little more. That is aside from developing skills from the first months of lessons that can last and be useful into a concert performing career should one desire a more serious course of piano study.

Please write to on Facebook if you have any interest.

 

Happy 200 to Franz Liszt!!!

22 Oct

The Grand Piano Concert Master. I think you, Franz Liszt, were the Ultimate control freak, yet admireable in every facet of his control and his success. Happy Birthday!

My only reflections of Liszt in my life…so far below:

Liszt; When I was 12-15 I dabbled on my own in the Transcendental Etudes that captivated me, as well as the Hungarian Rhapsodies (which seemed “not so bad” to me at that time). Yet, I had to work on my Beethoven Sonatas that I loved playing and which they said I would grow into someday (with emotional maturity). Aside from later being assigned exercises from a Master Teacher who was a Liszt Academy graduate, I never really had a lesson on any of the Great Master Liszt’s works. I had studied a variety of techniques to add to my private pedagogical studies. I read nearly every book in the library that I could one summer when I stayed and lived at Music School on piano teaching.  And, it was nothing like sitting as an audience member to witness Mikhail Yanovitsky’s performance of Totentanz. Or, witness Eugene Albulescu’s (winner of the Grand Prix du Liszt) demonstration of his musical intellect and technical aptitude that was compared to speeds of a downhill skier in some lesson I scheduled. Not even then did I touch on Liszt.

It took until late 2001 for me to actually have a Liszt lesson (on a piece).  My UnSospiro (Liszt’s 3rd Concert Etude) went in a matter of a month from being an assignment 12 hrs before my sitting in a Lehigh Valley Music Teacher’s meeting with Gary Graffman giving a master class (Un Sospiro on the repertoire) then being pushed up front by other teachers (iow: not my idea to perform again) to have a quick hearing at the piano. I had virtually stopped performing in the area for fear of physical battery by white supremacists (usually female) who didn’t like me at the Piano at all. Each time I performed, I had to be practically forced.  I took some notes on Graffman’s class on UnSopiro. Thankfully, I practically grew up performing in that difficult Peter Hall not far from the Founder’s room, where America’s Founding Fathers once met, that muddies sound instantaneously. Then later that month I went to Faust Harrison in Manhattan. I was so surprised that they sat me in front of a restored Steinway from the 1800’s. I asked “are you sure?” as I took the bench. They said yes, and something to the effect that someday the piano will bloom and I was permitted to help that process happen. My only lesson in Liszt, aside from Thomas Michael handing me the Liszt Sonata with yet another copy of Paderewski’s Edition of the Chopin Preludes (a book people seemed to like to give to me frequently and that I would re-gift).  Happy Birthday to Liszt. Maybe sometime before his 201st birthday I will perform some Liszt program and work it to completion. I can only hope that I could do so.

 

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