Music Memoir – Part 1

Early Years

For as long as I can remember, music has mesmerized me. I grew up listening to the sounds of classical, jazz, and 70’s disco music which pulled me to the grand piano in our living room where I loved to improvise little melodies.

It was around the age of five or six that my parents signed me up for some formal piano lessons with a local teacher. Although my enthusiasm was high, my discipline for sitting still and learning to read music wasn’t. I loved listening to my teacher play, but when it was time for me to Read more

Head, Hands, and Heart

“It is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” – Chopin

If I had to summarize all of the ideas I’ve collected on learning music into their simplest form, it would boil down to these three words: head, hands, and heart. I believe that the path to reaching your full potential as a musician includes all three, and the solution to helping many frustrated students is to focus on the area that is most neglected. 

By “head”, I’m referring to the activities that have to do with reading, analyzing, and understanding music. By “hands”, I mean the technical Read more

5 Unconventional Practice Techniques

“If necessity is the mother of invention, then resourcefulness is the father.” ―Beulah Louise Henry 

The experience of getting stuck on a plateau is a common one for musicians. We reach a level of competence and then seem to stay there for months on end. Is there a way to break out of these ruts? Sometimes we need to think outside the box to spark some new ideas and keep moving forward.

My goal today is to draw inspiration from some world-renowned musicians who overcame adversities, and to see what we can learn from their approach to learning music. 

It’s Read more

Blue Moon – Swing Arrangement

“Blue Moon” is a classic popular song written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934. This song has become a standard ballad. Early recordings included those by Connee Boswell and by Al Bowlly in 1935. The song was a hit twice in 1949, with successful recordings in the U.S. by Billy Eckstine and Mel Tormé. (Source – Wikipedia)

Thanks for listening! You can download the sheet music via this link.

Moon River – Jazz Ballad

“Moon River” is a song composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer.

Lyrics: Moon river, wider than a mile I’m crossing you in style some day Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way Two drifters, off to see the world There’s such a lot of world to see We’re after the same rainbow’s end, waitin’ ’round the bend My huckleberry friend, moon river, and me

La Pluie

This short composition explores dominant and minor 7th chords with extensions, suspended chords, harmonic movement in thirds, and arpeggios. I called it La Pluie… the rain en Français.

Download the Full Score

The Return – Contemporary Piano

I call this piece, “The Return” because it makes me think of a stream of water making it’s way down to the ocean and meandering through valleys and rocks. Similar to Smetana’s Moldau… an amazing symphonic piece I highly recommend listening to.

The idea for this piece came from exploring an E major scale harmonized in 6ths. Even when you’re doing exercises that might seem repetitive, you can look for ways to pull out musical ideas that might turn into original pieces.

It Had To Be You

A jazz classic from 1924, written by Isham Jones with lyrics by Gus Kahn.

Lyrics: It had to be you, it had to be you I wandered around and finally found, that somebody who Could make me be true Could make me feel blue And even be glad just to be sad, thinking of you Some others I’ve seen Might never be mean Might never be cross, or try to be boss But they wouldn’t do For nobody else gave me a thrill With all your faults, I love you still It had to be you, wonderful you It had … Read more

Why Do I Fall In Love?

I wrote this ballad for my musical and incredible wife on our 5 year anniversary. I love the harmonies in this one… reminiscent of Moon River, The Way You Look Tonight, and Waltz for Debby in the bridge.

It’s fun to discover familiar chord progressions and weave them together while composing your own melody.