I was completely delighted to receive an email from one of my students’ families this week with a link to a podcast interview with Simone Dinnerstein, a pianist who loves to go “Bachpacking,” or visiting public schools to share her love of Bach and his “Inventions” (short pieces he wrote to help piano students as exercises, kind of like our “What’s My Secret Recipe?” song, but TONS better.)
Listening to that podcast led me to Simone’s website, on which is a video. Please click on that link and watch this video since she talks about how the two hands in the invention she plays are playing two separate songs at the same time. That is just what we are trying to learn to do in Beginning Orchestra!
Our “Apple Seed” and “Recipe” songs are nothing like Bach’s! They don’t even sound perfect together! But they help you to learn to listen BOTH to yourself AND to someone else at the same time.
This is a really important skill that you will need to learn as you play in an orchestra (or sing in a choir, or accompany someone in a song, or have someone accompany you…). Learning to LISTEN makes you a good member of any kind of ensemble (=French for “together”) group. (A musical ensemble can be a duo, trio, quartet, chamber orchestra, orchestra, symphony, choir, etc.)
Notice how they try to sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Twinkle, Twinkle” at the same time? 🙂
So when you practice singing your songs together, one thing that can help you hear yourself if to put one finger in one ear while you sing. It will seem to amplify your voice within your head while still allowing you to hear the other person.
Here’s perhaps the first classical music video I’ve ever seen. It’s Simone performing a piece an album she recorded of from Bach and Schubert (two great classical composers) while showing photos and video from her life:
One of the things I love about this video is the QUIET–no words–just the lovely music. So you can THINK. Lots to think about!
(This was the kind of music I was fortunate enough to fall asleep to at night, played by my mother on our piano in the family room beneath my bedroom. Now you know why I love it!)